Chuck E. Cheese Trying To Woo Parents By Tweaking Its Food, Expanding Beer & Wine Options

Image courtesy of Bob Reck

After getting new owners last year, animatronic pizza wonderland Chuck E. Cheese is trying to lift flagging sales by aiming at a new — albeit very familiar — target demographic. We’ll give you a guess — it starts with an “M” and rhymes with “shmillennials.”

Now that private-equity firm Apollo Global Management is in charge, the restaurant is switching its focus from appealing to kids (pretty easy to do thanks to pizza, arcade games and those robot animals playing guitars) to trying to get parents on board. Specifically, notes Bloomberg News, millennial moms, that younger generation that goes for higher-quality food than the usual fare at Chuck E. Cheese.

The chain is remaking its pizza, pumping up the salad bar and adding more options to its beer and wine lists, as well as giving Chuck himself a new look — he’s less cartoonish and more computer-animated looking, and without that backwards baseball cap the chain added in recent years:


“Her kids know it’s a fun place to go, but millennial moms want to provide that great experience without sacrificing for themselves,” Greg Casale, the head chef at CEC Entertainment, Chuck E. Cheese’s parent company, told Bloomberg. “Before she was a mom, she was going to places like Panera and those concepts. She wants something that fits into her millennial lifestyle.”

CEO Tom Leverton said company research showed that on average, kids want to go to Chuck E. Cheese 11 times a year, but they only get to go three times. Why? Mom and Dad don’t want to eat what’s on the menu.

“For my kids, it could do no wrong, but I wasn’t very excited about going,” Leverton, who has two children, said. “We want to protect and enhance what we do for children, but wildly improve what we do for adults.”

For what it’s worth, I’d suggest giving adults special glasses that completely block out the animatronic creatures, so they won’t be reminded of all the nightmares they had as kids after a trip to Chuck E. Cheese. Those things haunt you forever.

Chuck E. Cheese’s Latest Tune: an Ode to Millennial Moms [Bloomberg News]

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