Pandemic takes a bite, Chuck E Cheese files for bankruptcy

Chuck E Cheese is among the brands facing struggles amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Source: CNN)

NEW YORK (AP) — Chuck E Cheese, the restaurant chain that became a Mecca for children and a crucible for many of their parents, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Parent company CEC Entertainment has reopened 266 of its 612 company-operated Chuck E Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza restaurants.

It did not elaborate on how willing parents are to again host birthday parties and other gatherings with so many cities still under tight restrictions on crowds.

CEO David McKillips said Thursday that it has been “the most challenging event in our company’s history.”

The company expects to reopen all locations and operate normally during the proceedings, including “paying employees and continuing existing benefits programs, honoring guest gift cards, and upholding commitments under its franchising and licensing agreements,” the company said.

Chuck E. Cheese’s has had issues before the pandemic, losing money four of the last five years after being acquired by Apollo Global Management in 2014, CNN reported.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. Gray Media Group, Inc., contributed to this report.