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This Beloved Kid's Restaurant Could Close All 610 Locations

The company is deep in debt and closing restaurants because of the pandemic didn’t help.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the restaurant industry to change drastically. Enclosed and poorly ventilated spaces are scientifically proven to increase your risk of catching the virus, so new safety measures have already been put into place as places open.

One struggling kid's restaurant, though, might not open back up at all. You may know it as a  birthday party hot spot, but Chuck E. Cheese's has over 610 locations across 47 states. Unfortunately, the CEC Entertainment company that owns Chuck E. Cheese is over $900 million in debt. Leaders are trying to raise $200 million to prevent filing for bankruptcy, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company is also offering executives retention bonuses for staying on for a year to weather the storm. The official SEC filing shows a $1.3 million bonus for CEO David McKillips.

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Each restaurant has around 55-85 arcade games that have not been in use since the pandemic started and might never be played again. The Takeout says 17,000 workers were laid off in March, although some were kept on board to sell pizza — but under a different name. Residents across the country saw and ordered pizza from Pasqually's Pizza and Wings on delivery apps like GrubHub while quarantining. Pasqually is the name of a character in the Chuck E. Cheese universe — he also plays the drums in Chuck E.'s band.

Other restaurants are facing similar dilemmas as Chuck E. Cheese. Red Robin closed 35 out of 414 locations after sales fell almost 50% during the week of May 24 compared to the same week in 2019. TGI Fridays also announced they will likely close more than 70 of their restaurants because of the pandemic. On May 6, one IHOP franchisee called CFRA Holdings, which manages 49 locations, filed for bankruptcy. Denny's also announced they are closing 15 restaurants for good.

Still, many restaurants are opening their doors again and there are things you need to be aware of when eating in. We gathered some here: 6 Things That Will Get You Kicked Out of Restaurants After Reopening.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
Amanda McDonald
Amanda has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in digital journalism from Loyola University Chicago. Read more about Amanda