- CEC Entertainment has temporarily closed its dine-in service at its Chuck E. Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza restaurants until March 31, according to a press release.
- To keep customers entertained, Chuck E. Cheese will provide resources to facilitate at-home birthday parties through game apps that offer virtual award tickets that can be redeemed in-store once locations re-open. The brand also offers dance videos through YouTube Kids.
- Chuck E. Cheese also remains open for carryout orders and third-party delivery through DoorDash, UberEats and GrubHub. It has also debuted new value-priced family packages for pick-up or delivery including two birthday celebration packages featuring pizza, cake and goodie bags.
For a brand that's built its appeal on hosting in-store birthday parties, closures will be devastating. But as parents cope with school closures, the opportunity to provide some in-home entertainment to break up the monotony may be appealing for parents as well as children. The company already rolled out delivery party packs in 2019 as it began to expand more into off-premise channels following a decline in revenue from increased competition, so there is some precedent here.
CEC Entertainment also unveiled a major update to its Chuck E. Cheese brand last year, ditching the animatronics and debuting a dance party-focused model at its Lexington location. This includes an interactive dance floor that lights up as kids move. The new format makes it easier to move the party in-house compared to the former offering's reliance on animatronics. The menu also got a makeover to feature items like cauliflower crust pizza and an endless salad bar, broadening its appeal to adult audiences.
For other gathering-focused brands like Dave & Busters, Punch Bowl Social, and TopGolf, the transition to in-home offerings may not be as simple due to their reliance on in-store games. TopGolf recently closed its Vegas location indefinitely while Dave & Busters has remained open as its stock shares tumbled 45.7% on Monday.
Countless other restaurants are shuttering dine-in service with the hopes that it will stave off spread of coronavirus including Chick-fil-A, Dunkin', McDonald's, Panda Express, Shake Shack, Jack in the Box, Pizza Hut, Arby's, Sonic, Noodles & Company and Starbucks. Considering that most major QSRs generate the majority of their sales from drive-thru transactions, the impact of the semi-closures will likely be negligible. Many of them have also been making significant investments in boosting their digital offerings through apps that facilitate ordering, rewards programs and notifications. But independent full-service restaurants that aren't as well equipped to facilitate off-premise dining will feel a harder hit from the virus' impact, particularly as different municipalities order closures.