- Virtual Dining Concepts and Chuck E. Cheese’s parent company are launching a virtual brand based on a popular YouTube channel, featuring food oriented around children’s tastes, the companies said in an email to Restaurant Dive Thursday.
- LankyBox Kitchen, which will be prepared for delivery inside Chuck E. Cheese locations, will be marketed on social media and at the eatertainment chain’s units.
- A virtual brand targeting children and families complements CEC Entertainment’s family-oriented concepts, as well as its recent focus on digital growth.
Combining in-store eatertainment with a popular children’s YouTube channel may help Chuck E. Cheese improve its relevance with young customers, especially after two years in which in-person gatherings were fairly restricted and entertainment options became increasingly digital. CEC Entertainment isn’t new to virtual brands either. Chuck E. Cheese launched its delivery-only brand Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings in 2020.
LankyBox Kitchen offers food like pizza, wings, fries, and dessert. Its delivery packaging will feature characters from YouTube channel LankyBox, which has about 21 million subscribers and makes short videos geared toward children.
CEC partner VDC specializes in developing delivery-only brands based on popular social media accounts and content creators. The platform’s curated virtual brands offer a way for chains to boost digital engagement and off-premise sales by partnering with various celebrities. VDC’s most famous brand, Mr. Beast Burger, proved successful enough to drive considerable traffic at the opening of its first brick-and-mortar location earlier this year.
Since emerging from bankruptcy in 2020, CEC Entertainment has focused on building out its leadership team to support expansion. The eatertainment company also debuted a mobile app and loyalty program in 2021, and during last summer’s labor shortage committed to hiring 5,000 workers.