Chuck E. Cheese, the pizzeria-arcade mashup for kids, has a problem.It has become a “hot spot” for violent brawls between adults, and they happen mostly at birthday parties. Police have been called to one location in Pennsylvania 17 times in 18 months, reports Sally Hawkins and Lauren Effron at ABC Nightline.
Why is it happening?
Any restaurant or bar has to deal with rowdy customers on a regular basis, but since such a large amount of traffic at Chuck E. Cheese involves large-scale parties, things are a bit different.
Here are a few reasons, according to the Nightline report:
- When it’s crowded kids get into fights over games, then the parents intervene and start fighting with each other
- Birthday parties are emotional situations to begin with, so everyone is already hyped up, and parents are easily prone to get in an altercation when it involves their kids
- Chuck E. Cheese also serves alcohol at some of its locations
Chuck E. Cheese is receiving quite a bit of negative exposure from the fights too. Tons of them are getting put up on YouTube (look at the dozens of results you get when you search “chuck e cheese fight”), which means they get spread all around the web on social channels for all to see.
Now it’s on damage control, trying to reassure customers that it’s doing everything it can to make things safe for their kids—a particularly touchy subject.
There’s only so much it can do with statements, and it’s not specifying what changes it’s going to make to remedy the situation. Plus, there’s nothing it can do about its videos getting spread around the viral web.
“For over 35 years, Chuck E. Cheese’s has been providing a wholesome and safe environment for entertainment and meal occasions for families with young children. In 2011, over 99.99% of approximately 65,000,000 guest visits at Chuck E. Cheese’s occurred without incident. As a company, the safety of our guests and employees is always a top priority. In fact, in recent years we have invested significant resources and millions of dollars to this end. We take great pride in our Kid Check program, utilise security guards in many of our locations, conduct extensive employee training and have active security camera systems in all of our locations with the goal of maintaining a safe and wholesome environment.
Despite our efforts, unfortunately altercations occur with a very small percentage of those who visit Chuck E. Cheese’s. And like kids’ soccer and baseball games across our country, typically the incidents are not with the kids — but regrettably the parents. For us, even one altercation is too many. Maintaining a wholesome, safe experience that sets a standard across our more than 550 locations is of utmost importance to Chuck E. Cheese’s, and we will never stop working to improve how we operate our business.”
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