Chuck E. Cheese is delivering pizza under a different name on Grubhub and people are not amused
Talk about a rat race. Chuck E. Cheese is being called out online for masquerading under a different name on Grubhub. What the company claims is a new venture for the kids’ restaurant is becoming a PR nightmare.
On Monday, Chuck E. Cheese began trending on Twitter, with people sharing screenshots of listings on Grubhub from restaurants called Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings which share the same addresses as Chuck E. Cheese locations.
Online, people are labeling it as a ploy to sell more pizzas during the pandemic, assuming the kids’ chain has been struggling to sell under its own name.
The cat first came out of the bag last month when Reddit user u/KendallNeff placed a Grubhub order for a Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings in Philadelphia, believing it to be a local business, only to discover that it had the same address as a Chuck E. Cheese’s, according to Food & Wine, which reported the incident at the end of April. The publication found dozens of other “Pasqually’s” listings on Grubhub across the U.S., all sharing addresses with the kids' restaurant.
In actuality, the CEC Entertainment company claims Pasqually’s is its latest venture.
“CEC Entertainment, Inc. recently launched Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings nationwide. The inspiration was rooted in the desire to create a premium pizza while staying true to the CEC brand,” said a Chuck E. Cheese spokesperson in a statement.
There are no other indications on Grubhub that the restaurant belonged to the chain, other than people who might be aware that Pasqually is a Chuck E. Cheese character. The Grubhub site features a Pasqually's logo and lists more than 400 locations.
People's usage of delivery apps has only increased since the spread of COVID-19 has people quarantined to their homes. But this incident shows just how imperfect the world of delivery apps can be, on top of previous concerns surrounding protections and adequate compensation for delivery workers.
According to the company spokesperson, Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings shares kitchen space with Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, but offers a “more premium pizza experience” with a “different pizza” with “thicker crust, extra sauce and new blends of cheeses and seasonings.”
Not only do the “premium restaurants” share addresses with Chuck E. Cheese, they also share characters. Pasqually P. Pieplate is one of the cartoons in the Chuck E. Cheese universe, and comes with his own backstory. He’s an Italian chef, aspiring comedian and the drummer in Munch’s Make-Believe Band.
“This new brand is the latest example of CEC Entertainment adjusting creatively to meet the needs of consumers in a unique way, allowing for more variety and convenient options available for delivery,” said the spokesperson in the statement.
With restaurants closing amid the pandemic, Chuck E. Cheese has been struggling with bringing in the cheddar. Its first-quarter sales saw a 21 percent dip. Even before the pandemic, the restaurant had seen better days. In 2017, the company began phasing out its animatronic band show and in 2012, Chuck E. Cheese was rebranded as a “rock star mouse.”
What is unclear is why the company wouldn’t sell the premium pizza through Chuck E. Cheese, which has been promoting its delivery and carry-out options through its app and on Grubhub and DoorDash. Chuck E. Cheese did not respond to questions beyond its statement.
In February, Chuck E. Cheese sent out a notice to press that it had embargoed news to share, but decided to postpone the announcement due to the pandemic. It could be that the news was of Pasqually’s, but the company would not confirm this.
Without a formal announcement of the new restaurant or transparency around its Grubhub listings, it seems the mouse is stuck in its own nightmare of a maze.