Chuck E. Cheese to phase out animatronic shows
The Chuck E. Cheese band is breaking up, or at least they’ll going to have fewer gigs in the coming years.
A recent CBS report reveals that the company’s popular performing animatronic figures will be phased out in the company’s newly updated locations. In their place will be large dance floors where kids can cavort and dance around with their favorite rodent.
“It’s the biggest thing we’ve done for the look and feel of Chuck E. Cheese for two decades,” CEC Entertainment CEO Tom Leverton told CBS News. “The kids stopped looking at the animatronics years and years ago, and they would wait for the live Chuck E. to come out.”
Phil Lempert, a Santa Monica-based expert on consumer behavior and marketing trends, agreed.
“Chuck E. Cheese is moving in the direction that kids today are moving,” he said. “The bottom line is that the animatronics they created decades ago were really cool and fun for that time. But kids today are living on their mobile phones, so this is probably pretty boring to them. It’s something their grandfather would like.”
Lempert also noted that restaurants are continually updating their look and operations to remain fresh and appealing to customers.
“The second you are done with something you should be looking at what the next step is,” he said. “When you look at burger chains these days, for example, some of them have up-scaled and are selling artisan burgers for $6, $7 or $8. And some of their foods are sourced locally.”
CEC Entertainment Inc. and its franchisees operate a network of more than 580 Chuck E. Cheese restaurants in 47 states and 10 foreign countries or territories. The company currently operates 522 of those locations and the remaining 58 are franchise operations.
The company posted a net loss of $5.9 million for the second quarter of 2017 ended July 2. CEC reported a net loss of $9.1 million for the same period a year earlier.
“We experienced traffic declines in walk-in business as well as booked birthday parties during the quarter,” CEO Tom Leverton said in the company’s financial report. “To address the issue, we have returned our advertising messaging to our successful 2016 themes which focused on our many improvements to the in-store experience.”
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