There was a Chuck E. Cheese location a half-mile from my house growing up, and my brother and I spent many a playdate or neighbor’s birthday in its durably carpeted and neon-lit embrace. It was a destination, because no one I knew owned a Skee-Ball machine, ball pit, or animatronic band at their home. The allure was the physical space, not the mediocre pizza. Apparently though, Chuck E. Cheese itself believes that the actual food is the draw, as it’s launched a $124.99 delivery “Pizza Party Pack” comprised of three pizzas, a cake, a “Congrats” banner, and some cheap plastic novelties.
According to a press release, the party kit is available for delivery via DoorDash, and is perfect for “office parties, game nights, sleepovers and groups young and old.” The company touts the price tag as “about $10 per person,” which might seem reasonable until you do the math and realize that’s $10 per person for two slices of pizza, a piece of cake, and maybe some plastic sunglasses. (The company even went with “Congrats” on the banner, lest they pay the extra fraction of a cent for the “-ulation” part.) For $10 person, customers could order real delivery pizza and buy a cake not emblazoned with a rodent logo. It’s currently only available in San Diego “with an eye to expand nationally.”
For the record, I debated whether knocking this weird promotion was a slightly cruel move. Then, I remembered that companies aren’t people and that Chuck E. Cheese’s overpriced party-delivery box is a case study in chains that can’t stay in their lanes. Chuck E. Cheese, you have a brand built on your physical locations and their panoply of ticket-spewing games. Your pizza and cake are not the draw, and just because delivery is the hottest thing in restaurants now doesn’t mean you need to jump on that crowded, complicated bandwagon. Chains, know thyself.