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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Post# 273 - Making Chuck E. Cheese Tolerable

I sent this on 9/29/2011:

Dear Chuck E. Cheese,

As a parent, I dread entering your hallowed grounds.  I;ve talked to other parents who feel the same way.  Obnoxious kids, dollars spent.  Mediocre pizza, more dollars spent.  And at the end, all of our collective earnings yield a pencil and a tootsie roll.   I have several suggestions to improve the your overall business.  You can take these and run, or you can gently cast them aside along with all of the others.

First, let's lay out a typical visit.  Joe Customer and his three kids enter Chuck E. Cheese, and are given a non-pedofile stamp.  They buy pizza, salad, drinks, and tokens.    They use the tokens to play games and accrue paper tickets. The tickets are fed into a counter machine, often, after waiting in line.   The machine spits out a receipt, which is traded in for Made-In-China trinckets worth roughly 1/100th of the value of the tokens that were spent in earning the tickets.

Here are the problems.  1) Sometimes the games eat the tokens.  2) Sometimes random kid grabs my kids' tokens.  3) Sometimes random kid grabs my kids' tickets.  I don't have eyes in the back of my head.  4) I question as to whether the counter is 100% accurate (I've seen tickets slide through, folded over (two tickets counting as one).  5) The pizza is not what I would call "restaurant quality."  So there's that.

Go paperless and coinless.  Let's face it--you're a casino for kids.  Why not copy the actual casinos?  Hand out cards on lanyards--loadable cards with the last name of the person who owns it.  Have it PIN-activated when you enter and PIN-deactivated when you leave.  The money on the cards can be used for food or "tokens".   Grandma Parker, down in Florida, can load little Julie's card in Michigan, via internet while she's napping in the back seat on the way to Chuck E. Cheese.   You can actually reward frequent visitors with free menu items, free Made-In-China trinckets, and free gameplay.  Patent the loadable token card and license it to the actual casinos.

Next, the pizza.  It comes out in a plastic pan.  Is it made fresh?  Your site states that it is, but to me, it tastes like the highest quality frozen pizza.  Kids love it--they don't know any better.   A lot of us parents push to eat somewhere else before or after.  That's the deal, and now you know.

Why not offer hand-crafted, wood-fired pizzas, bruscetta, and bread sticks?   Kids like bad pizza, but they also like good pizza. Maybe expand your menu a bit to include more bar food--$5 hand-patted half-pound burgers, poppers, chicken tenders with an array of dipping sauces.  Make the salad bar nice--add real bacon, and make it so it doesn't look like a frat house the morning after MidTerm Bender.

Why not think about Dad?  Throw some nice TV's up on those walls with sporting events.  Maybe bring Pro Tee back as one of the games.  Compete a little with sports bars and chains pretending to be sports bars.

Lastly, what about mom?  I'm talking "My kids have the day off and I have nowhere to go."  Serve awesome coffee drinks, fresh fruit, and pastries, and provide free WIFI.  That way, instead of Mom taking the kids to McDonald's Playland, or these hip coffee/indoor playground places.

Also, more and more people are allergic to gluten.  How about a gluten-free pizza?  Be a trend-setter.

I'm trying to help you.   These are honest suggestions from someone whose only motivation in going to Chuck E. Cheese, is to see a smile on his kids faces.



I sent this on October 17th, 2011:

Dear Chuck E. Cheese,

Two weeks back, I spent some time trying to help you.  Whether you appreciate constructive criticism and 35-44 year-old male demographic feedback or not, the polite thing would be to acknowledge the time and effort that I gave you, and my continued support.

I know you received my note--I received the screen that thanks me for my feedback.

I don't really know if you care about us parents, or if it's all about turning tender into tokens, tokens into tickets, and tickets into trinkets.

I just thought you should have feedback from the 35-44 male demographic about not responding to feedback.



From: Guest Relations <>
Subject: RE: Guest Relations
Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 10:10 AM
Dear Jerry,

We apologize for any inconvenience. We do not have any record of a previous
email from you and there is no complaint or feedback filed in our computer
system under your name or email address. Please re-send your email including
the details of your feedback as well as the location you visited or contact
us by phone at 1-888-778-7193. All of our customers are very important to us
and we are happy to take any constructive criticism you have to offer.

Thank you for your time,
Chuck E. Cheese Guest Relations
I re-sent my letter on 10/18/11
From: Guest Relations <>
Subject: RE: Guest Relations
Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2011, 10:15 AM

Dear Jerry,

Thank you for taking time to email us about your experiences at
Chuck E. Cheese's.  We apologize for any inconveniences and
assure you that your issue will be addressed.  We will take your
comments and suggestions into consideration when making future decisions. 

Thank you,
Guest Relations
Subject: RE: Guest Relations
Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dear Guest Relations,

I'm ecstatic with your response- it's cavalry bugles in the distance to my ears.

My interpretation of your response, is that you're about to embark on a major facelift of your restaurants to address my issue.  If we interpret my "issue" to be the notion that your restaurant isn't adult-friendly, (in the future, let's generically call it "Dad-ification") then I should be seeing free wifi and Monday Night Football while I eat jalepeno poppers and drink microbrews and play Pro-Tee (or Cornhole) in no time.

I'll check back shortly to see how the Dad-ification is coming.  When the changes do happen, I'll be a legend in my neighborhood, you'll be even more profitable (no more Dads pawning the Chuck E. Cheese trip off on Moms, and vice versa).

Thanks Again,


PS - How come you know my name, but I don't know yours?

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