Say it ain’t so!
It’s the end of the line for Chuck E. Cheese’s famous animatronic band. According to CBS News, the beloved pizza chain is unveiling a whole new look complete with open kitchens, toned-down colors and a painfully obvious lack of the animatronic animals that have entertained kids and families for generations.
CEC Chief Executive Tom Leverton told CBS News that the revamp comes as the restaurant chain is looking to reengage families and kids with a "modern experience.” Four redesigned locations will feature a dance floor and a live Chuck E. to dance with the children in place of the iconic animatronic bands.
"It's the biggest thing we've done for the look and feel of Chuck E. Cheese for two decades," Leverton said. "The kids stopped looking at the animatronics years and years ago, and they would wait for the live Chuck E. to come out."
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Leverton added that kids today have much more sophisticated expectations when it comes to entertainment than they did when the chain opened in 1977. Children today prefer dancing with a worker dressed up as Chuck E. to the robots their parents know and love. "The animatronics became a sideshow," he said.
The redesign will begin with four locations in San Antonio, Texas, before moving on to three restaurants in the Kansas City area, reports CBS News.
Leverton explained that the results from the seven revamped locations will determine the fate of the animatronics at the remaining locations, though the company has a "strong hypothesis" that it will eventually shift its focus to the live Chuck E. performers.
It’s the end of an era for sure.