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Chuck E. Cheese

by Ronald A. Rowe | September 10th, 2010 | Product reviews

Chuck E. Cheese (CEC) is a children’s entertainment provider/eatery operating in all fifty states, plus Puerto Rico and parts of Canada. CEC’s primary offering is a wide slate of video games. They also host children’s parties. I will break my review down into several relevant categories – Food, Value, Entertainment, Consistency.

Food – The pizza is generic mass produced stuff that would give anyone accustomed to New York or Chicago style pizzas a bad case of angina. It’s no worse than what you get from a typical national pizza delivery chain and the kids generally seem to enjoy it. The fries are actually pretty good. The salad bar is the saving grace for the adults in the group. The selection is limited, but the salad ingredients are generally fresh and appealing.

Value – Comparing among the general video game & food operation, generically called Fun Centers, CEC offers a better value than most. All the games at CEC are one token a piece, significantly better than many local places that will charge up to six tokens for a single game. The base price at CEC is $.25 per token, but with coupons (available from their website at www.chuckecheese.com) and volume discounts, you can get that down to about $.15 each.

Entertainment – Kids from age 2 up absolutely love CEC. Each CEC offers such a wide variety of games that virtually any child will find something to their liking. Every CEC I’ve visited had a small area set aside for the toddlers with age appropriate games. Properly rationed, about one hundred tokens will keep two children entertained for a full afternoon.

Consistency – CEC do not maintain the kind of quality control over their franchises that makes every McDonald’s in every city in America looking and tasting exactly the same. I’ve visited a number of Chuck E. Cheese locations up and down the East Coast of the United States of America and found that there is a big difference between the good ones (well maintained, all games working, clean) and the bad ones (multiple games out of order, animatronics ragged and broken, dirty). There are definitely more good than bad. If you decide to check out your local CEC, it will only take you a minute to determine which category yours falls into.

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