Kids may love feeding Chuck E. Cheese tickets into the "muncher" and redeeming them for prizes, but now its parent company is seeking to destroy 7 billion of them in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic.
On Monday, CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June, filed a motion asking a Texas court for permission to shred 7 billion paper prize tickets (the ones that come out of the machine when you've done really well at Skee-Ball) that built up in the company's supply chain during stay-at-home orders and nonessential-business closures.
The tickets, according to the court filing, were ordered before the pandemic, and now, the company has “enough tickets to fill approximately 65 40-foot cargo shipping containers.”
The company is asking three of its vendors to shred the excess tickets for $2.28 million, about $1 million less than CEC Entertainment would pay if they were circulated. If the tickets end up in the hands of the general public, they could be traded in for $9 million worth of prize merchandise, about $0.0013 per ticket, CEC said in its court filing.
Earlier this month, Chuck E. Cheese announced on Instagram that it's switching to e-tickets. According to the filing, the coronavirus prompted the company to expedite its plan to phase out paper tickets and switch to "contactless" ones.
In a promotion for the change, Chuck E. Cheese called the initiative "cleaner," "greener" and faster."
"All The Fun & Games without the hassle, so find a store near you and come enjoy all the new benefits!" it added in the caption for the poster.
There are currently over 600 Chuck E. Cheese locations across 47 states, and many have reopened since the epidemic began. During the epidemic, Chuck E. Cheese began delivering food under a different restaurant name as a way to continue to serve its customers.
On Sept. 4, Chuck E. Cheese advertised a "party pack" on Instagram.
The party pack included "two large, one-topping pizzas, a prize pack, and lots of tickets!!"