Chuck E. Cheese is revamping its food and drink menu to win over a new generation of young parents looking for higher-quality options.
According to Bloomberg, the arcade-pizza restaurant has experienced a recent slump in sales and hopes to revive the franchise by appealing millennial moms.
"Her kids know it's a fun place to go, but millennial moms want to provide that great experience without sacrificing for themselves," Greg Casale, the head chef at CEC Entertainment, Chuck E. Cheese's parent company, told Bloomberg. "Before she was a mom, she was going to places like Panera and those concepts. She wants something that fits into her millennial lifestyle."
Kids are still on board with menu mainstays like cheese pizza and chicken fingers, but in order to appeal to more health conscious consumers the chain has introduced a new thinner crust pizza with toppings like mushrooms, and an improved salad bar.
The chain is also expanding its list of beer, wine and coffee options to get parents to shell out more dough while their kids rack up game tickets. The company has yet to announce specific alcoholic beverage additions but the current options are pretty much limited to Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft, and either Blush or Chablis wine.
Chuck E. Cheese currently operated 588 locations, mostly in the U.S. and Canada. After being acquired by last year Apollo Global Management, Casale, who was trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York came onboard to shake things up.
For example, a slice of the new pizza developed by Casale, has 23 fewer calories than a traditional Chuck E. Cheese slice. Marketers across the board are still working out how to appeal to millennial parents, who are in their 20s and 30s, and poised to become the country’s most influential consumers.
Included the in the revamp, is an updated look for the restaurant chain’s namesake character. No, they won’t be hiring Pizza Rat any time soon, but Chuck E. Cheese now has a more computer-animated look, his backwards baseball cap is gone and the heftier mouse has been replaced with a slimmer, hipster physique.
Not all of the new changes are promoting healthier eating. The chain is also experimenting with limited-edition menu items to signal that the younger generation is still the focus. First up, a trendy mashup of two kid-friendly favorites: a macaroni and cheese topped cheese pizza.