The Wall Street Journal takes time out this week to focus on a serious issue affecting families nationwide: the rash of fistfights breaking out at Chuck E. Cheeses everywhere. The story details all sorts of adult-on-adult violence at the kid-oriented restaurant chain—behavior that's blamed on alcohol (about 70 percent of Cheese locations serve wine and beer), stress (it's a popular spot for children's parties) and what the Journal terms a "mama-bear instinct." "A Chuck E. Cheese's can take on some of the dynamics of the animal kingdom," the piece notes, "where beasts rush to protect their young when they sense a threat." Police in Brookfield, Wis., have dealt with such beasts a dozen times in the past two years, including a melee last April, when "seven officers arrived and found as many as 40 people knocking over chairs and yelling in front of the restaurant's music stage, where a robotic singing chicken and the chain's namesake mouse perform." Richard Huston, evp of marketing for the chain's parent company, CEC Entertainment, calls the behavior "atypical," and says, "This is not what we're all about." Prior to the epidemic of violence, the biggest Chuck E. Cheese controversy concerned whether or not it's a young Nick Jonas who appears in this ad for the chain.
—Posted by Tim Nudd