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Animatronic Animals Won't Be Part of the Public Chuck E. Cheese

  • Pizza chain has been remodeling to attract millennial moms
  • Parent will return to the NYSE through an uncommon transaction
New dance floor at a remodeled Chuck E. Cheese
New dance floor at a remodeled Chuck E. CheesePhotographer: Chuck E. Cheese

The parent company of Chuck E. Cheese may be returning to the public markets it left five years ago, but the future of the kiddie pizza chain should feel very different than the version acquired by private-equity firm Apollo Global Management in 2014.

That’s because the chain -- a kids’ birthday party destination know for pizza and arcade games -- has been spending heavily to reinvent itself as the kind of place millennial parents want to go. That includes remodels costing as much as $575,000 apiece, with plans for 60 more this year, including more comfortable seating for adults, like bar stools and high-top tables, along with Wi-Fi.