Chuck E. Cheese's tests gluten-free options

 
May 9, 2012 | by Alicia Kelso

To accommodate guests with special dietary needs, Chuck E. Cheese's has added gluten-free options to its menu. The new food items, which include a gluten-free pizza and chocolate cupcake, is being tested at all Minnesota Chuck E. Cheese's locations to gauge demand for future national availability.

"We've received an overwhelming response from families requesting that we add gluten-free products to our menu items for their kids who love to visit us but can't enjoy a Chuck-E classic, pizza, because of special diet needs," said Joe Elliot, Chuck E. Cheese's vice president of research and development. "In light of growing concerns and sensitivity to this lifestyle, we listened to their feedback and wanted to provide options that better help everyone enjoy the full flavor of Chuck E. Cheese's."

Dining out safely remains a primary concern for food-allergic customers under strict dietary limitations. To avoid cross contamination or accidental exposure to gluten ingredients in Chuck E. Cheese's kitchens, the personal cheese pizza, manufactured by USDA/FDA-approved, gluten-free facility Conte's Pasta, will arrive to stores in frozen, pre-sealed packaging. The bake-in-bag pizza will remain sealed while cooked and delivered and until opened and served with a personal pizza cutter at families' tables by the adult in charge.

Under the same procedure, gluten-free, chocolate fudge cupcakes naturally sweetened with fruits, vegetables and grains from Fabe's All Natural Bakery will remain in pre-sealed, single-serve packaging through preparation and until opened and served at the table.

To ensure high taste, integrity and quality standards are met before a national launch, testing these menu options helps Chuck E. Cheese's deliver the same type of consistent food products systemwide.

"From delivery to table, our procedures ensure that families can feel confident knowing their meal is completely within gluten-free guidelines," Elliott said. "We're happy we can provide a place 'Where a Kid Can Be a Kid' and enjoy great fun and food guilt- and gluten-free."

Although these menu options are not available at every Chuck E. Cheese's location at this time, the restaurant is evaluating the possibility of introducing gluten-free birthday parties and other special dietary products nationwide if test markets perform well. In addition to the successful launch of its new pizza recipe last year, Chuck E. Cheese's plans to continue adapting its menu to offer dishes that accommodate changing demands.

This announcement comes shortly after another major pizza chain, Domino's, announced its new gluten-free option. Domino's Pizza consulted with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) to ensure its products and team member training meet the standards of the foundation's GREAT Kitchens Amber Designation, which means it's suitable for those that have gluten sensitivity, but not for those with celiac disease.

Alice Bast, president of the NFCA, said the example of Domino's (and Chuck E. Cheese's) proves the gluten-free diet is no passing trend.

"For us, this gives us a national platform to really educate the public about celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. People with these conditions just want to eat normally and this proves that national companies have an interest to cater to these individuals," Bast said.

More information about Chuck E. Cheese's new gluten-free offerings is available here:

Read more about food safety


Topics: Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza , Customer Service / Experience , Equipment & Supplies , Food Allergies / Gluten-free , Food & Beverage , Food Safety , Health & Nutrition , Operations Management , Trends / Statistics


Alicia Kelso / Alicia has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with QSRweb.com and PizzaMarketplace.com has been featured in publications around the world, including Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, Consumerist.com and Franchise Asia magazine.
View Alicia Kelso's profile on LinkedIn

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