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The Chuck E Cheese Conspiracy: Do They Really Recycle Pizza?

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The Chuck E Cheese Conspiracy: Do They Really Recycle Pizza?

Early in 2019, conspiracy theorist YouTuber Shane Dawson posted a video claiming there was an ongoing Chuck E Cheese conspiracy to reuse uneaten customer pizza.

To “prove” this conspiracy, Shane took snapshots of pizza that he ordered from Chuck E Cheese. Some slices of the pizza appeared misshapen and did not seem to match the crust of the surrounding pizza.

Shane’s theory was that the pizza he ordered (and the pizza many other customers order) was pieced together from previously uneaten pizzas. He claimed that employees simply sprinkled additional cheese over all of the uneated pieces, and then baked it only enough to melt the cheese and give the appearance that the pizza was whole and freshly baked.

In this article, we’ll review evidence showing that there isn’t any merit to this conspiracy.

The Shane Dawson Chuck E Cheese Conspiracy Video

The following are the core claims of Dawson’s conspiracy.

  • Uneaten pizza slices are “cleaned up” from the tables of customers who left.
  • Common pizza (like pepperoni) are pieced together to make one whole pizza.
  • A little cheese is sprinkled on top of the uneaten pieces to give the impression of a single pizza.
  • The pizza is baked for a few minutes to melt the cheese, and then served to the next customers.

So how realistic is this conspiracy theory? Have an employees come out to confirm it since Dawson released his video in February of 2019? Or is Dawson simply grasping at straws because he’s drying up for ideas of new conspiracies to explore?

Old Reddit AMAs Hint the Chuck E Cheese Conspiracy Isn’t True

In 2011, about eight years ago, a former Chuck E Cheese employee posted on Reddit, offering to answer any questions readers may have about working at Chuck E Cheese.

One response did imply that many managers look for ways to avoid extra expenses:

“No corporate secrets or anything. Just a really money hungry old man who didn’t really care about employee morale and hated spending money on repairing the machines.”

When one reader asked about the quality of the salad bar, the employee responded:

“I would NEVER eat at the CEC salad bar. That shit grossed me right out. Stuff at ours would get left out, mixed together, just disgusting, disgusting stuff, and at the end of the night they would just put plastic wrap over it and bring it back out the next day.”

One would think that if the management was fine with reusing the previous day’s salad bar pickings, it isn’t that much of a stretch to also reuse uneaten, perfectly edible pieces of left-over pizza as well.

In a similar Reddit discussion including Chuck E Cheese employees in 2012, one employee makes a comment that actually seems to disprove Dawson’s conspiracy theory:

“Pizza costs us $3 to make, and we turn around to sell it for $25. Then factoring in that people have their kids whining to bring them in, it works well”

At a cost of roughly $3 for the raw ingredients to make a single pizza, there would be very little incentive for management to reuse uneaten pizza to try and cut cost. Most of the savings would come from not having to utilize the energy of baking the pizza, but since Dawson’s claim is that the pizza is still baked in order to melt additional cheese on top – that scenario doesn’t seem very likely.

In fact, a number of employees in this second thread said that they loved the pizzas so much that sometimes when employees sent back pizzas, the employees would eat them. This also wouldn’t be likely if they knew pizzas were being recycled.

Former Employee Explains Mismatched Pizza

If you find the photos of the mismatching pizzas to be very convincing proof for the Chuck E Cheese pizza conspiracy, this evidence may be enough to debunk that theory for you.

One former Chuck E Cheese employee explains exactly how pizzas are made at Chuck E Cheese.

She confirms that the dough is in fact freshly made – she herself made the dough when she worked in the kitchen. Dough would be made one day for use the next day.

She explains the mismatched pizza sizes as follows:

  • A machine would flatten and shape the dough until it was pizza-sized thickness
  • Employees used a big “cookie cutter” to cut out the dough pieces by tracing it with a knife
  • If the employee doesn’t trace the cookie cutter very well (or the cutter is bent), the pizza will be misshaped

She confirmed that she herself recalled seeing some pizza dough coming out of this process misshapen and not perfectly round. In the video above she confirmed that cutting a pizza that was oblong rather than round would easily result in some pizza pieces coming out as misshapen.

She also confirmed she worked in the other part of the pizza making the pizzas, she worked cutting pizzas and would sometimes cut pizzas so poorly that they looked very misshapen.

She also stated that “At no point did they ever bring back pizza pieces to frankenstein together. At no point.”

Lots of other Chuck E Cheese employees have come forward since Dawson’s video, confirming what the former Chuck E Cheese employee stated in the video above.

Chuck E Cheese Isn’t Exactly a Paradise

So, while there’s enough evidence and witness accounts from former employees to debunk Dawson’s Chuck E Cheese conspiracy, there is also a lot of evidence confirming that there’s a lot wrong with Chuck E Cheese that has nothing at all to do with the pizzas.

The various Reddit AMAs confirm that there are a lot of sanitary problems going on at the chain. Some of these include:

  • The tubes where kids play are often littered with urine, feces, or vomit from various children playing in them.
  • The ball pits are disguisting. May employees report discovering full diapers, and often feces or other bodily fluids, in the ball pits.
  • Employees or customers have been discovered having intercourse in the play tubes. In one case a couple was spotted by a child while having sex in the tubes.
  • Employees report receiving a lot of abuse from disgruntled parents, who take out their parental stress on Chuck E Cheese staff.
  • The Chuck E Cheese suit rarely gets cleaned properly, and employees sweat profusely while wearing it. They also report getting abused by the children while wearing the suit.

So, it seems that the Chuck E Cheese conspiracy that millions of viewers of Dawson’s YouTube video chose to believe, is most likely entirely false. Unfortunately, like far too many conspiracy theorists, Dawson failed to act like an actual journalist – he didn’t interview any actual employees, and only quoted a single anecdote from a friend who’d worked there.

If he’d taken the time to speak to actual employees, he might have learned that the claim is most likely false. Unfortunately, that probably wouldn’t have been a YouTube video that was quite as popular.

As usual: Money talks. Truth walks.

Originally published on

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