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Chuck E. Cheese’s Swears It Isn’t Recycling Pizza Slices

A conspiracy theory that the chain makes new pies from reheated old slices is making the rounds

Chuck E. Cheese Sold To Private Equity Firm Apollo For 1.3 Billion Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Pizza arcade chain Chuck E. Cheese’s is defending itself from an internet conspiracy theory that alleges the company creates whole pizzas by Frankensteining together uneaten slices from other pizzas.

The theory was propagated online this week by YouTube personality Shane Dawson. In his video, Dawson investigates the claim by visiting a Chuck E. Cheese’s location and ordering two pizzas, both of which come out with weird mismatched edges. One pizza — half pepperoni, half plain cheese — appears to be two different pizzas sliced in half and pushed together to resemble a whole pie. Dawson goes on to heavily imply that the pizzas aren’t in fact fresh pies made from one ball of dough and one bake, as one would assume a newly ordered pizza would be at a reputable slice joint, but reused slices from other pizzas that have been reheated and reformed into a circular pie.

The theory was roundly denied by representatives of Chuck E. Cheese’s, who characterized the idea as “unequivocally false” in statements to the Verge and Buzzfeed. “No conspiracies here — our pizzas are made to order and we prepare our dough fresh in restaurant, which means that they’re not always perfectly uniform in shape, but always delicious,” a company spokesperson said.

Still, the debate rages on: Why the hell do these pizzas look so consistently weird? Dawson isn’t entirely wrong. There is a lot of visual evidence of Chuck E. Cheese’s pizzas with irregular slices.

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But there are also plenty of examples that look perfectly round.

Rumors about the origins of Chuck E. Cheese’s aberrant pizza shapes have been around for years. At least two Yahoo! Answers threads posed the question 10 years ago and received a handful of (mostly disgusted) responses.

As a national chain with more than 600 locations worldwide and presumably thousands of employees over its 39 years of existence, it seems it would be difficult to keep that secret quiet for long. A seven-month-old Reddit discussion involving self-identified former Chuck E. Cheese employees, for example, doesn’t mention a conspiracy to repurpose used pizza, though it does mention a lot of other gross situations that only an insider would know.

In light of Dawson’s wide-reaching video, former employees have also popped up on Twitter, Reddit, and the other chatty corners of the internet to refute the claims.

As one r/conspiracytheories commenter mlball98 points out, the bizarre shapes of the slices is more attributable to the speed the staff are working at to cut the pizzas. “We hand cut all of the pizzas. We have to do it fast because we usually have 5 more coming out right behind it. I’ve seen millions of pizzas cut and they always look a little off, especially if the person is new and just learning.” Instead, mlball98 suggests another reason why some slices might appear shorter than others: the first sliced gets squished into the center when the employee is cutting.

In short, maybe don’t chuck the pizza in the garbage just yet.

Chuck E. Cheese’s Denies It Recycles Pizza Slices Following Shane Dawson Video [The Verge]
Despite Shane Dawson’s Latest Video, Chuck E Cheese’s Says All Its Pizzas Are Made Fresh [Buzzfeed]
Investigating Conspiracies with Shane Dawson [Official]