The Chuck E. Cheese's on Harlem Road in Amherst that has been the scene of several acts of violence in the past 18 months will remain open – for now.
The Amherst Town Board did not move to revoke the store's game room license Monday and instead praised Chuck E. Cheese's management for steps taken to improve security at the venue.
At Monday's Town Board work session, the company's chief operating officer outlined new steps Chuck E. Cheese's was taking to keep customers safe.
"We want to be a great corporate partner with you all," said Randy Forsythe, the company's Texas-based chief operating officer. "Our business is entertainment. Our business is not to have these problems."
Monday's session followed several cases of violence at the Chuck E. Cheese's at the corner of Harlem Road and Sheridan Drive since March 2017.
The most recent incident, a fight between current and former restaurant employees, came in early June, five days after the Town Board renewed the game room license.
Appearing at the request of town officials, Forsythe Monday said the company was committed to limiting violence at the store. He was joined by Terrence Connors, the company's recently hired Buffalo attorney.
They said the company has made changes, including several at the recommendation of security consultants.
The changes include, Forsythe said:
- Hiring a new firm that will increase security guard coverage from 20 hours to 48 hours per week
- Providing conflict resolution training to all employees
- Adding 13 TV monitors that show guests they are on camera
- Cutting the maximum attendance at birthday parties from 194 guests to 75 guests
- Installing brighter lights
- Replacing about half the staff
- Increasing staffing by 65 hours per week
Connors said it's unfair to single out Chuck E. Cheese's when any business with a high traffic count – he named Tops Markets, Walmart and Denny's – will have a high number of police calls.
He said the 18 or so serious incidents flagged by the Town of Amherst Attorney's Office over the past four years were 18 too many but amount to fewer than five per year.
Forsythe pledged to collaborate with town police more.
Town Board members said they would be watching the store closely, but none expressed interest in pulling its game room license Monday.
"I believe you're headed in the right direction," said Jacqualine Berger, a Town Board member.