Lexington’s Chuck E. Cheese’s closed early Saturday night because staff was overwhelmed by the number of kids in the establishment, police said.
A corporate spokeswoman blamed the situation on a manager who decided to close the restaurant early.
Police were called to the restaurant on East New Circle Road in the Woodhill shopping center at about 6 p.m. after a report of a “large disorder,” according to scanner traffic.
Lexington police Lt. Albert Johnson said that the disturbance was verbal and did not involve physical fighting. When officers arrived, they found a few parents and some employees in the parking lot.
“People were just upset that they were shutting the store down,” he said. “Staffing there wasn’t up to par, and they weren’t able to manage that many kids.”
Corporate spokeswoman Alexis Linn described the situation as a case of “a manager on duty going rogue.”
She said the store’s general manager had to leave early Saturday because her daughter broke her arm.
The manager left in charge of the restaurant “literally said she wasn’t feeling well and closed the location,” Linn said. “Obviously, that manager is being investigated at the moment.”
She added, “We do not condone this, we do not tolerate this, and we will be taking care of the guests affected.”
A handwritten sign on the door of the restaurant Saturday night stated “TEMPORARILY CLOSED WILL OPEN ASAP. Thank you.”
Nakisha Gay said she had booked a party that was supposed to begin at 5:30 p.m., and “it was not set up when me and my guests arrived.”
Gay and a few of the restaurant’s employees stood talking in the parking lot after a police car pulled away.
They described a chaotic situation in which parents grew angry because they wanted refunds and at least one little boy had his birthday party canceled.
“He was bawling,” she said.