Keep reading to learn 12 facts about the chain, from its early origins in Detroit, Michigan, to how its décor was designed.
The Cheesecake Factory began in Detroit, Michigan, where founder David Overton grew up.
As Overton explains in Broadly’s oral history of The Cheesecake Factory, his mum found a cheesecake recipe in a newspaper and opened her own bakeshop. She later moved the operation to the basement of her house so she could be around as Overton and his sister grew up.
Eventually, at his suggestion, Overton’s family made the move to Los Angeles.
“They started, in North Hollywood, this little cheesecake factory. My father would get in his car and go door-to-door and just try to sell cheesecakes to restaurants,” Overton told Broadly.
Before going into the restaurant business, Overton was in a band.
Overton dropped out of law school to play drums in a rock band. The group, the Billy Roberts Blues Band, was relatively successful ― in fact, they opened for the likes of Janis Joplin.
“I went to law school in San Francisco, but I dropped out because I wanted to pursue music,” Overton said in an interview with Nation’s Restaurant News. “I played until I was 27. That’s when I joined my parents in LA to build their cheesecake business.”
The chain is headquartered in Calabasas, California.
There are more than 200 locations, including restaurants in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Hong Kong.
The Cheesecake Factory may be a fixture at your local suburban mall, but the chain also has international outposts in places such as Mexico, Hong Kong, and Dubai, where the restaurant is situated at the bottom of an indoor ski slope.
In total, there are more than 200 locations.
There’s a specific reason why the menu is so long.
The Cheesecake Factory is known for its extensive menu, which is nearly 6,000 words long and lists more than 250 items. But there’s actually a reason why it’s so lengthy.
According to Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin, authors of the book “Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth,” the menu is part of the restaurant’s business strategy: it’s a talk trigger, or “a built-in differentiator that creates customer conversations.”
When people eat at The Cheesecake Factory, they discuss the scope of the menu with their friends or post about it on social media. In other words, it’s like built-in advertising.
The chain sells more than 30 flavours of cheesecake and will ship them across the US.
From plainer fare (like Fresh Strawberry and Vanilla Bean) to more over-the-top creations (such as Toasted Marshmallow S’Mores Galore and White Chocolate Caramel Macadamia), there are more than 30 flavours available ― and the cakes can be shipped anywhere in the US through Harry & David.
Through its Bakery line, The Cheesecake Factory sells desserts other than cheesecakes.
The Cheesecake Factory, Inc. owns two other chains, Grand Lux Cafe and RockSugar.
Featuring a European-inspired menu, Grand Lux Cafe (which has locations in eight states) is like The Cheesecake Factory’s more sophisticated sister. The Grand Lux website bills the chain as an “upscale-casual eatery.”
RockSugar, which has outposts in Los Angeles and Oak Brook, Illinois, highlights cuisine from Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam. It’s named for a type of crystallised, refined sugar commonly used in Asian cooking.
There’s a story behind The Cheesecake Factory’s eye-catching décor.
You’re not alone in wondering why The Cheesecake Factory has such an eclectic vibe.
In an interview with Eater, Rick McCormick – the restaurant and hospitality designer tasked with creating the décor, beginning with the chain’s sixth location in Newport Beach, California ― explained that, while the Victorian wood siding and Egyptian influence were both Overton’s idea, he drafted intentionally eye-catching designs for the columns.
“The one design element everyone, for good reason, seems to focus on when you talk about Cheesecake Factory design are the Egyptian-style columns,” McCormack said. “Certainly they’re very unique and people immediately take notice of them, which is one reason they’re there.”
The chain is famous for its brown bread ― and you can ask to have your sandwich prepared with it.
People go wild for The Cheesecake Factory’s brown bread, which you can now buy and enjoy at home.
But, as Delish points out, you might not know that you can request to have your sandwich prepared with it.
The Cheesecake Factory gives back through a charitable foundation.
In 2001, the company established the Oscar and Evelyn Overton Charitable Foundation, named for founder David Overton’s parents.
Some of the nonprofit’s initiatives include a partnership with the hunger-relief charity Feeding America and a Thanksgiving volunteer program with the Salvation Army.
It’s one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.”
In February 2018, Fortune named The Cheesecake Factory one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For,” marking the fifth consecutive time the company earned that distinction.
Salesforce and Wegmans Food Markets topped the list, with Cheesecake Factory (the sole restaurant chain in the mix) coming in at 27.
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