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What They Do
Serve sinful desserts and upscale-casual meals at 178 restaurants in the United States alone.
Headquarters: Los Angeles, California
Annual Revenues: $1809 Million.
What Makes The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated Great
Mealtimes typically find The Cheesecake Factory bustling with diners tucking into the chain restaurant’s casual fare and signature desserts, which are as colorful as the carefully designed decor. When bad weather made for a disappointing shift on the patio, though, one employee encountered just how committed the company is to keeping the atmosphere positive for employees, as well.
“Tips were very low that day. My manager, the very next time I worked, gave me a gift card and said she was sorry it was such a bad day. I was so shocked,” the employee says. “It made me feel great.”
The people who keep these busy restaurants up to their founders’ tight standards do so in a team-centered environment described as caring and respectful. Ninety three percent of employees say The Cheesecake Factory is a friendly place to work, and the same number say they were made to feel welcome when they came on board.
One, who joined the company a month earlier says, “Almost every person who works at this restaurant exceeds congenial. I've met quite a few people already who have become my friends, even outside of work.”
The company helps foster this kind of work-hard play-hard interaction at its locations with things like chili cook-offs between restaurants, culinary workshops for kitchen staffs and flexible scheduling.
“I have had two family emergencies in the past month and I was able to take off, on the spot, and a couple of days after that. When I came back, they had a goody bag for me because of my emergencies to make me feel better,” another employee says. “They checked on me, and that gives you the feeling you are not a number or a just an employee. You are family.”
A busy restaurant can be an extremely demanding workplace. The staff at a typical The Cheesecake Factory location rings up $10 million in sales each year, working from a menu with more than 200 items. The employees making that happen appreciate the way the company keeps things running smoothly while treating them with respect. The Cheesecake Factory offers numerous opportunities to recognize exceptional work, from the STAR designation provided to exemplary staff members who takes on additional responsibilities, to the Perfect Recipe Award specifically for kitchen, bakery and bar staff. Certain recognition comes with cash awards or higher hourly pay rates for administrative work. Ninety percent say the company’s leaders have a clear view of where the organization is going and how to get there, while nearly as many describe their management as easy to talk with.
“I have felt like part of the team from the beginning. Management is clear and understanding. People are friendly and helpful. I have found it very easy to understand expectations and figure out whatever I need to get the job done,” one employee says.
To keep things on track, The Cheesecake Factory works regular training and team building into its calendar. For example, when menu changes roll around every six months, all employees gather at their restaurants for tastings and instruction. These events can have more in common with theme parties than meetings, with costumes, videos and contests. One restaurant chose a TV sitcom theme for its roll out and provided a $100 award for a local charity to one of its teams who brought the cast of “I Love Lucy” to life during the event. On a day-to-day basis, employees also make use of the company’s “Scoops Live” website to share and comment on company news, videos and stories about exceptional employees.
Proud of the Product
Even as they embrace their place in maintaining The Cheesecake Factory brand, some wish this publicly traded corporation were more equitable with its success. Sixty seven percent of employees feel they receive a fair share of the company’s profits.
That’s not unusual in a service industry dominated by tipped and hourly workers, and many more (74 percent) say that they are paid fairly. But what helps set The Cheesecake Factory apart as an employer is the satisfaction employees take in their jobs. A full 92 percent say they are proud to tell others where they work, and 90 percent say they take pride in what they accomplish — all within a workplace where 91 percent deem managers to be consistently honest and ethical in their business practices.
“We are a busy restaurant, and there will always be hours for hard-working people,” one employee says. “I love the welcome feeling we get from management, and our guests get when they come here. I feel appreciated.”
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