What You Should Know
The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated fosters a friendly atmosphere from the top down — managers model a culture of respect for employees who then pass it along to the restaurant chain's tens of millions of patrons. From staff brunches and the friendly competition of Iron Chef battles, to the extensive training for employees of all levels and the acknowledgment of good work by both managers and peers, this is a group that pulls together to get the job done. The Cheesecake Factory's strong focus on customer service means employees need to be able to stay positive and energetic in a fast-paced, sometimes challenging environment. But supportive managers and co-workers motivate staff to strive for excellence. "The CCF always takes care of the individual," one employee says. "Therefore we take care of our company."
WHAT THEY DO
The Cheesecake Factory operates 185 restaurants and two bakery manufacturing facilities. Characterizing its restaurants as "upscale casual dining," the company prepares 250 menu items fresh daily, including the signature cheesecakes and baked desserts that it sells externally in addition to serving them at its own outlets.
| Website: www.thecheesecakefactory.com
|| US Headquarters: Calabasas Hills, California
| US Sites: 189
|| Major Locations: Los Angeles, CA; Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Chicago, IL; San Francisco, CA; Dallas, TX
|Stock Symbol: CAKE
|| US Employees: 35140
| US revenues: $1866.44 million
|| Worldwide revenues: $1877.91 million
| Employees worldwide: 4
|| Founded: 1978
| Industry: Hospitality
How much responsibility would I have? What kind of support is there for professional development?
Great Rated! conducted an anonymous survey of randomly selected employees to assess the quality of the workplace challenges the company provides. At The Cheesecake Factory, 81 percent of employees report the company often or almost always provides needed training, fair promotions and personally challenging work. Another 14 percent report the company sometimes provides these opportunities, for a combined positive rating from 95 percent of employees in the Great Challenges category.
The Cheesecake Factory's employees serve tens of millions of guests at its restaurants. The company has approximately 35,140 employees in the United States, where they operate 185 restaurants, bakery manufacturing facilities and offices.
Most employees (81 percent) say they carry a lot of responsibility in the organization, and a majority (88 percent) also say that managers trust them to carry out these responsibilities without micromanaging them. For 79 percent of employees, their work at The Cheesecake Factory is more than just a job: The chance to be a part of a growing, team-oriented restaurant brand provides special meaning.
At The Cheesecake Factory, 84 percent of employees feel they receive the training and development they need to further their careers. While it is often difficult for companies to ensure that promotions are awarded fairly across organizations, at The Cheesecake Factory, 78 percent say that promotions consistently go to those who best deserve them, exceeding what one can typically expect even at the very best companies in the country.
Supporting Employee Development
- College Tuition Reimbursement: $2,500 (corporate staff)
- Average annual training for part-time hourly employees: 151 hours
- Average annual training for full-time salaried employees: 327 hours
- The Performance Development Department oversees in-person and online courses for The Cheesecake Factory's wide range of employees, from line cooks to managers and corporate staff. Each restaurant has an iPad with which to take training courses; there are monthly station workshops for bar and bakery staff and line cooks; managers continually receive leadership development training. Slated for completion in 2015 is the construction of a dedicated training and development center that will be equipped with cutting-edge video technology to produce its ever-growing slate of online and video-based training courses.
You can start at any position in this company and make it to the top.
What would my colleagues be like? How do people have fun? How formal a workplace is it?
At The Cheesecake Factory, 84 percent of employees say they often or almost always enjoy their colleagues and find their workplace to be fun and cooperative. Another 12 percent sometimes benefits from these qualities, for a combined positive rating from 96 percent of employees in the Great Atmosphere category.
The Cheesecake Factory aims to keep its restaurants looking "like new," with a bright, vibrant, clean and casual environment.
Nearly all, 94 percent, of employees describe their working environment as consistently friendly, and more than nine out of 10 say they're comfortable being themselves. More than eight out of 10 also say it is caring, fun and has a family or team feeling. Nearly as many characterize it as a cooperative workplace. In fact, three-quarters actually look forward to coming to work.
Fun and Celebrations
- Some restaurants host Iron Chef Battles for staff. Company-wide "So You Think You Can Cook" contests take place, in which employees submit new recipes to be cooked for the CEO. Other locations will host brunches for staff and their families to mark holidays such as Easter. Restaurant managers hold events such as weekly draws for prizes including an employee's choice of shift or a free dessert.
- On the corporate side, staff hold events such as a huge "Career Cakewalk" event on Bring Your Child to Work Day, an Academy Awards prediction contest, an Easter egg hunt, an over-the-top Halloween celebration and they also celebrate company founder and CEO David Overton's birthday with his favorite cake.
Caring and Support
- When a fire in the middle of the night at The Cheesecake Factory's Honolulu restaurant caused millions of dollars of damage, closing it for almost a month, the company paid its 401 employees their full wages while the site was restored. Employees could spend their time off as they wished, but many chose to help rebuild the restaurant, while others volunteered at other organizations in the community.
- When one employee's seven-year-old required open-heart surgery, co-workers banded together to cash in some of their vacation time, donating about $10,000 to the family.
People celebrate special events around here.
I think everything comes together to make it a great place to work -- the staff, bakers, bussers, runners, bartenders, servers and the kitchen staff -- we all get along, and management tries their best to make sure we’re all happy. If we have an issue, they try their best to resolve it, and help any way they can.
What kind of perks and benefits are part of the employment package? What is the work-life balance like? Does the company appreciate hard work?
At The Cheesecake Factory, 77 percent of employees often or almost always find the company compensates them fairly, provides special and unique benefits, supports their work-life balance and shows genuine appreciation for their contributions. Another 16 percent reports they sometimes receive these benefits as well, for a combined positive rating from 93 percent of employees in the Great Rewards category.
I like that if you work hard and do a good job, the manager will notice and let you know. They will congratulate you and help you in any way they can.
COMPENSATION BY THE NUMBERS
| $42,455 Average salary and additional cash compensation for Server
|| $60,208 Average salary and additional cash compensation for Restaurant Manager
| 50% 401(k) match of employee's salary, up to 4% of an employee's contribution (corporate staff and restaurant managers)
|| 65% Company-paid health coverage for employees
| 65% Company-paid health coverage for dependents
|| 25 hours Weekly hours at which part-timers receive health care coverage
- 401(k) or 403b plan
- Pre-tax savings account
- Deferred profit-sharing plan
PERKS TO MAKE LIFE EASIER
- Free snacks during the day
- Free lunch on a regular, daily basis
- Free breakfast foods on a regular, daily basis
- Onsite package/mailing service
- Discount ticket sales
- Weight Watchers meetings
- Free beverages during the day
- Subsidized lunch on a regular, daily basis
- Massage therapy
- Car wash
WORK-LIFE BALANCE BY THE NUMBERS
| 19 days Holidays & vacation days after one year of employment
WORK-LIFE BALANCE PROGRAMS
- Paid sabbaticals
- Lactation rooms
- Telecommute option (5% use it)
- Elder care resources
I am able to take time off from work when I think it's necessary.
People are encouraged to balance their work life and their personal life.
To me it is an excellent place because I can count on my bosses when I have a worry with my family and need to take time off and they respect my work schedule.
HEALTH INSURANCE COVERS
- Dental care
- Prescription drug subsidy
- Alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, homeopathy or chiropractic
- Vision care
- Mental health care
ONSITE HEALTH BENEFITS
- Cholesterol tests
- Flu shots
- Subsidized offsite gym memberships
- Blood pressure screening
- Complete biometric screening
What inspires employees' company spirit here? Do people stand by their teams' work? What impact do people have outside the organization?
At The Cheesecake Factory, 82 percent of employees report that they often or almost always carry meaningful responsibilities within the organization and are proud of their accomplishments, community impact and the company's reputation in the world. Another 14 percent report that they sometimes experience this pride as well, for a combined positive rating from 96 percent of employees in the Great Pride category.
The Cheesecake Factory aspires to deliver excellence and innovation in the hospitality industry while providing fresh, high-quality yet accessible food in a family-friendly atmosphere.
I'm proud to tell others I work here.
I appreciate the effort to achieve perfection in their dishes and the attention to quality in the products that are served.
Supporting the Community
- Philanthropic donations in the last year: $5,583,642
- Among its many charitable efforts, The Cheesecake Factory is a partner of Feeding America, which works with local food banks, donates surplus food from its restaurants to shelters and soup kitchens and prepares and serves Thanksgiving dinner at Salvation Army centers in 13 cities. Also, the company's Give Back program encourages staff to form teams to fundraise and participate in community service projects of their choice. Team members receive a Give Back T-shirt and The Cheesecake Factory also makes a donation to the cause based on the number of employees on the team.
I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.
The Cheesecake Factory supports a wide array of community service programs as well as an employee emergency fund for extreme emergencies for employees in need.
How easy is it to talk with managers and get the information I need? Will managers listen to my input?
At The Cheesecake Factory, 84 percent of employees say they often or almost always experience a free and transparent exchange of ideas and information within the organization. Another 12 percent sometimes has this experience as well, for a combined positive rating from 96 percent of employees in the Great Communication category.
Despite having close to 200 restaurants across the country, most employees feel the lines of communication are open. The majority of employees, 88 percent, say leaders make their expectations clear and nearly as many, 86 percent, say they are kept informed about important issues and changes. As well, 86 percent say they can ask any reasonable question and get a straight answer and 87 percent feel their supervisors are approachable and easy to talk with. Managers genuinely seek and respond to suggestions and ideas, according to 81 percent of staff.
I like that there are people that know how to listen when there is a problem in the work area and know how to find a solution and improve it.
What are managers' leadership strengths?
At The Cheesecake Factory, 80 percent of employees say their managers often or almost always act with integrity and care, are competent in their positions and provide clear directions and vision for the organization. Another 14 percent say their managers sometimes display these characteristics, for a combined positive rating from 94 percent of employees in the Great Bosses category.
The Cheesecake Factory employees widely appreciate the pride and integrity their leaders encourage at the company. Staff have confidence in those at the helm, as evidenced by the 89 percent who say their bosses are competent at running the business as well as honest and ethical in their business practices. Another 88 percent feel their leaders have a clear view of where the organization is going and how to get there. Nearly as many, 85 percent, believe their managers have their backs, recognizing honest mistakes as a part of doing business, and just as many believe their managers are loyal, and would lay them off only as a last resort.
Certain managers are wonderful. They are professional and personal. They are fun and friendly. You can talk to them freely.
Great Perks and Programs
- Overseas Experience: As the company expands internationally to places such as the Middle East, Latin America and Asia, its U.S. staff have the chance to broaden their horizons. The Cheesecake Factory has sent employees including area directors, area field training managers, restaurant managers and designated trainers abroad to develop the brand and teach local staff.
- Rewarding Excellence: The company facilitates peer recognition by providing employees with cards on which they acknowledge a co-worker for a job well done. These cards are often posted publicly on staff bulletin boards. Restaurant managers will reward staff with gift cards to businesses and sporting events. High-performing employees have the chance to earn spot bonuses and staff are recognized for bakery safety.
- Work-life Balance: Corporate staff can telecommute and take a paid, three-week sabbatical to juggle career and personal obligations and interests.
- Full Health Insurance: Employees who joined the chain in 2014 and work at least 30 hours a week receive full health insurance. The company encourages managers to give restaurant staff enough hours to qualify for insurance. Employees who joined the chain prior to 2014 can receive full health insurance if they work at least 25 hours per week.
- Corporate Office Food: Corporate staff have access to fresh fruit every day, treats such as muffins, yogurt, nachos or ice cream on Wednesday, bagels every Friday and once a month they can buy whole cheesecakes for $5.
Great Rated! collected feedback from The Cheesecake Factory employees via an anonymous survey. Following are common reasons employees said they appreciate their workplace.
"They don't treat you as just one more employee, there are occasions they consider you as part of their family. They care for us and are willing to help us in everything they can, to have the opportunities to grow."
"The managers always greet us with a smile, and when there are difficulties at work they are willing to help. They are accessible in case of emergencies and they are always looking out for everyone."
"Professionalism: The company and the managers act upon what they teach. Training: It is one of the companies that I have worked with that invests a lot of time and money to ensure that their employees can learn the system and values of the company and put them into practice. Family environment: In the 18 years that I have worked here in this company they have always put a smile on my face when I get to the restaurant and work with my co-workers. This is truly our 'second home.'"
"To me it is excellent because in the entire time that I have been here I have found respect by all bosses and co-workers, respect for the work I do, respect for the days and hours that I have worked."
"The environment is very pleasant. There is solidarity and respect. One feels like an important part of the company."
"The tools are in great shape; the same goes for the kitchen; I also appreciate the care for the food prepared."
"My work schedule is flexible. My managers are friendly with all the personnel. And my co-workers are cooperative. I feel as part of a family."
"The company has an internal site on the web to share ideas with corporate, operational, new recipes, procedures, etc. There are annual summer picnics, discounted gym memberships, fitness contests."
"The extensive training here is unlike any other restaurant I’ve worked for. This company cares about setting its employees up for success."
"What sets this company apart is that they really believe that people are their greatest resources. They know that without the staff they would not be as successful."
"The Cheesecake Factory has a wide variety of food on the menu which is always evolving and tries to stay current."
"It's growing across the world, which provides more opportunities to travel and work."
How to Get Hired
We asked The Cheesecake Factory for some inside information on how to get hired at the organization. Here is what they had to say.
What key characteristics tell you a prospective employee will be a great fit for your company?
When we evaluate a candidate’s characteristics, we think of it in terms of workplace behavioral fit and "Cheesecake" fit. An applicant with "Cheesecake" fit is best described as one who oozes hospitality, radiates positive energy, never compromises their incredibly high standards of excellence and loves to have fun.
What can prospective employees do to get your attention?
Prospective employees should be highly engaged, and have an “at rest” smile and passion for what they do. We look for applicants who are “So Cheesecake,” and our recruiters and hiring managers know what this looks like when they see it, so an applicant can’t fake it. Our hiring managers look for that "Cheesecake" fit; for the special person who is motivated to work for the best and busiest restaurant chain in the U.S. Applicants can get our attention by being genuinely passionate about service, food and hospitality and by demonstrating they're caring, fun people who understand and can live our Mission of “creating an environment where absolute guest satisfaction is our highest priority.”
Are there any unusual or especially rigorous steps of your hiring process that candidates should be aware of?
Our selection process is rigorous and includes an online application and assessment. Restaurant and kitchen management candidates go through a four hour Shift Observation. This is a unique opportunity for the candidate to see the inside of our operation. The Shift Observation routine ensures they are exposed to all areas of the business and also gives our hiring managers the opportunity to see how the applicant responds to the unique pace of our restaurants. Applicants for corporate positions often go through multiple rounds of interviews with various levels of staff (peers through executives) and may be required to complete work samples and/or skills testing. Throughout the entire hiring process, candidates are observed for “Cheesecake” fit.
Are there any positions or types of candidates you are particularly focused on hiring in this coming year?
We are focusing on attracting line and prep cooks as well as dishwashers for most of our restaurants. These positions help fill our pipeline for other kitchen management roles. To make the process more convenient for applicants for these positions, we’ve made it mobile-compatible. In addition, to grow The Cheesecake Factory brand, we need a strong pipeline of kitchen managers. Prospective kitchen managers can expect extensive training through our Culinary Operations Leadership Roadmap curriculum that will develop not only their culinary skills but also their leadership and business skills.
What should interested candidates do to find out more and get started?
To get started, applicants can visit our Careers Search page at www.CakeCareers.com. From there, they can find out about our job opportunities and learn all about our culture, growth and benefits.
||23Average number of applicants per opening
|47%Total voluntary turnover in past year
||499481Applicants in past year
|2182Openings in past year
||15%New hires by employee referrals
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