What The Cheesecake Factory keeps quiet on its menu


cheesecake display

Photo: Chang Yong Kim (Shutterstock)

I’ve only been to The Cheesecake Factory a handful of times, but for a chain restaurant I have to say it’s pretty impressive. In my experience, chain restaurants generally leave something to be desired, but The Cheesecake Factory usually offers pretty decent food, despite having a menu that’s about as long as the dictionary. What is really cool from a runtime perspective is that all of its menu items (and I’m talking hundreds of them) are created from scratch, and they even mention it on their own website home page. All but one.

Where does Cheesecake Factory make its cheesecake?

And this article is? Yes the cheesecake. Surprisingly, the restaurant’s namesake dish isn’t homemade at all, but ships from bakeries (or are they factories?) in Calabasas, California, and Rocky Mount, North Carolina, from Eat This, Not That. It almost sounds like a betrayal, doesn’t it?

It’s especially funny because of that scratch kitchen I just mentioned. In 2018, a writer by Buzzfeed visited the prep kitchen of a Cheesecake Factory to work for a day and documented what a well-oiled machine it was. For a former restaurant worker like me, you learn to appreciate other people’s kitchens working well, especially when they’re super high-yielding. I’ve never been to a place in Cheesecake Factory that wasn’t busy. Every cooking hand should be on its A-game when you have an unbroken stream of tickets in front of you.

cheesecake, however, is a pretty tricky beast to execute consistently. I’ve only made a few in my time, but they always turned out pretty funny, as they were cracked, unevenly baked, or just plain ugly and wrinkled on top. To produce this volume of cheesecake, I imagine it takes special equipment and a lot of skilled labor (considering even making one isn’t easy). This means that each Cheesecake Factory would basically need a completely decorated separate kitchen inside each location just to prepare the desserts.

Cheesecakes that are shipped are frozen and are thawed for later serving. I guess when I’m busy eating handmade avocado spring rolls and lettuce wraps, I probably wouldn’t mind much if my cheesecake was made on industrial equipment, now that I think about it. It’s called a “factory,” after all.

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