Why Is The Cheesecake Factory Menu So Big?

If you’ve ever eaten at a Cheesecake Factory, then you know that their menu is MASSIVE! It is a 21-page, 250-item menu that makes it pretty much impossible to decide what to order. But there’s a reason why they have so many pages and items to choose from:

According to Alethea Rowe, Senior Director of Public Relations & Global Branding at The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated, the first Cheesecake Factory opened in 1978 with a 60-item menu that included salads, sandwiches, and omelets.

David Overton, the founder of The Cheesecake Factory, created the small menu – small for the time – because he had no restaurant experience. So by limiting customer’s options, he could make everything himself.

Although this strategy worked great when the restaurant first opened, David was forced to add more and more menu items: “As he says, he ‘didn’t want to be left behind’ if there were items that his guests wanted that wasn’t already on the menu,” Rowe says.

As the popularity of his restaurant grew, so did the number of menu items. It went from 60 items to 200 items to 250 items with the addition of the SkinnyLicious Menu.

Turns out there is also a business strategy behind the larger menu. According to the book Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth, “You might think it’s [the menu] too long, but for The Cheesecake Factory, it’s just right. Why? Because the vastness of the restaurant’s menu is so unusual that it compels conversation among its patrons.”

It makes sense now, but I still don’t know what to order…

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