Why Is the Cheesecake Factory Menu So Big?

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The restaurant doesn't skimp on portions nor food options—and it shows in their menu.

Almost as impressive as the delicious cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory is the whopping 21-page, 250-item menu. And restaurant-goers should thank the founder of The Cheesecake Factory for the huge menu.

The first restaurant opened in 1978 with a 60-item menu including salads, sandwiches, and omelets, according to Alethea Rowe, Senior Director of Public Relations & Global Branding at The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated. David Overton, the founder of The Cheesecake Factory, created a small menu on purpose. Overton had no restaurant experience, so keeping the original menu simple meant he could make everything himself, if necessary. There are plenty of dishes professional chefs simply don’t like to cook, too.

Although this strategy was great at first, as the restaurant grew, David added 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 weren’t already on the menu,” Rowe says. So the menu grew slowly to 200 items and expanded to 250 with the addition of the SkinnyLicious Menu. You’ll never be able to memorize the menu, but you won’t forget these sweet Cheesecake Factory facts.

The large menu is also a clever business strategy, according to the book Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth. The authors, Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin, discuss brands like The Cheesecake Factory and customer loyalty. “You might think it’s 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,” they write. So even if you haven’t been to The Cheesecake Factory, you’ve heard about their big menu. You might not have heard about why these restaurants changed their names.

Emily DiNuzzo
Emily DiNuzzo is an associate editor at The Healthy and a former assistant staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her work has appeared online at the Food Network and Well + Good and in print at Westchester Magazine, and more. When she's not writing about food and health with a cuppa by her side, you can find her lifting heavy things at the gym, listening to murder mystery podcasts, and liking one too many astrology memes.