#129 Say “Cheese”

Founded in 1978 by David Overton and with more than 200 restaurants, 2 billion US$ in revenues and about 40,000 employees, the Cheesecake Factory is one of the United States’ top restaurant chains in the casual dining category. For most of its history, the Cheesecake Factory was focused on the US market, and only started to expand internationally in 2012 with a restaurant at the Dubai Mall in the United Arab Emirates. Until 2017, a few other international locations in Canada, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Saudi Arabia were added. In May 2017, the Cheesecake Factory opened its first restaurant in Hong Kong, and it seemed that what the restaurant is best known for – large portions of comfort food – caught Chinese customers by surprise. As the Wall Street Journal reported in late 2017, diners at the Hong Kong location had troubles with the concept. Some were confused by the restaurant’s name, some were concerned about the calorie count of some dishes that exceeded a normal daily intake, others were astonished by the amount of cheese used in many menu items, and yet others were marveling at the size of the portions. It was not unusual to see parties of diners share their food. “I don’t think I can have cheese for another three months.”, a customer said, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Cheesecake Factory strives to keep their concept and menu mostly the same across the globe – from drinking glasses and decor to the 200+ item menus. In Hong Kong, they may have to stumbled on a new value proposition –  pay for one meal and stretch it to many.

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