The Cheesecake Factory Inc. is a prime example of dreams coming true. It is a chain of restaurants known throughout the world for its huge menu and forty different cheesecakes. However, only a few people know the story of the company. Olivia Overton always dreamt of her own business. However, after becoming a mother she gave up this idea. When her children grew up, the family arrived at a decision to pursue Olivia’s lifetime dream. In fact, the Overtons started with one bakery in Los Angeles, but later they expanded and opened a restaurant with beautiful interiors and hundreds of items on the menu. The idea proved to be successful. However, due to effective managerial practices, the company grew and expanded to a chain. The key areas of management in the Cheesecake Factory are human resources, technology, and motivating and rewarding employees.
It is interesting to learn how an average family managed to get off the ground such a company having only an idea. The Cheesecake Factory’s history dates back to the 1940s (The Cheesecake Factory, 2016). Everything started in Detroit, Michigan where Evelyn Overton cooked her first cheesecake using the recipe printed in a local newspaper. The whole thing started in her basement. Her cheesecakes proved to be very popular among the neighbors and friends. Thus, she began to supply local restaurants with her cheesecakes. Later, Oscar Overton, her husband, started a bakery, since his wife always dreamt of her own business, but unfortunately did not have such a possibility in the past. Therefore, in 1972, the family moved to Los Angeles. They built a bakery there and supplied cheesecakes, as well as other desserts to local restaurants (FundingUniverse, n.d.). The Overtons were not afraid to run a risk, and maybe that is why they succeeded.
The family was not satisfied with what has already been achieved, that is, with one bakery. Therefore, they decided to expend. Oscar and Evelyn’s son David opened the first restaurant under the brand of the Cheesecake Factory in 1978 (The Cheesecake Factory, 2016). As David supposed, this restaurant had become an immediate success. Nowadays, there are 200 The Cheesecake Factory restaurants all over the world (The Cheesecake Factory, 2016). The Cheesecake Factory Inc. is a chain of casual restaurants, which offer a mid-priced food. The restaurants are known for their beautiful interiors and diverse menu, which comprises of 200 items on 18 pages (FundingUniverse, n.d.). A customer can choose a cheesecake to his/her liking since there are forty kinds of it. A huge choice is one of the things that attract customers.
It is a well-known fact that any business is based not only on its founders but also on its employees. The latter even play a greater role in the business development since they are the front-line of the business. The Cheesecake Factory’s annual revenue is $1.2 billion. In 2006, the company owned 112 restaurants nationwide that employed more than 27,000 workers (Ruiz, 2006). Before starting working, the prospective employees are required to attend training seminars. Since the company is one of the most profitable entities in the country, it pays much attention to training its employees. There are only a few programs that can compete with the one offered by the Cheesecake Factory.
The company cares much about its reputation. Mike Hampton, who is the President of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers, states that “The Cheesecake Factory is in the league of Houston’s Restaurants and Buca di Beppo, which enjoy sterling reputations throughout the industry for innovative workforce development programs” (Ruiz, 2006). The company spends large sums of money on training workers annually. The duration of the training programs depends on the position for which one is applying. Servers are trained for two weeks. Managerial position candidates attend development courses for twelve weeks (Ruiz, 2006). Training initiatives of the Cheesecake Factory also cover such position as dishwasher. Due to such effective management of human resources, the company has high customer satisfaction rates and loyalty. Training programs also contribute to the repeat/regular customers. Everything in the company is done with an aim to exceed guests’ expectations. The Cheesecake Factory’s workforce development programs ensure high quality of services.
Human resources department of the company is strategy driven. Training initiatives have been introduced in the Cheesecake Factory only after having studied the HR tactics of the premium class service providers. However, the excessive training is not only a part of a strategy. It is also a necessity, since the menu has many items on the list. Educational tools of the Cheesecake Factory include coaching, role-playing, as well as on-the-job training (Ruiz, 2006). These are the keys to a successful selection of the company’s employees.
Since the servers are central in the restaurant business, the Cheesecake Factory takes training programs for servers very seriously. Here is how the process of becoming a company’s server looks like. First, candidates take two-week certification program. Each of them has a mentor throughout the training process. Candidates observe the work of the experienced server. Already during the training, candidates should know not only each item on the menu but also its ingredients. This process is preceded by the examination. Only the candidates who have passed the test are hired by the company (Ruiz, 2006). It means that the Cheesecake Factory values its reputation and chooses only the best employees. Such management of human resources contributes to the company’s success.
The Cheesecake Factory is not chasing new technologies for their working process. While numerous restaurant chains use tablets to improve service, the company decides to stick with traditions. The President of the Cheesecake Factory has announced that the company will not use technology in its chain (Johnson, 2014). The company relies heavily on the mobile marketing services, such as SMS. What the management team wants is to keep the service simple. The Cheesecake Factory does not want to use tablets in customer service, since it values face-to-face interactions with guests.
The Cheesecake Factory uses SMS and emails to share news and special offers with its customers. They can also find the restaurant’s menu online on the company’s website. Customers can also buy a gift card using the Internet. They will receive their gift cards by either email or regular mail. One of the disadvantages of using tablets in customer service is the urgent need to retrain all servers, what takes not only much money but is also time-consuming.
Therefore, instead of tablets, the Cheesecake Factory has decided to use MyCheck for its new mobile app. It is called CakePay and is aimed to make the payment process easier (Duffy, 2016). With the implementation of this idea, the customers have gained the possibility to pay from their smartphones. The payment process comprises of a few simple steps. First, the customer checks in. Second, the server gets a code and enters it together with the order into the Point of Sale system. Third, the customer views the receipt on his/her smartphone. Lastly, the customer pays for the items and checks out. There is also a very convenient option in this app. In fact, customers can split the bill evenly or pay for a specific item on it.
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Motivating and Rewarding Employees
The Cheesecake Factory is sure that its success depends largely on its employees. The company’s team consists of 35,000 managers and staff members (The Cheesecake Factory). Megan Bloomer is the director of Sustainability Department. The company’s employees are engaged in the process of improvement. Directors of all departments communicate and cooperate with staff members, who are interested in the company’s sustainability. The staff members are offered venues to voice their ideas (The Cheesecake Factory). Thus, employees are encouraged to come up with interesting offers that will help the company become more sustainable.
The Cheesecake Factory understands that staff members are the key component in its business. The company claims: “We offer a total reward package to our staff members, including competitive wages/salaries, meaningful benefits and wellness programs” (The Cheesecake Factory). The company motivates and rewards both full-time and part-time employees. Such strategy demonstrates the company’s concern about all employees.
The Cheesecake Factory is famous all over the world because its main focus is on the guest experience. The company rewards staff members in three following ways. First, Commitment to Excellence Award honors those employees who are dedicated to their work and pursue the goal of ‘absolute guest satisfaction.’ Secondly, the Cheesecake Factory offers its staff members the honor called 100 for 100. Each staff member receives mystery guest scores from customers. When scoring 100 percent, staff member gets $100 in a gift card. Thirdly, Above-and-Beyond Pins is another honor practiced by the Cheesecake Factory. The staff members are encouraged to go above-and-beyond to meet the needs of guests by the abovementioned reward. For doing so, employees are given pins on the spot (DiJulius, 2008, p.130). These practices motivate employees to show even stronger determination in their work.
The Cheesecake Factory is constantly looking for new ways to motivate its employees. Ruiz names other types of incentives granted by the company for a well-done work (2006). They can be either free meals or flexible schedule. They can also be in the form of monetary prizes. For example, staff members are offered $3,000 for their help in opening a new restaurant. Employees also have the possibility to win a trip for two to some beautiful places in the country. These trips are all-expenses-paid.
The Cheesecake Factory offers its members a possibility of career growth. A higher pay motivates top servers. The quarter of managers are promoted from restaurant’s staff members. The Cheesecake Factory believes that promoting internally positively affects the workers’ morale. All employees receive health insurance, even those who work for hourly wage. General Managers are granted with a new car on their first working day. The company is concerned about its employees. Managers are prohibited from working more than 55 hours weekly (Ruiz, 2006). The Cheesecake Factory does its best to make its restaurants the best place to work.
In conclusion, it should be said that the Cheesecake Factory is known not only nationwide but also across the world. The company’s restaurants have obtained a sterling reputation among their customers. Restaurants are aimed at repeated visitors rather than at a random customer. That is why services are provided at the highest level to exceed the customers’ expectations. The key areas of management in this company are human resources, technology, and motivating and rewarding employees. The Cheesecake Factory has well-developed training programs, which help select only the best employees. After having been hired, the workers are kept motivated to maintain the company’s good reputation. Staff members have the possibility of career growth and are often given various rewards. Even though technology is growing rapidly, the Cheesecake Factory does not want to use it extensively in customer service. The reason for it is that company is eager to preserve the face-to-face interaction with customers, which is considered central in this kind of business.
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