Expert reveals trick to how Cheesecake Factory can cook such a large menu

@chefisaacnyc/TikTok jetcityimage/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘Basically ran like the Navy’: Expert reveals trick to how Cheesecake Factory can cook such a large menu

'I work at the Cheesecake Factory & I can confirm.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Apr 1, 2024   Updated on Apr 5, 2024, 11:43 am CDT

Anyone who has been to Cheesecake Factory has likely had the experience of being overwhelmed by the chain’s expansive menu. The company’s website boasts that the menu contains “more than 250 items”—despite this, they insist that “we make things fresh and from scratch in each restaurant.”

Over the years, many have questioned how such a feat is possible. One internet user recently went viral for their video on the topic, showing their shock at seeing the chain’s large menu. Now, another user with industry experience has chimed in to show how something like this is possible.

“I’ve had plenty of experience in corporate kitchens, and basically how these places work is they have a large prep team, and they also have a very large refrigerator or walk-in, as we call it,” explains TikTok user Isaac (@chefisaacnyc) in a video with over 592,000 views.

“Most places that operate at this level receive two deliveries a week—most of the time, depending on the products,” he continues. “Then, they have a freezer full of products as well for things like, you know, bread or french fries—things you can’t just really replicate unless you have another operation going.”

Isaac continues by noting that kitchens like these are separated into stations, where each chef is trained in one specific area. This allows for an assembly line-like process in which many different cuisines can be cooked at once.

“Through coordination and fresh ingredients, you get really good food,” summarizes Isaac.

According to a 2022 article on the topic in Vox, Isaac’s assessment is essentially correct. Former employees report receiving extensive recipe books—in one case, a book that was “two inches” thick—that only covered a single station for which they were to be trained.

“My station alone had five cooks that would work just 16 burners,” a chef told Vox about his first experience on the line. “It was one guy calling out the guests and starting dishes. It was one guy finishing and garnishing all the dishes, and three guys just cooking. That was just one station.”

@chefisaacnyc #stitch with @noodlewinter Most kitchens organize the staff to work certain items on a menu. From fry, saute, grill, and prep, it’s all organized to operate successfully #cheescake #nyc #linecooks ♬ original sound – chefisaacnyc

Commenters echoed Isaac’s claims.

“Cheesecake factory kitchens are basically ran like the navy LOL, separate sections for broil/grill, pasta, apps, pizza and salad are the different stations i think,” said a user.

“I work at the Cheesecake Factory & I can confirm that also everything on the menu is Fresh and almost all their sauces, dressing are made from scratch!!!” exclaimed another. “They also handbreadth her own chicken [and] they also use their own recipes, which requires them to make everything from scratch!!”

“One I worked at on a busy night had 10-15 cooks, 4-6 prep cooks, 4-5 bakers, 4-5 dishwashers, 3-4 foodrunners,” recounted a third. “it’s a big operation.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Isaac via Instagram direct message and the Cheesecake Factory via email.

Update 11:42am CT, Apr. 5, 2024:

In an Instagram direct message exchange with the Daily Dot, Isaac says that Cheesecake Factory’s workflow is pretty standard in the industry.

“Each big kitchen has the basic stations. Fry, saute, grill, maybe an oven station for like flatbreads, and a cold station for desserts and salads,” he writes. “It’s pretty common to have this setup. It’s not specific to Cheesecake Factory—this method is used widely in the industry, and it’s how we rank ourselves as chefs.”

He explains that a chef could move up from one station to another as they become more experienced. Furthermore, he says that most restaurants have systems in place so that all teams work together to get the dish to the table on time.

“I think bigger restaurants are successful at this because they have more than one chef communicating to the line and making sure all of the dishes arrive to the pass together,” he says. “Notoriously this why Chefs hate well-done steaks; it slows down service and it’s a terrible way to eat a steak.”

To conclude, he says he’s happy this video inspired people to learn more about the industry.

“People should try to learn more about the restaurant business and how it all works. They’re a lot of valuable people behind these productions, so when you eat a restaurant it all feels smooth,” he states. “From the food they eat to the restaurants they frequent, consumers affect us in ways they can’t imagine and they should understand why it matters.”

“There’s no mistaking the influence they have over us, you can see the change in how people eat because of trends and viral videos in the past eight years,” he continues. “It’s not a mistake that every restaurant has to have a brunch menu, burrata, and charcuterie on the menu. The average restaurant goer has tremendous influence and learning more about how our process works would make for a better experience for everyone.”

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*First Published: Apr 1, 2024, 8:00 am CDT