In a TikTok video that has whipped up a storm of opinions, Haley Jo Klein (@haleyjoklein) asks viewers how fancy the Cheesecake Factory really is.
The video has racked up 1.9 million views as of this writing, and starts with the creator giving viewers some context before asking her question.
“I just saw the video of the girl who was like, ‘He brought me to Cheesecake Factory, I’m not getting out of the car,'” she says.
Haley is referring to a seven minute viral TikTok video from creator Monique Santos (@moniquesantos09), in which a woman recorded herself refusing to exit her date’s car after she realized he had pulled up at the Cheesecake Factory.
“Is the Cheesecake Factory not fancy?” Haley wonders. “Because for me if the menu prices are that high, that’s when I’m like I should probably get dressed to go to that restaurant. Like I’ll put some nice clothes on.”
“I mean I know today’s economy sucks and we’re all poor,” she acknowledged, before adding, “but, like, I didn’t know that Cheesecake Factory is for poor people.”
Users in the comments had vastly different perspectives on where to rank the popular restaurant.
One commenter claimed, “Growing up, Olive Garden was the nice restaurant you went to on dates and the Cheesecake Factory is a once a year birthday special kind of place.”
Another contended, “Listen the only Cheesecake Factory near me is located at the extra fancy mall … Is it fine dining? No. Is it nice date worthy? Yes. For sure.”
A third chimed in with the argument, “Cheesecake factory is def not fancy, I wear jeans. HOWEVER with that being said, I would be super happy to be there lol.”
While the debate was mostly light-hearted, one user addressed the creator’s comment about the current financial climate and highlighted the economic disparities that influence perceptions of what is fancy.
“Growing up poor, I’ve never been to a Cheesecake Factory and I think that’s all the information we needed to know here,” they wrote.
A recent study found that restaurant prices are actually rising faster than the inflation. The changing economic landscape has shifted perceptions, making dining out a more significant event and influencing where people choose to spend their hard-earned money.
But while most users seemed divided on where to rank the Cheesecake Factory among other popular restaurants, one person argued that everyone was missing the point.
“It’s not fancy,” they wrote, “but it’s damn good.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Haley via email for further comment.