It may not shock casual-dining operators that customers choose to visit them for their food quality, cleanliness and menu variety, but they may be surprised to learn that having a reputation for value doesn’t cinch their status as a consumer favorite either. Consider The Cheesecake Factory, which emerged as the most preferred casual-dining brand in the Varied-Menu subcategory despite tying for the lowest rating for Value. Although the chain fell short on Value, it nearly swept the rest of the survey’s attribute ratings.
1. The Cheesecake Factory
In the past year, Calabasas Hills, Calif.-based The Cheesecake Factory has revamped its menu to include new low-calorie, more healthful menu items. The chain also announced its first venture in the international market with a franchise deal in the Middle East.
• Number of units: 156
• U.S. systemwide sales: $1.5 billion
• Survey strengths: Food Quality, Reputation, Cleanliness
• Last year’s rank: 4