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Cheesecake Factory to launch ‘Superfoods’ menu platform

Cheesecake Factory to launch ‘Superfoods’ menu platform

Menu, mobile app in test aim to appeal to Millennials

The Cheesecake Factory Inc. is adding a new “Superfoods” platform to its summer menu in August, which company officials say will appeal to Millennials, as well as a broader demographic.

The Superfoods category will be small, and comes in addition to the chain’s successful “SkinnyLicious” offerings, which are lower in calories, David Overton, The Cheesecake Factory Inc. chairman and CEO, said in a call with analysts Wednesday following the company’s second-quarter earnings report.

Overton didn’t offer details, but he said Superfoods dishes would include “nutrient-rich, high quality, powerhouse ingredients” like kale, blueberries, almonds, salmon and quinoa. The dishes will be listed in a separate section and also woven throughout the menu.

“It’s our take on what guests want today and an innovative approach to continuing to drive relevance,” Overton said. “We believe it will resonate not only with Millennials, but have broad appeal across a wide demographic.”

In another move likely to resonate with Millennials, the Calabasas Hills, Calif.-based company is also testing a new mobile app called “CakePay.”

The app is being tested at one location in Thousands Oaks, Calif., near the company headquarters, Overton said.

“So far we’re happy with the adoption that we’ve seen,” he said. “I don’t have specifics to share with you today, but I do know that we do have guests that are using it more than once.”

The company will continue to evaluate the technology and will likely roll it out to a larger group of restaurants by the fourth quarter, with the goal of taking it systemwide next year, he said.

For the second quarter ended June 30, same-store sales rose 2.8 percent at The Cheesecake Factory, which included a 2-percent increase in menu prices and a 1-percent increase in positive menu mix that offset a 0.2-percent decline in traffic.

However, Overton noted that about half of the brand’s 179 restaurants saw positive traffic during the quarter, and trends systemwide are improving.

The company expects same-store sales in the third quarter to range between 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent, and between 1 percent and 2 percent for the fourth quarter.

Menu price increases through the year will likely total between 2.5 percent and 2.6 percent, higher than the roughly 2-percent increases that are typical for The Cheesecake Factory, in part because of labor inflation.

The Cheesecake Factory Inc. operates 192 restaurants in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, including 179 units under The Cheesecake Factory brand and 12 Grand Lux Cafe locations, along with one RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen unit. Another nine Cheesecake Factory locations are licensed internationally.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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