Have you ever wanted to be a restaurant reviewer? CISL San Francisco teacher Lou Ann gave her students this chance when she asked her class to review a restaurant and write a report about their experience. The class chose The Cheesecake Factory and compiled a beautifully detailed review of the establishment. Thank you to each of the students in Lou Ann’s class for creating such an organized review: it looks like the students definitely learned some new vocabulary words during this project! We are always impressed with the writing skills of our English learners, and this is a shining example of the English language skills our students are achieving.
Enjoy the review, and warning: you may be hungry after reading it!
Level 8 Class Review: The Cheesecake Factory
Instructor: Lou Ann Bassan
Students: Yang Il (Angelina) Park, Jose (Pepe) Rico Morales, Jeongha (Olivia) Hwang, Hadeel Alrajhi, Moe Ito, Marie Marino, Jong In Baek, and Young Ji Kwak.
Date: March 8, 2012
THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY
Sometimes, as we know, the first comments that we heard or read of a restaurant is enough to go to the restaurant or not. I am referring to word of mouth.
The things more listened to of The Cheesecake Factory are different. People usually recommend to go there because of the quality of the food. People are more focused on the quality of food instead of the cheesecakes that are a second thought, although they are well valued too. Some foreign people thought that this restaurant was only to drink coffee and have a cheesecake because of its name, but anyway they heard that it was a good place to go. Besides, some people decided to go The Cheesecake Factory only because they listened to the name of this restaurant on the TV show!
However, some people heard from their friends that the worst things are that you have to wait a lot of time because you can not make a reservation, and sometimes the staff is not so kind…
In general, the first comments that most people heard about The Cheesecake Factory are good comments, although after their own experience some people weren’t too glad with some services of The Cheesecake Factory.
The Cheesecake Factory is a well-known restaurant in the United States, and its history is more than 60 years old. There are 151 restaurants spread across the country. Of course, this restaurant has never been as big as it is now. It started in 1940 as a small shop in Detroit owned by Evelyn Overton. After some difficulties she and her husband opened a new shop, which was just a 700 square foot in Los Angeles in 1975, and the success of this shop made them to create new flavors for the cheesecakes. Finally in 1978, their son opened a restaurant with the name “The Cheesecake Factory” in Beverly Hills, California, with the intention of providing a good experience to have dinner and the restaurant became an immediate success!
Because of this amazing story and the magnitude of this restaurant, we will do a good review of this interesting place!
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People like the Cheesecake Factory for many reasons.
In this restaurant, you can find many dishes, from appetizers to desserts. The huge quantities allow you to share the food and in that way, you can taste many dishes.
The Cheesecake Factory is not only famous for cheesecakes obviously, but for general dishes too, like pasta, pizza, meat and salad and others desserts, such as tiramisù or carrot cake.
However, you can’t find ethnic food. There are no specialties like Asian food or South American food. You can see a lot of dishes with international names but just the name is ethnic. Unfortunately, you will not find any Asian flavor in “Asian Chicken Salad”.
According to three of our reviewers, the “original cheesecake” is the best that they have never eaten. The citrus flavor, the lightness of the cake and the fine crust are really appreciated by the cheesecake addicts.
In the case of Angelina, she always eats dishes with cheese, because she believes that cheese is the specialty of the restaurant (Cheesecake Factory). However, Hadeel explained she doesn’t really like the salad dressing because she thinks it is not homemade. Another negative point that we can underline regarding the dishes, except cheesecake, is that almost everything is made with chicken, there is not a lot of imagination.
Regarding the cheesecake, Moe was disappointed about the “low carb cheesecake with raspberries”; it didn’t really taste good but she thinks it is because the cheesecake is “light”. In my case, I was more than disappointed about the “white chocolate raspberry truffle”. It was very heavy and I couldn’t find the flavor of the white chocolate and it was more a raspberry jam than fresh raspberries. Moreover, they put some Chantilly cream on my cheesecake and when I tried to take it off, I discovered that the fresh Chantilly was hiding the old one. The first Chantilly cream they put was not fresh and didn’t have a good flavor.
ATMOSPHERE & DECOR
When I first got there for dinner, I thought everything was perfect. First, romantic, dark lighting made a satisfactory atmosphere. Decorations were simple and cozy. The restaurant is always elegantly decorated. There are high ceiling and swanky décor bathed in yellow lights. It makes us feel warm. There are large pillars from the floor to the ceiling. It feels very fancy. Specifically, the view from the restaurant was the best. I could see all of Union Square and the night view which is beautiful. The second time was for lunch. I sat in the balcony, outside of the restaurant. At that time I really enjoyed the sun because the weather was warm and the sun was shining.
The inside chairs have cushions, so it is comfortable. However, the table is not big enough to put dishes on. Moreover, the tables and chairs are fixed, so if someone who sits inside wants to go to the restroom, everyone should stand up for him.
It’s also possible to have a balcony side table. They have those nice heater lamps around every table at night. But, many people complain about uncomfortable chairs in a balcony side. It is made from wood. Those chairs have sunken areas, so it might make us feel uncomfortable.
The restrooms are so small that people always wait and the aisles between tables are so narrow that people can’t pass by a waiter who holds dishes. Moreover, they don’t have a place for people who are waiting for their meal.
The restaurant is clean and neat generally. Especially, the ladies’ restroom is very clean. Everything looked good until an experience I will never forget.
I sat in the balcony for lunch and people who were beside my table just left at that time. As soon as the people were gone, 4-5 pigeons came to the table and ate leftovers with their beaks and they walked over the food and plates. On the plate, there was whipping cream so that the cream was stuck to pigeons’ feet (I took a picture of that). It was very disgusting. Afterward, I realized that they sometimes don’t clean food crumbs or stain on tables enough. If there is a specific threat to public health because of unsanitary conditions like this, you should contact Environmental Health Section of San Francisco Dept. of Public Health at (415) 252-3895.
The Cheesecake Factory restaurant is characterized by its long and multiple-choice menu that the restaurant observes using fresh ingredients to prepare it which makes people pleased and satisfied with not eating a high percentage of preservative and unhealthy food. In spite of this feature, the food is not prepared and cooked with the same proficiency and quality. According to some experiences of my friends and colleagues, I found that cheesecake is the best dish at the restaurant. Actually, it is almost the best Cheesecake in San Francisco for most of them.
The quality and delicacy of the rest of the dishes change from dish to dish, and time to time. For example, one of my classmates went there twice with his friend. In the first time they ordered different kinds of pasta, but when they tried them, they all almost had the same taste. They were not bad, but did not have a distinctive taste for every dish from same category. His second time in the restaurant with other friends was long time after his first one. At that time, they ordered various kinds of pasta, too. Surprisingly, this time every pasta dish has its own special, distinctive, and particular taste. He thinks they changed some chefs which had effects on the quality of their food.
In my opinion, the fame and reputation of a restaurant do not depend on the variety only, but rely more on chefs ability and talent. So, I prefer if the Cheesecake Factory restaurant becomes more careful about the high level talent of their chefs for every category.
PRICES AND PORTIONS
The level of food prices differ from person to person depending on their perspectives on food. Some people think the prices are reasonable compared to the big portion that the restaurant is famous for. Other people reckon and opine that the prices are slightly high comparing to the quality of the food. In general prices are considered about the average if we take into account that dishes are made of fresh ingredients from scratch.
The portions of food are really big especially for person who likes to enjoy a full meal starting with soup and salad, going on to the main dish, and ending with dessert. The portion is big even for one dish for a person, and the person cannot order a half dish because the price will stay the same in spit of the amount that he gets. It happened to me and one of my friend. Even though we asked for half dishes of salad, the waitresses told us the price will not change. We believe that is unfair.
Serving a large amount of food has disadvantages to customers and restaurants. On one hand, restaurants profits will decrease if customers are satiated of eating one dish, so they are going to leave and not order another dishes. On the other hand, customers will get tired and bored of eating too much of the same dish, especially if the leftovers can be affected because of conservation for a long time like salads and some kinds of fish. Keeping balance is the most important point for both customers and restaurants to get what they want and be satisfied.
SERVICE AND STAFF
Service is one of the important elements in choosing a restaurant. The Cheesecake Factory makes me confused. My first time, I was satisfied with their service. All servers greeted us with smile and answered kindly whenever I had some questions in regard to the menu. Sometimes the service spoke to us too much and made us a little bit bothered. They always check customers’ responses carefully about food and service, etc.
Nevertheless, I was disappointed with their service at my second visiting. I went to there for lunch time and sat on the terrace with my friends. As we looked at the menu, we waited to order, but nobody came to us. I think we waited at least 20 minutes. I raised my hand up to call for a server but nobody replied to my call, even though the terrace was not crowded. As I remember, there were just 4 tables with customers of about 30 tables. I was upset and went to the front desk to complain. They explained that servers gave service to their assigned table. Can you imagine? It means they don’t have any responsibility even in same restaurant if the table is not assigned. Anyway, one server came to us and took order with an apology. We tried to keep warm at the table.
Unfortunately, the day was not good. They didn’t care about us for anything! Our glasses were empty but nobody filled ours. We asked someone to fill our water after we endured to the best of our capacity, but then he spilled it by his carelessness.
After we finished this annoying lunch, we wanted to pay. Our dishes were empty totally. Can you guess what happened? Right, nobody came in that time. Didn’t they want to earn money? We waited over and over for checking a bill. After all I asked to server, and he came back to us with our bill 20 minutes later. I never think there was busy at all.
I couldn’t put tips for the server. They made me angry. My friend just wrote a message, your service was terrible, on the bill.
I told another friend my complaint, and she told me her bad experience in the Cheesecake Factory. She ordered a whole cheese cake secretly to celebrate her fiance’s birthday. They served it with little candles, but they just gave them a little ice cream. You know what? It was free celebrating ice cream for people who have birthday! As they realized they missed the order, they wanted to bring it later but she refused, because the party was already finished!
I think I will not go to the Cheesecake Factory any more even if they have an amazing menu.
The staff had a good appearance. I have seen a server who had a tattoo on his arm, but it didn’t affect me. You can see the Cheesecake Factory’s regulations in the website (www.thecheesecakefactory.com) which says no visible tattoos allowed. Most of them looked gentle and neat.
RESERVATIONS AND PARKING
Unlike general restaurants, the Cheesecake Factory restaurants don’t take reservations. They seat guests in the order that guests arrive. It is one of their own regulations which is on their website. However, If you want ‘To Go’, you can call your local branch in advance. In the case of the San Francisco branch, we might wait over an hour to get a table at the peak time. The common area is crowded during lunch hour.
Additionally, it would be better to get there without your car because the San Francisco Cheesecake Factory doesn’t have their own parking lot for guests. If you go there with your car, you can park your car in Union Square Garage which is located near the restaurant but you have to pay a parking fee. The restaurant does not offer parking validation. Therefore, I recommend you use public transportation to get there. There is a very convenient public transportation system in San Francisco.
There is a website for the Cheesecake Factory. We can see the menu and the locations in the US. In case of cheesecake, we can see it with pictures. Moreover, we can buy cheesecakes and gift cards on the website and we can contact them if we have a question or suggestions or comments.
251 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
It is located on the 8th floor of the Macy’s building in the heart of Union Square downtown.
We can see the view of all of Union Square from the restaurant because the place is at the top of Macy’s.
Monday-Thursday from 11am to 11pm.
Friday & Saturday from 11am to 12:30am.
Sunday from 10am to 11pm.
Usually, we have to wait about from 20 minutes to 30 minutes to take a seat. During lunch time, they have a special menu for lunch, so it is better to go during lunch. In addition, it might be more crowded at night than lunch. So I recommend to go there during lunch time. The restaurant is located downtown, so it is easy to find.
In our opinion, despite some issues we could find in this restaurant, we think that the Cheesecake Factory is a good restaurant to try with your friends or your family, where all of you will find a great meal to choose from because of its diverse menu!!