Engaging Digital Solutions Build a Recipe for Success for The Cheesecake Factory
With 150 restaurants packed at mealtimes and annual revenue exceeding $1.4 billion, The Cheesecake Factory never needed to do any type of promotion or advertising. But in 2007, restaurants began to experience soft sales. The company hired its first CMO and retained Ansira to help regain brand momentum.
Ansira insights helped transform The Cheesecake Factory's online presence from informational to interactive. A full-year social engagement calendar was created to build the Brand's fan base, strengthen customer relationships and increase visit frequency. We avoided one-off programs and created "brand interactions" that meaningfully involved people with TCF and its unique menu items.
In one instance, we used social media and a microsite to encourage customers to create their own new cheesecake recipe. Participants could choose among an array of ingredients for the crust, batter, flavor swirl and topping. They were also asked to create an inventive name and special description. Our interactive chefs could also upload audio and video to enhance their presentation.
Cheesecake lovers all across the country voted "Stephanie's Ultimate Red Velvet Cheesecake" the winning recipe. TCF put Stephanie's cake on the menu and it quickly became the best-selling cheesecake in its history. And talk about word of mouth … just Google Stephanie's Ultimate Red Velvet Cheesecake and count the sites where fans are sharing pictures of her cheesecake and recipe.
From this digital effort and many more like it, the results are impressive:
- Same-store sales growth moved from the bottom to the top of the casual dining segment
- Over $10 million in sales were generated from Ansira's initial digital program
- The Restaurant's customer database grew by 65% and Facebook fan growth was #1 in the restaurant category