California-based Cheesecake Factory Inc. (CAKE) announced that it had opened a Cheesecake Factory restaurant at the Bridgewater Commons in Bridgewater, New Jersey on August 23. The new 8,500 square feet Bridgewater restaurant can accommodate 225 guests. This is the third and last unit opening for this year.
In the first quarter of 2010, the company opened two restaurants in Tucson, Arizona and Newark, Delaware. Cheesecake’s restaurants are primarily located in or near malls and shopping centers. Hence, during the economic downturn, a decline in customer visit to malls negatively affected restaurant usage and same-store sales.
Cheesecake is planning expansion activities for the upcoming years despite a challenging macroeconomic environment. Beyond 2010, the company remains optimistic about unit developments with recent availability of high-quality restaurant sites. Apart from malls, these sites include freestanding and specialty centers, which do not require reimaging of the already-owned models or expansion of malls for business opportunities.
Presently, 12 to 15 new sites are under evaluation as possible candidates for restaurant openings in 2011 or 2012, up from the previous number of 10 to 12.
Cheesecake operates 163 full-service, casual dining restaurants throughout the U.S. in the upscale casual dining segment Incorporatedluding 149 restaurants under The Cheesecake Factory concept; 13 restaurants under the Grand Lux Café concept; and one restaurant under the RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen concept.
Cheesecake’s direct competitors are Brinker International Inc. (EAT) and Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI). Other primary competitors include McDonald’s Corp. (MCD), Yum! Brands Inc. (YUM), and Wendy’s International Inc. (WEN). Most of its peers are more or less on an expansion mode both domestically as well as internationally.
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