linked from Cagey Consumer Highlights
Panning the Cheesecake Factory
Here's the way their Jambalaya is described on the menu:
CAJUN JAMBALAYA PASTA
Our most popular seafood dish!
Shrimp and Chicken Sauteed with Onions, Tomato and Peppers
in a Very Spicy Cajun Sauce. All on top of Fresh Linguini.
Also Available over Rice
I'll quote the Star Tribune on my feelings on the Cajun Jambalaya, touted as their "most popular seafood dish":
... The Cajun jambalaya ($15.95) tasted as if some dry hot-spice-mix had been randomly sprinkled over chunks of flavorless chicken and shrimp
I need to clarify a bit what was the problem here...
- The menu item described the Jambalaya as being in a "very spicy" sauce.
- The dish was moderately spicy; someone who was anticipating a very spicy entree might have been disappointed, but this was not an issue for me.
- Let's check out the definition of "sauce" from the Epicurious food dictionary at http://www.epicurious.com/run/fooddictionary/home :
- a thickened, flavored liquid designed to accompany food in order to enhance and bring out its flavor
- The Cheesecake Factory's Cajun Jambalaya that I received had no such "thickened liquid" whatsoever
- When I received this, I didn't really know what to do... to be sure, I didn't recall whether the exact description of the entree had promised a sauce... I wasn't sure Jambalaya had to have a sauce. It was certainly edible, but not especially appetizing.
- I could have sent it back, saying I wanted a different entree altogether.
- I could have sent it back, telling them they didn't know how to prepare Jambalaya?
- Honestly, I didn't have the patience to do either of the above... nor was I exactly feeling irate... this was just a case of an incompetent operation.
- After the meal, I inquired about the lack of a sauce and was advised that the "sauce" referred to on the menu was the "natural juices" of the food.
- Of course, the issue of whether this entree actually had the sauce as described wasn't the fundamental issue... the issue was whether the food prepared was reasonably appealing. Although this is subjective, it is clear to me that the food I received was not appealing, and would generally not be appealing to someone who was familiar with typical Jambalaya dishes.
- Nor is it the case that this was simply a "different" way to prepare Jambalaya.
- Not only was there no sauce to speak of, but the rice had not absorbed any of the juices during cooking... it was just the pile of meat and vegetables dumped on top of white rice. What's the point?
- They claim: "Our most popular seafood dish!"
- Certainly, the Jambalaya I received would not be very popular.
- The above statement might represent a self-fulfilling prophecy... if they tell people "You've got to try this", many people will try it.
- IMO, either this claim is a lie or I received it improperly prepared.
I want to make it clear that my interaction with restaurant personnel was courteous. Since I had some Jambalaya left over, they offered to make some sauce to take with me to go along with the jambalaya.
I accepted this offer, but this really misses the point: the jambalaya as prepared was not appealing to me and it is unlikely that it would have been appealing to most people who would order it.
Here are my demands:
- Cheesecake Factory must first determine whether or not the dish I received was properly prepared.
- If it was prepared improperly, they owe me a dinner.
- If it was prepared properly, they must not make false or unsupported claims:
- They must not make unsubstantiated claims about the popularity of any menu item
- The basis for a claim that an item is "popular" or any similar claim must be that customers liked the item it after ordering and consuming the product in the context in which it is offered on the menu (i.e. not offered as a sample or gratis)
- They must accurately describe all entrees; in the case of the jambalaya, they must make clear that there is no sauce as such, and that the rice (if it is ordered with rice) will not have been cooked in with the jambalaya and hence will not have absorbed any significant flavor from the jambalaya.
the BBB pans the Cheesecake Factory too
The Better Business Bureau doesn't actually rate the quality of the Cheesecake Factory's food. But as of the date of this writing, the Cheesecake Factory's headquarters and at least one its restaurants have received unsatisfactory ratings:
In the interest of fairness, here is the Cheesecake Factory Response .
You must register before editing pages or using other extended features on this TWiki system.
Revision r1.5 - 25 May 2004 - 16:00 by EliMantel
Copyright © 2000-2005 by the contributing authors.
All material on this collaboration tool is the property of the contributing authors. Collect email addresses here.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding TWiki? Send feedback.