C. Task Environment
1. Gluten free options need to be added (O)
The market for gluten free is expected to top $2.6 billion and grow every year through 2015. There is a derived health benefit to gluten free food, as many people believe. The Cheesecake Factory and its staff needs to be trained on the importance of preparing gluten free products and develop specific items that can be safely suggested to the guests who desire or need gluten free products. There is an opportunity for a separate menu that should be developed; the plates should be identified on the main menu. It is very difficult for those with celiac disease to eat out when there are not many options for gluten free restaurants; this gives an opportunity to The Cheesecake Factory to increase their consumer market. 2. Shift away from fine dining (T)
The shift in the market away from fine dining experienced in 2012 will continue in the upcoming years as consumers remain cost conscious. There is still no clear indication as to where the economy in general is heading. Until a change comes consumers will be focused on “Perceived Value”. This shift has helped the Quick Serve Market which has led to an opportunity for them to introduce a higher end product to their menus. Taco Bell and McDonalds, for instance, have reaped the benefit of this market shift; consumers see a greater value for their money. The Cheesecake Factory can continue with a more creative, reasonable priced or multiple portion sizes menu and more attention to the hospitality of their aspects. The company is shifting away from fine dining by placing the restaurants near malls making it more casual to eat there; this can be seen as a threat, as The Cheesecake Factory has been seen as a place to dine on special events, this is slowly deteriorating. 3. The economy will be in focus (T)
The last three quarters of 2012 have been rough for a number of restaurants. The only bright spot has been Quick Serves. 2013 will provide much of the same, especially during the first six months of the year. We still see the industry segment growing, but only 1.3% over inflation. Energy prices and food inflation will be the wild card on how the industry performs. If we see a spike in energy costs due to continued turmoil in the Middle East, fewer discretionary spending dollars will be available for eating out. The effects of the 2012 drought will continue to be seen during the first half of 2013. This will drive the cost of protein and other staples to new heights. This is a threat to The Cheesecake Factory since their biggest problem is comparable store sales- the company reported a comp increase of 2.7% and although this figure is above many of its competitors, the 2.7% is composed of a 1.7% increase in traffic and 1% in checks; but the company had increased menu prices b 1.9% during the final quarter of 2012 which indicates that the average check declined .9%. This is due to the inflation- management stated a continued increase in prices to keep up with inflation. 4. Effort in taking care of the kids (O)
For the last six years, we have stressed the importance of taking care of the kids and improving the menu options for this important age group. The “Gen Y” group is starting to mature and have children. They will not stop eating out because of this. It will be even more important to cater to this group. American Demographics Magazine states that married couples with children spend an average of 44% more at restaurants than those without children. Happy kids mean happy parents. This is an opportunity for The Cheesecake Factory to provide a fun and unique selection of foods for the kids. The company is targeting a female audience that shops at the mall, these consumers will bring along their kids who will want something healthy yet fun for the children. 5. Commodity Prices will result in food inflation (T)
The severe drought of 2012 will continue to affect almost all food costs,...