The Cheesecake Factory will make its much heralded debut in New Mexico on Tuesday, Feb. 23, and it’s coming in with high hopes.
Given the pre-opening anticipation around Albuquerque, the California-based chain — which sees average annual sales of $10.6 million at its restaurants — anticipates a warm reception for its new Duke City location.
Alethea Rowe, the company’s senior director of public relations, said the chain’s Albuquerque general manager has received “effusive” feedback when discussing the restaurant around the community. She also noted that the restaurant received more than 10,000 job applications.
(It ultimately hired about 290 people to staff the 230-seat restaurant and serve its famously large menu — which has more than 250 items.)
“I think every sign would indicate this would be a very strong location for us for sure,” Rowe said during an interview on the patio at the chain’s new Coronado Center location.
An agreement with Albuquerque-based Dee’s Cheesecake Factory had prevented the California chain from expanding into New Mexico for many years. But Dee’s in 2014 announced it had come to new terms with the chain and would close its doors to pave the way for the larger company.
Rowe couldn’t speak in detail about the latest agreement but said it allowed the company — which has 200 restaurants, including locations in all states surrounding New Mexico — to enter what seemed like an obvious market for its brand.
Just how much it expands in the area remains to be seen. While Rowe said there is not a second Albuquerque location in the works yet, she didn’t rule out the possibility.
“We really always take a slow methodical approach to growth, really in any area,” she said. “David Overton, our founder and CEO, likes to say ‘We like to open them and see how people respond, and if they like us, we start looking for the next (location).'”
The Cheesecake Factory is located at 6600 Menaul NE, near the southern entrance to Coronado Center. Starting Feb. 23, it’s open 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday.