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"Insider's Table" @ Cheesecake Factory

Anyone part of the so-called "Insider's Table" at Cheesecake Factory?

What's the deal?

I originally signed up on a lark, and now I've got an invite to taste-test some new menu offerings.

Just wondering what other people thought about this Insider's Table thingamajig.

I sort of shudder that I could some how, in some sort of small insignificant way, determine what middle America considers to be cutting-edge haute cuisine ...

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  1. I think it sounds like fun. How did you sign up?

    5 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          hi this link does not work please -please do you have a new one thank you

          1. re: daflos

            CF has discontinued the program -- I got an email from them a month or two ago advising of the same, and inviting me to take a survey and they'd send me a $5 gift card in return. I did, and got my gift card a couple weeks ago.

      1. jfood's had a tough day and this brought a smileto his lips. what a wonderful idea of getting real people to give market research data to CF. Not for Jfood but he wholeheartedly endorses anything that makes for a better eating experience.

        1. Ipse, you have been given a wonderful chance to make a change. As the result of this marvelous opportunity, Cheesecake Factories nationwide could soon be serving xiao long bao, tendon soup and hand-pulled noodles!

          1 Reply
          1. re: hrhboo

            Actually, with CF it'll probably be like ...

            XLB with guacamole

            Beef tendon soup with Chipotle sauce

            Hand-pulled noodles served in a tostada bowl

          2. Did they make you wait an hour-and-a-half and then call you on a pager to tell you about being selected?

            1. I'm in! Though not too much has come of it yet. I got the info to be able to logon to the website, etc.

              1. I was going to ask if you guys who are doing this were being punished, or lost some sort of bet, but then saw you volunteered. The epitome of the phrase "gluttons for punishment".

                I wont go to Cheesecake Factory if dragged in their after a couple of terrible meals, with if its even possible, worse service.

                6 Replies
                1. re: swsidejim

                  Cheesecake is perfectly good for certain things. I do love their salads, and their chicken lettuce wraps. I also joined the "table" out of curiosity and to put in my two cents.
                  Thats a part of why we are all on this board, no?

                  1. re: swsidejim


                    If you find Cheesecake Factory that terrible, isn't that even more reason to check out Insider's Table? You can do you own small part in improving Cheesecake Factory for those times when you are forced to dine there. Right?

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Im not interested in improving Cheesecake Factory, it doesnt impact me one way or another if they improve or not.. Luckily living in Chicago with all of its great dining destinations, Cheesecake Factory is at the bottom of the list of places to go for most people.

                      I was just having some fun with you folks that signed up.

                    2. re: swsidejim

                      swsidejim, perhaps you could join the Insider's Table, to help improve it to your liking.

                      1. re: starbucksbrew


                        not worth my time, or effort, it would be a total tear down, from menu, to ingredients, to service. All of which I found lacking. I can easily live without ever having to go to Cheesecake Factory again.

                      2. re: swsidejim

                        oops, didn't see that someone suggested that already . . .

                      3. I too just signed up, motivated by this thread, and may soon get a free taste of pumpkin cheesecake. Free is free. Ironically, on the pictured "membership" card on the site, Michael Stern's name appears. Coincidence, or the real Road Food maven? Coincidence, I bet.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: nickdanger

                          I signed up, too, thanks to the mention here. Not that I'm that big of a fan, but I do love free or discounted stuff. Just received coupons for a free pumpkin cheesecake, order of avocado egg rolls, and french toast/belgian waffle.

                          1. re: Emm

                            I signed up awhile ago and am still waiting for the freebies. Wondering if I care anymore.

                            1. re: Emm

                              How did you get your coupons ..through email? I signed up over a week ago and have yet to receieve anything

                              1. re: steakrules85

                                They came by snail mail last week (in a ridiculously overpackaged box, FWIW). I think I had signed up five or six weeks ago. So keep waiting :)

                          2. Yeah it took awhile. I don't know why it is in a big box and not just an envelope. The pumpkin cheesecake time has already passed. The booklet mentions that you should show your card when you first go up the desk, etc. Has anyone used any of this yet?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: leepinleemur

                              The pumpkin cheesecake coupon is actually good until 11/30.

                            2. I like the salads and the cheesecake selections...and as always, I'm down for free samples. Thanks for the link.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: sausagefinger

                                My pumpkin cheesecake coupon also expired at the end of October - in the midst of significant overpackaging (as already noted!).

                                1. re: MaryDC

                                  From the 10,000 emails I'm getting, they seem to have extended the pumpkin cheesecake deadline. Maybe check the website (or call) to be sure.



                                  1. re: KOK

                                    My coupon - which arrived a week or 10 days ago--says valid during the month of October on the front, and lists an expiration date of Nov. 15 in the fine print on the back. The fine print also says "limit one certificate per Insider per month," so I wonder if that means I can't use the November certificate if I use this October one.

                              2. I signed up a few weeks ago and keep getting emails telling me they don't have my mailing address on file. They do! Ugh!

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Gelato_in_Roma

                                  Same thing for me! I went in and checked...yup, my address is there. I sent them an email asking what else they needed and have not yet heard back.

                                  1. re: L_W

                                    I sent an email earlier this week and guess what... no response. It's no big deal really... it just bugs me.

                                    1. re: Gelato_in_Roma

                                      Wow the same thing happened for me too. I received an email saying they didnt have my address but when I check its there. They tell you to click the link in the email to update but theres not link. I thought it was maybe because i set my profile private but I unchecked that box. I sent them an email with my mailing address as well and have yet to hear back.

                                      1. re: steakrules85

                                        I had the same thing happen as well!

                                2. At the Roxy in Hollywood, the worst table is over at the left side of the stage, on the floor by the restroom exit. It's the "worst," because if you sit there, even though you couldn't get any closer to the stage, you're seeing things from an odd perspective (occasionally with monitor speakers between yourself and the performer), the sound isn't balanced for your position (though it's <i>loud</i>, etc.

                                  Back in the day, at least, waitresses would place a "reserved" sign on the table. And, invariably, someone would tip 'em big for the privilege of sitting there instead of the (nonexistent) VIP the table was "reserved" for.

                                  In Cheesecake Factory's case, it looks like a way to bring "insiders" back more frequently than they would under other circumstances. I don't know the answer, but I wonder how much an "Insider" spends on each visit.

                                  1. It looks like they might have heard everyone in terms of the shipping and expired coupons issue. I received an email that said mine was being shipped UPS two-day (I agree that a box is horrendously pointless) and includes coupons for:

                                    - A Sunday brunch entree (valid in December)
                                    - A slice of "off the menu" cheesecake (valid in January)
                                    - An order of Avocado Egg Rolls (valid in February)

                                    I signed up in mid-November. I eat there occasionally... wouldn't hurt to be armed with a coupon. On a side note/rant, I find table service to be generally good, but what's up with the people at the reception area? They're significantly nicer to my boyfriend than me, which is a compliment to my taste, I guess.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: geekyfoodie

                                      All righty... received the ridiculously (RIDICULOUSLY) large box that contained my card, a welcome booklet, and three coupons. They put a huge cardboard frame in a box, so the items took up the top half-inch of a 8 x 8 x 6 box. That's insane! So, I had the fancy CF box, the cardboard frame inside of it, and it was all placed in a regular brown cardboard box for shipping.

                                      Waste much, Cheesecake Factory?

                                      Rant over... I guess I'm going to get myself a slice of mysterious "off the menu" cheesecake. Please don't let it be peppermint.

                                    2. So, by pretending that they care about what you have to say, they get you to buy up to three full meals while you cash in on some cheap coupons (as if you'd wait in line for two hours just to collect a slice of free cheesecake).

                                      Their food may suck, but they sure are slick.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: big o

                                        Gee, thanks for the presumptions. It IS indeed slick, but as for me, I eat there occasionally and a free dessert/appetizer never hurts. So, I'm not blindly going there and spending money just for a freebie when I actually would never set foot in the place.

                                        I never spend two hours in line for anything, as I find there's very little in the world worth wasting that kind of time for. Go at the right time and there's barely a wait. I rarely wait more than 20 minutes for a table.

                                        1. re: geekyfoodie

                                          What's the presumption? Their plan isn't to give away free food to existing repeat customers. While that is certainly going to happen (as in your case), their goal is the goal of everyone else who gives out a coupon: bring in new customers who otherwise wouldn't have bothered stopping by. They've just added a nifty new layer by simultaneously convincing people that their opinions will actually have some bearing on future CF business decisions.

                                          For the record, I wasn't directing my post at you, geeky (I replied to the original post). I was just commenting on the marketing ploy.

                                          1. re: big o

                                            I don't disagree with your point, BigO. The whole idea is rather clever on their part. Sorry, I took it a bit personally because your post had "as if you'd wait in line for two hours just to collect a slice of free cheesecake" and even though you replied to the original, my post made a comment about collecting free cheesecake.

                                            The presumption I was referring to was that your post seemed to snark at the participants being people who blindly do anything or go with anything just to score a freebie (when it isn't, in fact, free... as you pointed out, you'd have to pay for a meal to get the free item). Like I said, I took it personally and wanted to point out that some of us aren't idiots... just a fan of coupons to a place we're going to be at, anyway.

                                            Since we're on the topic, one of my coupons is for Sunday Brunch... and my literal first reaction was, "Why the hell would I go to the Cheesecake Factory for brunch?!" I live in an area filled with great breakfast places/cafes and there's no shortage of good brunch.

                                      2. I'm curious...
                                        Do any of you who have 'joined the club' notice an increase in food related spam?

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Tay

                                          No, I haven't received anything like that.

                                          I didn't get around to using my free cheesecake coupon, but I did wonder if it was good as a takeout item at the bakery.

                                          1. re: Tay

                                            I haven't noticed any increase....

                                            1. re: Tay

                                              I haven't noticed any increase in food related spam, but my spam blocker is set pretty high.

                                            2. For those of you who joined, have you tried presenting the "ID card" when you arrive? Is it even worth the time? I went on Sunday, but decided not to bring the card... felt a little weird using it.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: geekyfoodie

                                                I presented the card once, and the hostess thought it was way cool but had no idea what it was. The manager had no idea what the program was, although they honored my tasting certificate. I mentioned this on the Insiders Table discussion board, and they said the program is only operational in certain areas, not including where I live. I don't think I'll be using the rest of my tasting certificates if it's going to be a big ordeal each time until they are "participating."

                                                1. re: geekyfoodie

                                                  When I used it, it was fairly amusing...waiter treated me like a VIP (calling me by last name) and the manager came over to welcome me. Pretty weird since I'm not into the VIP treatment at all :-)
                                                  That napolean french toast for December was a monster. The waiter said he's only seen one or two people finish it. I only made it about 2/3 of the way through :-P

                                                  Anyone find out what the "off the menu" cheesecakes are this month yet?

                                                2. i signed up for the insider's table, they invited me to try 2 new cheesecakes but I could not make it that night. How was it?

                                                  1. Anyone else get this email? Very annoying and seems like lying based on their other emails about store openings and inviting people in NY, etc.

                                                    Dear Insider,

                                                    In an effort to make sure our guests are receiving all the benefits associated with their membership, we are constantly checking our files to make sure each Insider’s information is up to date. In reviewing your profile we noticed something that we wanted to bring to your attention.
                                                    As you know, the Insider's Table was created for people like you who absolutely love dining at The Cheesecake Factory. It's the first time we've created such a program to find great guests like you, and we're delighted with the response so far. However, at this time, only Cheesecake Factory restaurants in Massachusetts, South Florida, LA County and Orange County, Calif., are a part of the program.
                                                    Although you are a valued member, our records show that your address is outside of these areas. This occurred because either a General Manager from one of our participating restaurants referred you during your travels, or because the endless boundaries of the Internet allowed you to enter the community and sign up.
                                                    Regardless, we’re glad you’re here and value your input! However, we’re concerned that based on where you live, you will not be able to enjoy the Tasting Certificates typically enclosed in a Welcome Kit since our restaurants in your area are not able to accept the certificates at this time. Although you will not be getting these Tasting Certificates, we are sending you an Insider Guide and will continue to provide you with exclusive access to our online community where you will be among the first to find out about Cheesecake Factory events and menu items.
                                                    In 2008, we'll continue to improve the Insider's Table. And, if your area becomes an official part of the program, you'll be the first to know! If you are one of our Insiders who a General Manager recommended – in one of the participating areas – please reply to this email and let us know if that was the case.
                                                    We hope this letter clears up some of the miscommunication you may have experienced with this program. Again, your membership is appreciated, as is your feedback on this initiative.
                                                    Your Friends at The Cheesecake Factory

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: leepinleemur

                                                      I just got that the same thing. I had gone to their site and asked why I did not get my welcome kit yet (they "claimed" they did not have my address) and that is what I got as a reply.

                                                      1. re: leepinleemur

                                                        lol . . . I was just logging on to post the exact same email that I got today. WTH? Why do I want the insider guide if I can't get the free food? ;)

                                                        1. re: leepinleemur

                                                          I just got the same email. What idiots. How can they say they wont accept them in certain locations? I totally agree with swsidejim...we were the ones that have been supporting them!

                                                          1. re: leepinleemur

                                                            I just got the kiss off email too. The last two times I went, the service was abyssmal and the food was less than mediocre - this just seals the deal for me.

                                                            1. re: leepinleemur

                                                              Did they not realize that when they said to tell your friends about it that people have friends across the country and all over the world now? They had multiple opportunities to keep things reined in, such as mentioning on the signup page that the program was only available in those areas, and blew it.

                                                              I just figured out what it is that really rankled my hide about the email, and I just figured it out: They didn't apologize for anything. The entire thing just reneges on their original offer with a smile saying "We like you, really we do!"

                                                              1. re: leepinleemur

                                                                Hmm...I live in Northern California and just the other day I used the coupon for a free slice of off-the-menu cheesecake with no problem. I also never got this email though.

                                                                Maybe just ignore the email and bring the coupons to the restaurant to use anyway? If your CF has a reasonable manager they should honor the coupon.

                                                              2. I signed up this in October. At the end of November I recieved an email saying that my package was all set and needed confirmation on my address. I was excited that finally I was getting my package even though I missed the pumpkin tasting. Today I recieved an email stating that I do not live near locations that have this program.
                                                                "However, at this time, only Cheesecake Factory restaurants in Massachusetts, South Florida, LA County and Orange County, Calif., are a part of the program."

                                                                I think that is very poor management to tell someone that your package is on the way and then 2 months later take it back.

                                                                Did this happen to anyone else?

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: mellymel919

                                                                  The website has this notice:

                                                                  "Please read: Currently, the Insider's Table is only available to guests who live in Massachusetts, South Florida, LA County and Orange County, California. If you do not live in one of these areas, we are unable to grant you access to the Insider's Table at this time. For more information, or to be notified if the Insider's Table comes to your city, please email us at info@insiderstable.com."

                                                                  Yet, account approval was needed to join in the first place. Part of registering was providing an address. So... what happened?

                                                                  I live south of Orange County, but haven't received any emails and I can still log-in. I'm curious to see what the story is behind this.

                                                                  1. re: geekyfoodie

                                                                    I got the same email yesterday and it really tweaked me off. I was unhappy because I had signed up with no problems and now it seems like they are backtracking. I should have never been approved if it was 'out of region.' It sounds to me like the program has blown up in their face for some reason and they are now revising their own policies on the fly. What also bothers me is that I routinely travel to Massachusetts and I was scheduled to be in South Florida in about 2 weeks. I actually eat at CF's out of town more than in town. I'm not sure where I'm eating, but I can tell you where I am not going now!

                                                                2. hilarious.... now CF is making enemies of its handfull of supporters... great marketing plan...

                                                                  sorry, not laughing at you guys, I just think the situation is kind of funny.

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: swsidejim

                                                                    It IS funny. Prior to tossing it into the trash, I just looked at my little booklet--recently mailed to my address in a "non available" area, and it says "Each time you go to the Cheesecake Factory in your area, don't forget to show the Front Desk your insider ID card." What dumbasses!

                                                                    1. re: Emm

                                                                      At least you got SOMETHING. After registering, etc., and writing to the site to find out when my package would arrive, I got nothing. Now I know why, because I live in MD, not the right market I guess for CF to give stuff away. I never saw that website notice. Waste of time. Why am I not surprised?

                                                                      1. re: nickdanger

                                                                        What a joke. Now I know why I never got anything in the mail.
                                                                        When they started spamming me semiregularly, I hit the "unsubscribe" link, and fortunately I haven't heard from them since.

                                                                        1. re: zorra

                                                                          "Ditto!" Same thing happened to me with the "sorry" kiss-off email - I am in Charlotte, NC. I wonder if their managment has heard how pissed off people are about this? Someone should send them the link to this board.

                                                                          1. re: Chocolate Toe

                                                                            I thought I was the only one who who was upset by this was horrible marketing. I, too, signed up with no problem back in Oct. I kept receiving emails saying they didn't have my address on file. I finally just gave up. But now I get this email.. what?? I'm in the wrong area?? Chicago?? If I screwed up something this big in my own job, I'd have it handed to me in a paper bag.

                                                                  2. I finally got my 'kit' in the mail last week with the three coupons. The fine print and the info in the booklet that comes with the coupons say that you don't have to purchase a meal to redeem them. CF just asks that you share the food with someone else to get their opinion.