Ups and Downs at The Cheesecake Factory

toddler in restaurant
Photo by RanaAurora
It was Sunday afternoon. My husband had been out of town all weekend, and I was tired from taking care of my two children who wake before the clock strikes 6 a.m.

Me cooking dinner wasn't going to happen, so when he got home, we all headed out to our local Cheesecake Factory -- a fairly quick, easy, and kid-friendly place that serves alcohol (the most important criteria on my list that night).

When we were called to the hostess stand, they asked if we needed a kids' menu. A kids' menu? At The Cheesecake Factory?



From what I gather, it was added some time last year, but I had never heard this welcome news. It has been one of my biggest complaints about the chain for years -- I don't want to order four pounds of chicken nuggets for my 2-year-old, thank you. And frankly, it pissed me off that they made you because there was no kids' menu.

But now there is, and it's a pretty good one that contains your standard kid stuff (mac and cheese, corn dogs, pizza, etc.) at a decent price. Nice going, Cheesecake Factory.

Unfortunately, the rest of our dinner -- or lack thereof, in my case -- wasn't full of such good news.

From all the plentiful pages in the menu, I chose a chicken quesadilla. Our food came in a reasonable amount of time, but I quickly noticed mine was missing the chicken.

Not willing to give up my protein, I let the waiter know of the mistake and asked if he could bring one with chicken. No problem, mistakes happen.

My family started in on their meals ... and finished them. At least 20 minutes passed (maybe more, time flies when you're trying to keep a 15-month-old from destroying the place), and my quesadilla was nowhere to be seen.

Really annoyed and really hungry now, I flagged down our waiter. He apologized; a manager came over and offered soup, salad, or cheesecake. I just wanted my quesadilla. I've made plenty of chicken quesadillas; they don't take that long!

At this point, my children had actually been good (in a restaurant!) for more than an hour, but the baby was starting to show signs of losing it.

"Just box it up," I told them, irritated, but not yet irate.

You'd think that after all this, that quesadilla would've flown out of the kitchen, right? But NO, it took seriously about another 10 minutes and another call to the manager before I even got my boxed-up dinner that I had to eat cold at home.

I'm a pretty easy customer generally; I understand mistakes and empathize with a server who has to deal with rude customers. But this, well, this left me fuming.

Fortunately, the manager did comp our entire meal, which I appreciated and will make me willing to go back again ... at some point. But I would've rather enjoyed eating dinner with my family.

What are some of your best and worst dining experiences?

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