The Real Reason The Cheesecake Factory On The Big Bang Theory Looks So Different

Fans of the now-finito "The Big Bang Theory" know that there are a few regular spots that the characters prefer. Of course, there's Caltech, where the group of friends and roomies work. But the most frequently visited non-apartment sets include the comic book store and The Cheesecake Factory. Penny (played by Kaley Cuoco) worked at the restaurant chain for multiple seasons, and even after Penny quit to pursue her acting career, she still visited The Cheesecake Factory as a customer, along with the rest of the brainy gang. The location was also responsible for bringing two characters together, both in love and friendship, per Screen Rant. Without The Cheesecake Factory, audiences may never have been treated to the blossoming relationship between Penny and Leonard, portrayed by Johnny Galecki.

But, if you've ever darkened the door of The Cheesecake Factory in the world, you already know that "The Big Bang Theory's" fictional version of the restaurant is nothing like reality. Instead of a mid-scale restaurant, Penny's version of the chain looks more like a cross between a diner and the Irish pub, Bennigan's. Then, there's also the issue of staff uniforms. You'd be hard-pressed to find servers wearing Penny's uniform get-up, complete with a blue skirt, and weird yellow knit vest over a ruffled white shirt. For a show that's rooted in logic, facts, and, obviously, science, it's quite strange to see such great disparity. So, what's the deal? 

The Cheesecake Factory's relationship with The Big Bang Theory

The Cheesecake Factory is mentioned dozens, if not hundreds of times, throughout "The Big Bang Theory's" 12-season run. We're sure the restaurant loved the free advertising and publicity. But the truth is, there wasn't a business agreement between the restaurant and show. In fact, an unidentified spokeswoman for the chain, who was interviewed by the StarTribune, confirmed to the outlet that there were no arrangements the dining spot made with the popular CBS sitcom. However, she shared that The Cheesecake Factory is "really pleased" to be highlighted in the series. 

Indeed, the chain's marketing strategy includes a modest advertising budget when compared with other similarly-branded restaurants. According to Market Realist, instead of going big and glossy with commercials, The Cheesecake Factory relies on word of mouth and social media to attract new customers and keep existing ones coming in. And really, there's no better way to get buzz than by repeated mentions on a long-running, hit television show that's now in syndication. It's not as if Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) trashes the chain during any scenes, so why not? Besides, we get to live out our Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake dreams vicariously through the cast, with some laughs, scientific facts, and heartwarming moments thrown into the mix. Seems like a win-win strategy to us.