The Surprising Way Cheesecake Factory Waiters Learn The Menu

It's not often that you can find a restaurant with the ability to satisfy taco, pasta, fish, and burger cravings all on the same night, but then again, not every restaurant is The Cheesecake Factory. Founded in 1978, it has become famous for far more than its namesake thanks to the cheesecake chain's massive menu that, at 21 pages, might be lengthier than some of the books you'll find at your local library (via TODAY). Within those pages is a myriad of drinks, apps, and entrées from a variety of different cuisines, as well as nearly three dozen different flavors of cheesecake, which combine to give customers a total of 250 different items to choose from.

With such a wide range of options, we'll admit that figuring out what to order from The Cheesecake Factory could be a bit overwhelming. However, if choosing between one of the restaurant's Glamburgers or its beloved Chicken Madeira is the toughest dilemma you'll face when grabbing a meal at the chain, things can't really be that bad, right? At least you'll only have to remember the name of a single dish – the one you're ordering – rather than all 200-plus items and their details like The Cheesecake Factory's waiters are required to do. How do they do that, anyway? According to one former employee, a surprising method that you probably used in high school helps CF servers tackle the task.

Cheesecake Factory waiters use flashcards to memorize items

Having to learn the entire Cheesecake Factory menu may seem like a scary task, which is made possible thanks to one particularly helpful tool. As one former server explained to Insider, front-of-house staff go through a "rigorous" two-week training program. A full week is solely dedicated to learning all 250 Cheesecake Factory menu items and their details down to the allergens they contain. "The company provided me with a giant set of flashcards to help you memorize the dishes' looks, names, and descriptions," the employee shared, also revealing that they got to taste a number of dishes during their lunch breaks throughout the training program as well. 

At the end of the week, menu knowledge is tested through a series of written and verbal tests – though some have admitted that even after the conclusion of their training, they're not completely versed in the restaurant's 21-page book of offerings. "It took me a couple of months to be comfortable with the menu," said another server on Reddit who also admitted that they still had some queries even after a year of employment.

And while the training and memorizing may sound intense, it could be worth it for those looking to make the restaurant industry their career. The former server explained in their Insider piece that The Cheesecake Factory where they worked often promoted from within for management positions, meaning there was plenty of room for growth.