While walking into Orland Park’s latest addition to its dining scene Friday night, diners were given instructions.
Order entrees and an appetizer from specific menus, ask the server a specific question about take out service and pay attention to how knowledgeable the servers are on the roughly 250 menu items available, we were told.
Test lunches and dinners were held Friday and Saturday at the new Cheesecake Factory, on the west side of Orland Square Mall next to Macy’s, as part of the lead up to the restaurant’s opening on Wednesday at 11 a.m.
“We have 270 staff members for the Orland Park location, and depending on the position, some have been in training for about the last three weeks,” said Alethea Rowe, senior director of public relations and brand management for the Calabasas, Calif.-based chain. “On the final test day (on Sunday), they have to get a 90 percent or better.”
Achieving that score isn’t a small feat with the extensive food, drink and dessert menus available. Preparation for all the items also is a sizable effort, as the restaurant produces a vast majority of its items by scratch in house, Howe said.
“Our prep kitchen is larger than the main kitchen, which is a unique feature compared to other casual dining restaurants,” Rowe said.
The restaurant will be the first full sit-down establishment in Orland Sqaure, since Ruby Tuesday closed in 2011.
While slightly smaller than most of the chain’s 159 restaurants across the country, the Orland Square restaurant features a unique aspect with an indoor patio area in the mall proper, along with an outdoor patio for warmer times.
Each year, the restaurant picks a cheesecake where 25 cents from every slice sold goes to the charity, Rowe said. This year’s cheesecake is Oreo Dream Extreme, until summer 2013. The partnership has led to about $2.7 million donated from the restaurant since it began, Rowe said.
“The Chicago area has really been wonderful to us for many years,” Rowe said. “And we’re happy now to be in Orland Park.”
Cheesecake Factory is now offering a card for a free cheesecake slice for every $25 bought in gift cards.
From Wednesday’s opening and on, the restaurant will be open during the following hours:
- Mon.-Thurs: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
- Fri.-Sat.: 11 a.m.-midnight
- Sun: 10 a.m.-11 p.m. (brunch served from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.)
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