The media is complicit in Gordon's viral-marketing plans. Complimentary cheesecakes accompany press releases announcing grand openings, and Gordon says he maintains a large list of media contacts. [Editor's note: No cheesecake was consumed in the preparation of this summary.]
Gordon also goes out of his way to make an impression on community leaders. Before the recent ribbon-cutting, the company donated $5,000 each to two local charities: Life's Kitchen and Meals on Wheels.
At the end of the day, there's nothing like brand awareness. Gordon estimates that about 80% of Cheesecake Factory customers leave with leftovers. "It doesn't hurt having people walk around with the bags," he says.