🍰 The Cheesecake Factory’s moneymaker

{date(‘MMMM dd, yyyy’,time(“now”))}
The Hustle

When most of the world screeched to a halt in 2020, some founders set out to launch new businesses.

If you’re an entrepreneur who started a company during the pandemic, we’d love to know what motivated you. Fill out our brief survey here.

Today’s rundown:

  • Cheesecake in bed: How delivery cheesecake saved The Cheesecake Factory.
  • Google health: Inside the search giant’s big new bet.
  • Digits: New York sand, slow chargers, and more.
  • Around the web: Tips to build patience, a 17-pound potato, and more.

Let’s do it.

The Big Idea
The Cheesecake Factory signage

The pandemic almost killed The Cheesecake Factory. Then delivery cheesecake took off.

Few restaurants are as operationally complex as The Cheesecake Factory. Its 500-page employee training manual includes:

  • 1 full page on handling strawberries
  • 12 steps for hot tea service
  • 42 words to use when describing cheesecake (e.g., “velvety,” “drizzled,” “yum-a-licious”)

That complexity extends to its physical locations, which range from 5k to 21k square feet and employ ~170 workers each.

At that scale, shutting down indoor dining was a bit of a problem

In March 2020, the chain furloughed 41k workers and cut pay for executives and board members by 20%. At one point, the SEC reported the firm was losing ~$6m per week.

Then, like many restaurants, Cheesecake Factory embraced takeout. It transformed the tables in its cavernous dining rooms into delivery assembly lines and converted parking spaces into pickup locations.

The chain also ramped up advertising by 60% compared to 2019 to attract to-go diners, and partnered with DoorDash for delivery orders.

As a result, delivery cheesecake took off:

  • The chain’s takeout operation is firing to the tune of $3m+ per location annually
  • Cheesecake is making up a higher percentage of sales than pre-pandemic
  • Q2 same-store sales are up 7.8% from 2019

But it hasn’t been a piece of cake

The chain’s 21-page menu (you read that right) paired with its short staff has made for a chaotic work environment — and, at some locations, floor-to-ceiling stacks of cheesecake.

That may sound amazing as a diner, but not so much for employees. The chain has now simplified its application process to attract more workers.

Thankfully, The Cheesecake Factory plans to operate a dine-in/takeout hybrid — meaning late-night cheesecake delivery isn’t going anywhere.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send as email to a friend View on our website

Night moves: Target, Walmart, and Home Depot announced plans to move more cargo at night to free up space at ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach. #ecommerce-retail

Useful emissions: Chinese scientists discovered how to convert industrial emissions into animal feed, reducing the country’s reliance on raw materials like soybeans. #clean-energy

Robot chicken: Miso Robotics launched Flippy Wings, a robot that automates frying chicken wings, and is already being tested by Buffalo Wild Wings. #emerging-tech

New gaming tokens: Mythical Games, a platform building NFT-powered games, raised $150m at a $1.25B. #fintech-crypto

So many options: Following reports that TikTok influencers are taking customization to the extreme, Starbucks claimed there are 170k+ ways baristas can customize drinks. #big-tech

My First Million: Ariel Helwani explained the secret to making it as a sports journalist. #mfm

Elon’s poll: Trends’ Ethan Brooks broke down the hidden reasons why Elon Musk’s Twitter poll is genius. #hustle-picks

AI + Health
protein folding

If you’ve never seen protein folding…well here it is (Source: DeepMind)

Google’s newest bet: AI-powered drug discovery

Back in 2015, Google rebranded as Alphabet Inc.

The official reason behind the move: Alphabet leadership wanted to create a holding company that would house its various ambitions (AKA “Berkshire Hathaway for tech”).

The reality is that “Google” — which houses the search engine, YouTube, Gmail, Workspaces, and Maps — still makes 80%+ of Alphabet revenue.

Could a healthcare bet change that?

Last week, Alphabet announced the formation of Isomorphic Laboratories, per The Verge. The new company is attacking a big problem with huge potential: AI-powered drug discovery.

The technology that underpins the company is from Alphabet’s AI arm, DeepMind, which recently made headlines by uncovering — and making freely available — hundreds of millions of AI-discovered protein structures.

Why is this important?

Proteins are long molecules that rebuild human tissue and fight disease. Their function is dictated by their shape, and DeepMind has seemingly cracked the code.

According to BCC Research, the market for drug discovery technology will be worth $110B by 2025. Isomorphic Laboratories is Alphabet’s play to own that market.

Whether it succeeds or not, we refuse to ever refer to Google as “Alphabet.”

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send as email to a friend View on our website
Free Resource

5 templates for robust marketing campaigns

How content kings keep up a no-miss cadence:

It starts with the right people using the right templates. So we’re dropping a few that are customizable, recyclable, and made for collaboration.

Jotform and HubSpot share some of the go-to planning resources used by their marketing specialists in this blog post.

Templates that make optimization and alignment easy:

  • Marketing planning (playbook builder)
  • Social media calendar
  • Editorial content calendar
  • PR tracking spreadsheet
  • All-inclusive email marketing

We think your marketers will love these. They’re just pretty to look at.

5 no-brainer marketing templates →

Source: Kena Betancur / Getty Images

By the numbers: New York sand, slow chargers, and irritating $300m chipmunks

1) You probably don’t think of New York as a sandy place. But over the last decade, the state received 120m cubic yards of sand (8% of the US total) to replenish its eroded beaches. Much of it is for an 80-mile, $1.5B project in the Hamptons.

2) We’re charging up, slowly. In Q1 2021, the US added 4,566 public electric chargers, bringing the total to 100,709. Problem is, most were level 2 chargers, which take 8-10 hours to fully charge a vehicle.

3) Bagdasarian Productions, owner of the incredibly irritating Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise, is looking to sell the rights for $300m. For reference, Netflix just acquired the entire Roald Dahl catalog (i.e., “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “James and the Giant Peach,” “Matilda”) for $700m+.

4)  This isn’t a good flex. Between 2016-2019, Amazon Flex secretly kept $60m worth of 140k drivers’ tips, with 19,980 drivers losing out on at least $600. Now the FTC is sending drivers reimbursements, with an average payment of $422.

5) Folks paid $500 a ticket to watch a cadaver get dissected at an Oddities and Curiosities Expo at a Marriott in Portland, Oregon. The body, belonging to WWII veteran David Saunders, was supposed to be used for medical research according to his widow. Now, his remains are being tracked down to be returned.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send as email to a friend View on our website

💡 On this day: In 1895, German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered X-rays while testing if cathode rays could pass through glass.

✏️ Useful: SetPose allows you to create 3D model references in a variety of poses for figure drawing and other uses. It’s free, too!

💰 That’s interesting: Over ~30 years, people have found 130+ gold coins in an English field, likely buried ~600 AD.

🥔 Wait, what: A New Zealand couple may have grown the largest potato on record at 17.4 pounds. Also, its name is Doug.

😌 How to: Lines, traffic, public transit — all places we can become irritated by inconveniences. Here’s a guide to building patience.

🐿️ Aww: And finally, a squirrel who likes to hold hands.

Meme of the day
Cheesecake Factory meme

Source: Twitter

The Hustle Recommends

List: Frank Ocean’s 100 Favorite Films

Unsurprisingly, Frank Ocean has incredible taste. His list of favorite films spans genres, styles, and decades, and is great inspiration if your current watchlist feels stale.


How did you like today’s email?

Get the 5-minute roundup you’ll actually read in your inbox​

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less​


How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

We’re shooting our shot…

Start your mornings with The Daily.

Get the freshly baked 5-minute newsletter every day except Saturdays.

It’s filled with the most interesting stories on business, tech, and the internet.

And written for innovators of every industry. Sign up for the news that slaps.

If you don’t like it, unsubscribe any time. Privacy policy.

[email-submission-form redirect-to-home="true" button-text="Join Free" include-trends-opt-in="true" id="main-signup-form" fail-url="" success-url="https://thehustle.co/signup" default-source="thehustleco" default-campaign="home"]
<script type="text/javascript"> var onloadCallback = function() { grecaptcha.render('verify-your-humanity', { 'sitekey' : '6LdddrcZAAAAALyttpvOqiwQGwq5BNhgDz4tMQGE' }); }; function getCookieValue(a) { var b = document.cookie.match('(^|[^;]+)\\s*' + a + '\\s*=\\s*([^;]+)'); return b ? atob(decodeURIComponent(b.pop())) : ''; } function setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, searchParams, className, utmName, cookieName, defaultValue) { var el = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName(className)[0]; var existingVal = el.getAttribute('value'); var newVal = searchParams.get(utmName) || getCookieValue(cookieName); if ((existingVal == null || existingVal == '' || existingVal == defaultValue) && (newVal != null && newVal != '')) { el.setAttribute('value', newVal); } } function setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm( wrappingDiv, searchParams, className, utmName, defaultValue ) { var el = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName(className)[0]; if (el != null) { var existingVal = el.getAttribute("value"); var newVal = searchParams.get(utmName); if (newVal != null && newVal != "") { el.setAttribute("value", newVal); } } } function initForm() { var wrappingDivs = document.getElementsByClassName('email-submission'); wrappingDivs.forEach(wrappingDiv => { var sp = new URLSearchParams(window.location.search); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-source', 'utm_source', 'funnel_source', 'thehustleco'); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-campaign', 'utm_campaign', 'funnel_campaign', 'home'); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-medium', 'utm_medium', 'funnel_medium', ''); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-referral', 'ref', 'funnel_referral', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-a', 'a', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-c', 'c', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-o', 'o', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-oc', 'oc', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-e', 'e', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-f', 'f', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-r', 'r', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-t', 't', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s1', 's1', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s2', 's2', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s3', 's3', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s4', 's4', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s5', 's5', ''); var error_message = getCookieValue('funnel_error_message'); if (error_message && error_message.trim() != '') { var error = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName('funnel-error')[0]; var prev_email = getCookieValue('funnel_email'); error_message = prev_email + " is not valid. Please try again"; error.innerHTML = error_message; error.style = ''; } }); if (false) { initCaptchaFormV2(); } } function initCaptchaFormV2() { var v3RecaptchaResponseEl = document.getElementById('recaptcha-response-v3'); v3RecaptchaResponseEl.parentNode.removeChild(v3RecaptchaResponseEl); var wrappingDiv = document.getElementById('main-signup-form'); var subForm = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName('email-submission')[0]; var captchaVersion = document.createElement('input'); captchaVersion.class = 'g-recaptcha hidden-input'; captchaVersion.type = 'hidden'; captchaVersion.name = 'g-recaptcha-response-v2'; captchaVersion.value = 'true'; subForm.appendChild(captchaVersion); var captchaEl = document.createElement('div'); captchaEl.id = 'verify-your-humanity'; subForm.appendChild(captchaEl); var captchaApiScriptEl = document.createElement('script'); captchaApiScriptEl.src = 'https://www.recaptcha.net/recaptcha/api.js?onload=onloadCallback&render=explicit'; captchaApiScriptEl.async = true; captchaApiScriptEl.defer = true; document.head.appendChild(captchaApiScriptEl); } function appendCheckboxes() { var optInDivs = document.querySelectorAll('.trends-opt-in'); optInDivs.forEach(el => { if (el.getElementsByClassName('trends-opt-in-checkbox').length < 1) { var checkbox = document.createElement('input'); checkbox.setAttribute('class', 'trends-opt-in-checkbox'); checkbox.setAttribute('type', 'checkbox'); checkbox.setAttribute('name', 'trends_opt_in'); var label = document.createElement('label'); label.setAttribute('class', 'trends-opt-in-text'); label.textContent = "Yes, I'd like to receive updates on market opportunities before they explode from Trends by The Hustle"; el.appendChild(checkbox); el.appendChild(label); checkbox.click(); } }) } window.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', (event) => { var funnel_email_cookie = getCookieValue('funnel_email'); if ( (true) && (funnel_email_cookie != null && funnel_email_cookie != '') ) { window.location.replace('/home'); } initForm(); if (true) { appendCheckboxes(); } }); </script> <div class="email-signup" id=main-signup-form> <div class="funnel-error" style="display:none;"></div> <form class="email-submission" action="https://cms.thehustle.co/api/v1/contacts/wordpress_create" method="post" autocomplete="email"> <div class="email-form-wrap"> <input class="funnel-source hidden-input" type="hidden" name="source" value="thehustleco"> <input class="funnel-campaign hidden-input" type="hidden" name="campaign" value="home"> <input class="funnel-medium hidden-input" type="hidden" name="medium" value=""> <input class="funnel-referral hidden-input" type="hidden" name="referral_code"> <input class="funnel-fail-url hidden-input" type="hidden" name="fail_url" value=""> <input class="funnel-a hidden-input" type="hidden" name="a" value=""> <input class="funnel-c hidden-input" type="hidden" name="c" value=""> <input class="funnel-o hidden-input" type="hidden" name="o" value=""> <input class="funnel-oc hidden-input" type="hidden" name="oc" value=""> <input class="funnel-e hidden-input" type="hidden" name="e" value=""> <input class="funnel-f hidden-input" type="hidden" name="f" value=""> <input class="funnel-r hidden-input" type="hidden" name="r" value=""> <input class="funnel-t hidden-input" type="hidden" name="t" value=""> <input class="funnel-s1 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s1" value=""> <input class="funnel-s2 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s2" value=""> <input class="funnel-s3 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s3" value=""> <input class="funnel-s4 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s4" value=""> <input class="funnel-s5 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s5" value=""> <input class="funnel-success-url hidden-input" type="hidden" name="success_url" value="https://thehustle.co/signup"> <input id="recaptcha-response-v3" class="g-recaptcha hidden-input" type="hidden" name="g-recaptcha-response" value=""> <input class="signup-email" type="email" name="email" placeholder="Your email address" required autocomplete="email"> <input class="email-submit" type="submit" value="Join Free"> </div> <div class="trends-opt-in"></div> <div submit-success> <template type="amp-mustache"> <p class="c-message c-message--success">Thank you for subscribing.</p> </template> </div> <div submit-error> <template type="amp-mustache"> <p class="c-message c-message--failed">Your submission failed. Please try again!</p> </template> </div> </form> </div>