Oct 3, 2023 - Economy

The cheesecake factor: Why these restaurants can reveal a mall's financial success

Illustration of a slice of cheesecake with an escalator leading to the top where tiny shoppers are walking around

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Call it the cheesecake factor — the presence of a Cheesecake Factory restaurant in a mall is an indicator of the mall's financial health, a new paper all about malls from Moody's Analytics finds.

By the numbers: About 93% of loans backed by malls with a Cheesecake Factory are current on their payments; compare that to around 72% of those without the restaurant.

Zoom out: The presence of certain stores within a mall — like a Lululemon or an Apple store — can be "an unscientific measuring stick for the prospects of one mall over another," writes Matt Reidy, director of CRE economics at Moody's.

  • To wit: "People go to the mall to go to Apple. They don't go to a mall and end up at Apple," Reidy said. He noticed the same pattern for Cheesecake Factory, the chain restaurant known for its enormous menu and, well, all the cheesecakes.
  • Reidy wrote the paper titled "Get In Loser! We're Going Shopping!: Checking in on US Malls," in honor of "Mean Girls" Day, aka Oct. 3 — a day mentioned in the 2004 movie that lives on as a meme to many.

P.S. The mall featured in the movie, Westfield Old Orchard outside of Chicago, does have a Cheesecake Factory.

Go deeper