The offer of a free slice of cheesecake was too much for Americans to resist.
The Cheesecake Factory’s 40th anniversary offer of free cheesecake for 40,000 customers Wednesday overwhelmed both the restaurants and delivery partner DoorDash, according to customers on social media, police and some of the restaurants themselves.
In Arlington County, Virginia, police and medics responded to the restaurant in Clarendon where things “got out of control,” ARLnow.com reported. There was “an unruly crowd of delivery drivers inside the restaurant, trying to pick up orders, and a rash of double parking around the Clarendon area.” One person “refused police commands to leave the restaurant and a struggle with officers ensued.” That person was arrested and is expected to be charged with disorderly conduct, a police spokeswoman said.
Mobs of #DoorDashers wait for hours to deliver free cheesecake as part of a @Cheesecake Factory & @DoorDash #freecheesecake promo. Not sure what kind of planning went into this but the organization & execution can be safely labeled as a complete clusterf*. All parties unhappy. pic.twitter.com/8wK0WuTUXr
— k-lala (@mybestestme) December 5, 2018
One person on Twitter intimated the crowd in this Washington, D.C., suburb was made worse by the fact that federal workers were given Wednesday off for the state funeral for President George H.W. Bush:
free cheesecake + a federal workers' holiday = chaos in Clarendon https://t.co/wntGPNxsUm
— free pizza caucus (@CarrieMPruett) December 5, 2018
Around 1:30 p.m. East Coast time, DoorDash announced that the promotion had been extended to 60,000 slices but didn’t address the issues of crowds and customer expectations:
And just like that, all free slices in eastern standard time locations have been ordered! We may be out of free slices on the east coast, but you can still enjoy a $0 delivery fee on @Cheesecake orders now through Tuesday Terms: https://t.co/u61QHYJDmx pic.twitter.com/oN0YlqT5pe
— DoorDash (@DoorDash) December 5, 2018
On the West Coast, at 1:30 p.m., two hours after the offer went into effect, the free-cheesecake page had been pulled down from the Cheesecake Factory homepage and those who tried to order their free slice via DoorDash were sent a message that said: “Sorry, you cannot redeem this promotion. This promotion has expired.”
At 2 p.m. in San Jose, an employee at the Cheesecake Factory at the Westfield Valley Fair mall reported that the promotion had ended but that the line of DoorDash drivers waiting to pick up orders was “out the door and down the street” along Stevens Creek Boulevard.
The employee said those who had requested free slices earlier “most likely” would get theirs. Those still trying to order via the DoorDash site would be be offered free delivery on meals and desserts, the employee said. That offer extends through Dec.11.
Free cheesecake offer results in chaos, long waits