The Cheesecake Factory in Waikiki reopened its doors on Monday,
February 25, after three weeks of being closed.
Employees and guests alike were delighted when the popular chain
announced its completed renovation and that it would be open in time for lunch.
A kitchen fire started early Feburary 1, when a gas leak caused a fryer
to explode and damaged the kitchen and ventilation ducts. Smoke from the fire damaged the dining area
of the restaurant as well as surrounding businesses in the Royal Hawaiian
Center. The fire caused around $2.5
million in damages, investigators say.
Despite the lack of business,
The Cheesecake Factory opted to pay their workers their full wages for the
duration of the renovation according to General Manager Erica Vance.
"It was a
really serious situation for a lot of them. And so one of the first things that we did
was started having calls with our corporate center and saying 'what can we do
for them?'" said Vance. "And we decided that we were going to fully
compensate them the entire time we were closed."
A speedy renovation took place with the help of crews from both The
Cheesecake Factory and the Royal Hawaiian Center. Getting the restaurant back on its feet as
quickly as possible was a high priority.
Even after all the stress and construction, the
staff at The Cheesecake Factory is able to see the silver lining. "This has been one of those situations
you just don't want to happen," said Vance. "But there's always a hidden blessing in
it. We've definitely come together as a
family and as an ‘ohana."