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David M. Overton Quotes

David OvertonDavid M. Overton quotes: lessons from a great American success story.

“The recipe for success: break all the rules.”

Success and start ups involve intelligence, boldness, creativeness and persistence.”

“Necessity is the mother of all invention.”

“If one dream doesn’t work out, the next one may very well.  The key is to have the courage to commit yourself in pursuit of your dreams as I did.”

“Focus on people.  You have to devote resources to training, from the cooks to customer service.  In this business, it’s all location, location, location.  But once you grow, it’s all people, people, people.”

“Let some things go.  Don’t limit your business for the sake of control.  Whether building our infrastructure or thinking about growth, I focused on allowing us to be as successful as we could be, not trying to control everything.”

“Prevent copycats.”

“We believe in treating people right and giving to people everyday.”

“My main ingredient for success: keeping employees happy.”

“We have tried to hire quality people, caring people, passionate people throughout the years.  I think that really brings out the best in everyone.”

“Training and staff recognition are key.”

“Hiring employees that share the same values has helped the company achieve cultural harmony and alignment.”

“Fostering employee trust and engagement is crucial.  Those who help lead the company are tasked with having a caring attitude towards their employees.”

“Treat them like you would treat yourself, always respectful and understanding that you’re a family.”

“Camaraderie and teamwork also play a large part in keeping employees satisfied at work.”

“Cheesecake Factory also has a recognition program called ‘Wow Stories.’  With this initiative, tales of customer service are circulated company-wide so that the entire company can benefit from those lessons.”

“We are always looking for how to do more for the staff and how to thank them.”

“This business was built on the step method where you just take a step forward.  The whole thing was do the best you can every day, taking care of people and continuing to move forward.”

“We break all the rules and kind of do the impossible.  It’s that dedication and hard work with great service in a casual environment that made us a success.”

“When I was growing up in the 1950s, my father managed retail stores in Detroit.  My mother found a recipe for cheesecake and made one for my father’s boss.  He liked it so much that he asked if she could make 12 cheesecakes that he could give to friends as Christmas gifts.  That gave her the idea of going into business.  So she made cheesecakes in the basement during the day, and in the evening my father delivered them to two restaurants in town.  I got a penny per box for folding the cake boxes.”

“I possessed the traits of being driven and hard working as I was growing up.”

“I loved music, and from the time I was 15, I played drums and was in a band that made money.  In 1967, after college, I moved to San Francisco for the music scene.  I went to law school in San Francisco, but I dropped out because I wanted to pursue music.  I played until I was 27.  My parents wanted to live closer to me, and since Los Angeles was bigger than San Francisco, I convinced them that there was an opportunity there for their cheesecake.  So in 1972 they sold their house, drove across the country with my sister, and started a small wholesale cheesecake business.”

“When I realized I wasn’t going to be a rock star, I moved to L.A. to help.  That’s when I joined my parents in L.A. to build their cheesecake business.  It was 1975, and we had the Cadillac of cheesecakes, but the business wasn’t progressing fast enough.  I thought if we opened a restaurant, it would help sell the cheesecake.  I chose Beverly Hills for our first location to give the cake the reputation it deserved.”

“Beverly Hills already had upscale dining, so we developed a menu of casual fare around the cakes.  I didn’t want to worry about a chef walking out on me, so I made up the first menu with things that were simple enough to cook myself, like macaroni and cheese.  We opened on February 25, 1978, with no sign or grand opening.”

“After five years we opened three more restaurants in California and one in Washington, D.C.  Our investors were making a lot of money, and my parents were able to semi-retire.  In September of 1992 we went public.”

“You can’t knock our success.  We used to say if you build it, they will come, because time after time, we’d open in a new city, and from the first day on, people would just be lining up.  There’s something magical about that concept that was fun to be involved with.”

“I’m much happier as I look back on my decision to enter food service.  I didn’t know I would like it.  I actually like sweeping outside the door.  I love the people.  I love the age group.  At the heart, I’m a bit of teacher.  It’s remarkable how much I loved the restaurant business, and I still do.”

“As for the success of The Cheesecake Factory for nearly 40 years, I’m not sure it could be, in recording terms, be covered again.  It’s like the cake you bake, and you ask, ‘Can you ever bake it again?’  I’m not sure.”

“We have a legacy here of being a family business.  A two billion dollar business that was founded back in Detroit making simple cheesecakes, and if you think about great American entrepreneur stories, Cheesecake is one of the greatest stories.  Forty years may seem like a long time, but a 50, 60, 70, 80, 100-year-old company is not something that we can’t be.”

“Companies that do it right, like The Cheesecake Factory, are going to still be around.  I’m happy to do anything to help us be more successful or get the word out about us.”

“I wanted to be able to retire my mother.  I wanted to be able to share some of the profits with the managers and people that worked with me.  We interviewed many, many companies, thought about it a lot, and in 1992 we went public.”

“My father was around to see the success, and my mother was here to see us go public.  It’s really the great American success story.  You come up with a good product, work hard, and bring your family together to do it.”

“My kids are not involved in the business.  It doesn’t bother me that they didn’t.  They’re all very creative, and I think it’s more important that they pursue something that they love like I did.”

“I was very lucky.”

Related: Tilman Fertitta quotes.

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