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Cheesecake Factory’s delivery giveaway goes awry

The 60,000 free slices of cheesecake were gone in an hour, sparking frustration and an arrest.
Photograph: Shutterstock

The Cheesecake Factory’s offer on Wednesday of a free delivered slice of cheesecake outraged customers and led to the arrest of a DoorDash delivery driver after the 60,000 pieces allotted for the anniversary promotion were depleted in less than an hour.

Patrons bashed the chain on social media for promoting the offer and then failing to set aside enough product to satisfy everyone who opted for the free sample. Cheesecake and its delivery partner for the promotion, the DoorDash third-party delivery service, had originally promised 40,000 free slices, but bumped that number up to 60,000 yesterday because of signs that demand would exceed initial expectations.

The supply still wasn’t feasible given what the chain should have expected, according to the disappointed consumers who sounded off on social media. “Your stores should be prepared for demand when you have a promotion like this,” declared @KunalAh30137864. “Very unfair of Cheesecake Factory.”

Meanwhile, tempers reportedly ran high among DoorDash drivers. The deliverers converged on Cheesecake units, only to find the parking lots clogged with fellow drivers and units cutting off the flow of free slices, according to social media reports and other first-person accounts. The drivers turned on one another and apparently on staff members.

At a Cheesecake in the Virginia suburbs outside Washington, D.C., police were summoned after fights erupted. The DoorDash drivers were ordered to disperse, but one refused. According to a statement issued to the media by the Arlington County Police Department, that driver was arrested and is expected to be charged with disorderly conduct.

“DoorDash was made aware of this incident, and we are cooperating with local law enforcement,” DoorDash said in a statement.

Cheesecake told People.com that it was humbled by the response. The statement also included a blanket apology to customers who were not able to score a free slice.

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