The company’s cheesecake is made from about 85% cream cheese, making it impossible to prepare without that key ingredient. The shortage meant the company had to pause cheesecake production on Friday in its Burlington, New Jersey, baking facility because it didn’t have enough of the ingredient, according to owner Alan Rosen. It reopened Sunday, after a frantic Saturday trip to pick up more. But it will have to pause production again on Thursday, Rosen said, as the problem persists.
The factory is where Junior’s makes its signature product, which it sells to thousands of national retailers, as well as to restaurants, directly to consumers and in its own four restaurant locations. Every year, Junior’s goes through about four million pounds of cream cheese to make its signature product, Rosen said.
The cream cheese shortage couldn’t come at a worse time. December is “our busiest month of the year,” said Rosen.
Junior’s factory typically runs more often this time of year to meet higher demand around the holidays, he said. Half of the company’s mail-order business comes in the last three months of the year, and its restaurant business picks up by about 20 or 30% around the holidays, Rosen said. While Junior’s has managed to fill orders so far, Rosen worries the outages could have an impact on last-minute holiday cake shopping.
“We’ve been scraping by” for several weeks, he said, “getting cream cheese in sporadic supply and praying.”
“We’re just having to get the cream cheese from different vendors,” Melanie Frost, Ess-a-Bagel’s COO and president, told CNN Business. That, plus promotion of its tofu spreads, has helped keep Ess-a-Bagel from coming up short, she added.
That’s not an option at Junior’s, Rosen said. “The recipe has not changed one ounce” since its first restaurant opened in Brooklyn in 1950.
To help ensure that it doesn’t run out of cream cheese, Junior’s is appealing to Kraft Heinz, the food giant that owns Philadelphia. “We’re getting on the phone with them. We’re talking, we’re pleading, we’re moving trucks around where we can,” Rosen said.
So even as it worries about running out of cream cheese, Junior’s has been buying more of it than in the past because of greater demand.