Restaurants exist in The Sims: Hot Date, The Sims 2: Nightlife, The Sims 2: Open for Business, The Sims 3 and The Sims 4: Dine Out. They are places in which Sims enter, be seated at a table, and order from a large array of meals instead of cooking at home.
Restaurants need certain items in order to function. There must be at least one podium. Hot Date includes two podiums; the Bel-Air Series Podium, which is made to look like something from a 1950s diner, and the more expensive Gastronomer Restaurant Podium, which is made to look upscale (the podiums are frequently referred to as "the cheap podium" and "the expensive podium", rather than by name). Each podium will spawn a waiter or waitress. With a cheap podium, the waiter or waitress will stand at the podium and seat diners, but an expensive podium will also spawn a maître d', who will do this. The Sims will need somewhere to sit, so there needs to be dining booths and/or dining tables and chairs. These must be in the same room as the podium(s), or Sims will not be seated.
There must be a refrigerator. Any type of refrigerator can be used, but its quality will affect the hunger value of the food. There should be as many stoves as there are podiums, as each podium will spawn a chef. Any type of stove can be used, and they don't all have to be the same, but chefs will prefer using the most expensive stove available to them. There should also be enough counter space for the chef(s) to prepare the food, and to hold the finished meals. Finally, there should be a sink and/or dishwasher, and a trash can and/or trash compactor. The kitchen must be located in the same room as or no more than one door[n 1] away from the dining room, or meals will not be prepared.
When using one of the Maxis podiums, it is best to use Maxis appliances, sinks, and seating as well, as non-Maxis objects may not be recognized. Due to the way objects work in The Sims, recolors of Maxis objects are separate objects, so recolored items should not be used.
A Sim can eat at the restaurant if the player clicks a podium. The player will have three choices; the type of podium will affect the names and prices of the meals, but not the content. The cheapest choice is just a salad, the second choice is a salad followed by a plate of steak and beans, and the most expensive choice adds a dessert.
|Meal||Name and prices w/Bel-Air Series Podium||Name and prices w/Gastronomer Restaurant Podium|
§40 (solo); §80 (with date)
|A La Carte|
§50 (solo); §100 (with date)
|Salad, steak & beans||Daily Special
§65 (solo); §130 (with date)
§100 (solo); §200 (with date)
|Salad, steak & beans, dessert||Gut Buster
§90 (solo); §180 (with date)
§150 (solo); §300 (with date)
As soon as the player makes a choice, the Sim(s) will get in line at the podium. Once the active Sim reaches the podium and places the order, he or she will be charged the appropriate amount, so it is not possible to skip out on a bill. The Sim(s) will then be seated, and the order will be taken to a chef. The chef will prepare the food and place it on a counter. Eventually, a waiter will pick it up and take it to the Sim(s). After the food has been eaten, a busboy will clear the empty plates and take them to the sink or dishwasher. If a two or three course meal was ordered, each additional course will be prepared after the plates for the previous course have been cleared.
If the restaurant has many other customers, waiters and busboys will likely be busy.
The Sims 2
Restaurants are a feature in The Sims 2: Nightlife and The Sims 2: Open for Business that allows community lots to have a real dining service. Eating at a restaurant is an alternative way to fulfill the hunger motive while on community lots.
In order to have a working restaurant, a lot requires certain objects:
- A "Gastronomique" Restaurant Podium[TS2:NL] or Podium of Bonnappitizon[TS2:OFB] host podium.
- A Tempest Cooktop from Cuas chef's stove.
- On unowned lots, this will spawn one of the NPC chefs. On an owned lot, it will allow a Sim to be assigned to be the chef.
- At least one table with a chair or at least one island-style counter with a bar stool. A bar is not necessary, but can be included.
- Unlike restaurants in The Sims: Hot Date, restaurants in Nightlife and Open for Business do not require refrigerators.
Sims can eat at the restaurant if the player clicks the host or the podium. The player can choose "Be Seated" if a table is present or "Be Seated at Counter" if a counter is present. The host will notify the player if there are no available seats, or if there are not enough tables to seat a large group.
Sims who are on a date or outing, or in a casual group, will eat at the same table. If a Sim does not have a group, he or she will eat alone. If there isn't a table large enough to hold all members of a group, it will be split up to 2 tables. The player cannot choose which table a Sim will eat at. The host will usually seat them at the nearest available table.
After Sims are seated, they will autonomously read the menu, and food may appear in the thought bubble. The food in the thought bubble indicates which food that Sim would like to eat. When the server reaches the table, the player can click on the server to order. Sims can order preset meals on the menu, along with a few extra dishes that are unique to restaurants. The player can choose the meals for each individual Sim in the group while ordering, or simply choose "Chef's Choice" to automatically order what every Sim in the group would have in their thought bubble. When on a date, if the player can order what their date would like to eat, a bonus will be added to the date score. Choosing "Chef's Choice" will not add any additional score. When finished ordering for the table, the player must select "Finished ordering" or the food will not be delivered.
Food preparation and service is simplified compared to restaurants in The Sims: Hot Date. The chef no longer prepares each meal separately. Instead, the server takes the order to the kitchen, and shortly afterward returns to the table or counter with a large covered platter. When this is uncovered, it will contain all the meals that were ordered by Sims at that table. This means that kitchens can be smaller, since they do not need to have refrigerators or places for the chef to put finished meals.
If the restaurant has many other customers, servers will be likely to be busy. A server works 7 tables, so if a restaurant contains 8 tables, the game will spawn 2 servers. Additional servers will also be spawned for each host podium.
Restaurants do not need a cash register. After the Sims are done eating, the player can simply click on the podium or host and select "Pay Bill". The bill will automatically be paid if the Sims leave without paying. If they don't have enough money to pay the bill, it will be added to the Sims' household bill the next time it arrives.
The player can also have the Sims try to skip out on the bill, but they must avoid the host's sight for one Sim hour. The host will chase the Sims that are trying to skip if there are no customers that they need tending to. If the Sims are caught, they will be scolded and will be forced to pay the bill. The host can detect runaway Sims within a 3-tile distance, which means they can spot Sims even if they're hiding in a restroom, if they are too close to the door. Sims may have a better chance of escaping if they own a car, in which they can simply drive off the lot rather than waiting for the taxi. With Bon Voyage or later, Sims can also simply walk off the lot, which is also faster than a taxi.
Sims can have some benefits if they befriend the host or server. If Sims are friends with the host, he or she will be likely to comp their bill, partially or wholly. On the other hand, being friends with the server has no direct benefits. However, if Sims have a low relationship with the servers, they'll be more likely to drop the food tray, which will leave a negative memory and lower dating and outing score.
A Sim who eats at many restaurants may be given a coupon for a free meal in the mail. The next time a Sim eats out at a restaurant, the option to use the coupon will be available from the host or podium. If Sims are eating as a group, any member of the group can use the coupon.
In The Sims 2: Bon Voyage, there are several lots and hotels that contain restaurant objects for dining service while on vacation. These lots include Three Lakes Plaza, Twikkii Beach Hotel, and Flaming Dragon Hotel. Restaurants in hotels have a few differences from restaurants elsewhere: Sims cannot skip out on the bill, and only tables that are in the same room as the podium are used for dining. Restaurant features are not carried forward into Bon Voyage. Therefore, if Nightlife is not installed, the room will just be empty with tables.
This section describes features that are only available in The Sims 2: Open for Business.
In Open for Business, Sims can own a restaurant. However, a restaurant is the least profitable of all business types.
An owned restaurant will not spawn any host, server, or cook. These positions must be filled by members of the owner's household, or by employees. Customers will order while standing near the podium instead of while sitting. They will also have a sales bar while ordering, and sales interactions can be used on them. This, however, can only be done by a manager or a member of the owner's household; an employee cannot be assigned to do it. Hosts benefit from having a high sales badge, and servers benefit from having high body skill.
The owner has to set the price and plan the menu before the restaurant is opened. The cook's cooking skill should be considered when planning the menu. A restaurant cook can prepare all meals, but will always burn anything that requires more than his or her level cooking skill, and burnt food will damage customer loyalty. Also, a cook with high cooking skill can prepare food much more quickly, and is less likely to burn the food.
The Sims 3
In The Sims 3, Sims can dine out at diner or bistro rabbit holes. Sims can eat alone or with someone else, or just go in for a drink. Diners are open 24 hours a day, while bistros are open from 11AM to 11PM. Sims can also wait for dessert while eating inside. Eating at a bistro is more expensive than eating at a diner, but the bistro can sometimes trigger some events that will not occur at a diner. The player cannot see Sims while they're eating inside the rabbit hole.
If Sims are eating at a bistro, they can also choose to eat outside, where they will enter the rabbit hole and then reappear shortly with their plates of food. They will seat themselves at any available outdoor table on the lot. Note that Sims who are on an outing or date may not eat at the same table.
Although not explicitly defined, a functional restaurant can be made with the presence of the food synthesizer.[TS3:ITF] While it does not employ a cook, it spawns a waiter or waitress to seat sims and take orders.
Similarly, the food register[TS3:WA] can be used to create a pseudo fast-food restaurant, with sims ordering at the register and seating themselves.
Business as Usual Bistro
|It's Business Time Industrial Oven|
|Do you want to start your own business and make gobs of Simoleons? How about spending a night out of the town where you have a chef waiting to make your favorite meal? If these things sound appealing, then you should get the It's Business Time Industrial Oven, hire a chef, and start living like a boss!|
|Game||The Sims 3 Store|
|Price in game||§1,250|
The Business as Usual Bistro venue from The Sims 3 Store features a working restaurant that operates on a similar mechanic to those in The Sims 2: Nightlife. The set includes the It's Business Time Industrial Oven and its associated menu, both of which are required for the restaurant to work properly. Customers will order food from the menus placed on tables or on non-professional bars. The chef and server roles are combined, unlike previous games, so the chef will take the order, prepare the dishes, and serve the food.[n 2] Players can hire or fire chefs; set the menu, food markup, and chef quality; and choose the opening hours of the restaurant from 8AM to 6PM, 11AM to 9PM, or 3PM to 1AM. If the player's Sims own the community lot, they can profit from the restaurant.
Chefs are randomly-chosen from the pool of townies, and will automatically show up at the restaurant when it is time for them to work. If chefs are unable to get to the restaurant for any reason, they will automatically quit.
Children cannot eat at the Business as Usual Bistro, but can eat at normal rabbit hole restaurants.
The Sims 4: Dine Out
Restaurants return in The Sims 4: Dine Out. Unlike previous games, restaurants appear as a type of lot assignment, rather than an area in a lot. There are no restaurants in The Sims 4: Get to Work, but players can run a bakery instead.
Restaurants do not appear in the game and must be placed from the Gallery or built on an empty lot. When a Sim enters the lot, it will have randomized NPCs serving as host, waiter and chef. However, when a Sim who owns a restaurant enters it, they can take full control over many aspects of running it.
Restaurants act as they did in The Sims 2. Players can see inside the building, and Sims that have entered can be seen and directed. Sims must enter and go to the host station, after which the host will direct them to a nearby table with at least one chair. Groups of Sims, such as ones on a date, on an outing with friends or on a club gathering, can be placed together at the same table.
Sims can then call the waiter and order up to one meal and one drink at a time. Sims can eat more meals if they wish, which will add to their bill. The food menu shows 4 categories: Drinks, Appetizers, Main Course, and Dessert. Restaurants can serve any type of food or drinks, but will usually be tied to a certain theme.
Owning a restaurant
In Dine Out, Sims can also own restaurants and can customize a variety of things such as the markup price, advertisements to bring in customers, ingredient quality, the menu, staff outfits, and customer dress code.
Every restaurant must have a host, waiter, and chef, and they must be different Sims. Only one Sim can be hired as a host. By using restaurant perks, a restaurant can have up to three waiters and two chefs.
Each restaurant has a rating of 1 to 5 stars, and each star can help gain more customers and more pay. The only way of getting the stars to go up is by making the restaurants customers feel happy. Every customer enters with at least 3 stars above their head and will gain more or less stars depending on their satisfaction.
Making sure the customers are alright is a huge priority in running a restaurant. Every customer at the end of their meal when they pay their bill, will leave a review of the restaurant in a 1-5 star system. At the end of the day when the restaurant closes, there will be an opportunity for improvement tab in the financial report in which is a survey collected from all the customers opinions on the restaurant.
Employee satisfaction is a huge priority in running a restaurant. All the employees, whether host, chef, or waiter, must be working on the clock and making sure the customers get a good satisfying experience. They are vital in making the restaurant work as they help make the food, serve the food and help with the customers experience.
Employees, host, waiter, and chef are all satisfied by 4 things: mood, skill, work hours, and pay/promotion.
Restaurant critics are NPC Sims, who visit restaurants every so often after it reaches 3 stars. Restaurant critics will come in to the restaurant like any normal customer, but their review at the end of the day will greatly affect the restaurants rating.
Getting a good review can be gained by impressing the restaurant critic, whom are affected by the employees, decorations, and overall food quality. Owners can interact with them in many ways to make them feel special, such as offering free desserts, or by selecting the "Prioritise Table" interaction on the restaurant critic's table, which will make the waiters and chef work faster to deliver whatever order the critic on the table wants.
- Multiple restaurants are possible on the same lot, but they need to share the same kitchen, or one will not work properly. If the restaurants are located on different floors, it is possible to connect the kitchen to a restaurant using a set of stairs, but there must not be another set of doors to pass through in order to access the dining room.
- A mod at NRaas Industries splits these two roles and allows individual shifts to be set for each role.