Hello everyone! Your new Chef has arrived! As Pinkie already explained, I’m Cherry and will be doing some posts from now on as well as part of the team here on the resort! I’m a little bad at thinking where to start, so I will just get right into it! I love playing games, and I also love cooking! I do quite a lot of cooking my home life and usually try to do my own recipes, so a combination of both gaming and cooking seems like perfect for me. And it mostly is! Lately I have been playing one game in particular, and it is what I will be giving a brief overview of today, so without further ado, here is Chef: A Restaurant Tycoon!
So! Chef is a Restaurant management/cooking simulator game currently available on Steam! It game out of early access in 2020 and recently had its first expansion(which adds in a bunch of new features primarily focused on Eastern Asia Cuisine).
The premise for the game is pretty simple, you are a chef and you run and manage a restaurant, the rest is up to you! It is a very free game in terms of options. The end-goal is up to you, as is what kind of restaurant and food you wish to be playing with. For some players, the goal might simply be to run a single seafood restaurant. For others, it could be to have a large burger franchise with several restaurants. All of this is available to do!
So first things first. After you get past the main menu, the first screen you will see is the character creation! Here you decide how your chef will look. You have a few options, first being body(This is where clothing is. You got a variety of clothing outfits/styles for both a more masculine & femining body, but no specific gender lock thing!) Secondly, you pick a headshape and then a hairstyle. As a finish touch you can then change your chef expression as well as colour for the various things!
Once you feel happy with your Chef, you get to pick a difficulty option. These come in 4 categories: Normal, Hardcore, Relaxed & Sandboxed. Normal is how it sounds, it’s the game with the original settings. Hardcore is more of a challenge run, stakes will be higher and it will be more difficult to manage the resturant.
Relaxed mode is a lighter version of normal. The pace is slowed down, the difficulty curve is a bit easier, allowing you more freedom to pick and play exactly how you want. Finally Sandbox is more of Relaxed. Atop of having easier settings, you start with near infinite money, and enough skill points to create whatever kind of resturant you want from scratch. Otherwise you need to gradually progress to get exactly what you want.
In my personal opinion, I would say that I greatly prefer Sandbox or Relaxed mode. While I really enjoy the game and think it has alot of creativity and fun, the normal difficulty can sometime feel a bit stressful and straining. You get more or less forced to try and minmax various stats for the most optimal way to make money. But if that is what you are into, then go for normal. It’s still fun!
Next on the list is to actually pick where you want to have your first resturant! You are taken to a pretty large map(Which is randomly generated each new game). You have a variety of districts to choose from. For example, do you want to have your resturant in a factory area, towncenter, out on the countryside and so on. This will determine some things such as price of rent, how many people will come to your resturant and what types of people(As seen on the right of the picture!)
Each district has a few choices of a resturant themselves, which can be varying in size of both the kitchen and dining area. The resturants can also have small traits that will affect customers and rent. A resturant that is in a dangerous neighbourhood will have lower rent, but the richer customers will refuse to come there, for example.
Running a restaurant
Once you have locked in your pick of resturant, you will be taken to the beautiful image above, specifically your resturant! This is the main layout of the game and where you will be spending most of your time. While I will give a rough explaination of all of the options, I only have two deep-dives left to do however(With pictures).
At the top right corner of the screen you can set the name of your resturant. This has no gameplay effects and can be changed at any time you feel like! Below that is a small panel showing some customer statistics. In order from left to right they are: Customers waiting to be seated, customers waiting to order, customers waiting for food, customers eating, customers waiting to pay, and amount of customers who ran out and didn’t pay/just left.
On the right side is your crew management, and here is where you will see your staff and how they are doing. You can also set them to do different tasks here.
And now for the menus! Going from left to right I will explain a bit what each one does before focusing on the two big ones later as a final touch!
So first, starting with the chef’s hat icon is the Skill Panel! Here is where you see the skill level of your Chef and your crew. As you do activities like cooking or serving customers, your characters will level up. You can then spend points to increase their performance or unlock new options. For your main chef, this for example lets you unlock new recipe templates for the recipe creator, which we talk about later!
Next up is the decorations panel. Here are the options for building up your resturant! You have options to change the colours of the exterior and interior, this doesn’t do much other than look nice! The actual decorations, such as tables and wall-art, clocks, shelves and so on, all affect what type of customers will want to come to your resturant! They add to a specific type of atmosphere(examples being Rustic, Modern, Fancy, Cheap). Finally, you also buy your kitchen appliances here, which determines stats for your cooking. In order to fry food for example, you need a fryer. You can add in a microwave to make food cook faster, but lose quality. Fridge to reduce ingredients costs, and so on!
Following the decorations is the staff manager! It’s here you go to hire new staff. Currently there are two types of staff available,waiter and chef. You can also use different ways to seek out more high quality staff by either just asking people on the street, put out ads or hire a recruiting agency.
Menu is next on the line! Here is where you set up your resturant menu with what is available as well as prices. What type of food you got, as well as how much variety and options will all affect your customers. When you unlock new ingredients you also get pre-created food which you can’t edit, so if you don’t feel like creating your own recipes, there will always be things to serve as you progress! The menu offers alot of options, as you can set up the following: Apetiziers, Main Dish, Soups, Salad, Side Dish, Dessert and drinks! Delicious! As a final note on the menu as well, it is here you go to edit recipes you created yourself.
Next up is the Recipe Editor! Here you will create your own custom recipes, which I will go into more detail later, so for now I leave it as it is and move on to the next option!
The next menu is a bit smaller, and simply details your types of customers you are getting and some customer statistics, not alot to say there! It can help you if you are trying to pinpoint a specific customer base, as it will tell you what your customers tends to order, what they like and so on!
After the customer menu is the ingredients panel, which I will cover with the recipe editor!
Next up is the Chef Advisor! It is basically a built in Yelp/Review site for the game. Your previous customers will sometimes rate your resturant with stars and leave reviews. Some can be helpful, others just really stupid. But it’s always good to pay attention to what they are rating as they can rate everything from staff, speed, food and how the resturant looks! The more stars you get on Chef Advisor increases the amount of people coming your resturant!
After the Chef Advisor comes decisions. At the beginning you can’t do that much here, but you still have a few options. On the decision panel you can set staff wages as well as cleaning routines for the resturant. You can also gradually start to unlock different types of advertising. From billboards to blogs to commercials and so on. You will also be able to buy new furniture options, and eventually, set up mulitple resturants! All of these bigger options though, costs influence. Influence is the measurement of your larger success. As your resturant climbs in popularity, you also gain influence, which allows you to do bigger decisions and begin the path from a small diner to a large, five-star resturant chain!
Next is the city map. It will take you back to the screen at the beginning of the game and lets you choose new locations for your resturant(if you wish to move), or if you want to open up a second one!
Following that comes the financial menu, where you can see more details about your costs and income. It is a good way to determie if you need to lower any decisions or change your prices!
The calendar is the next one! It shows you information about dates. You have twelve months, and 4 days every month. Each day represents a full week. During some months there are special events, like christmas for example, that can change how many people come by your resturant!
The last two menus are not very much to talk about, as they are just more information about the resturant/and a secondary rating/Chef advisor, just without the details. So with those out of the way, let’s go into the ingredients and recipe editor as the final parts of this lengthy article!
So this is the ingredients panel, and it is huge! If you can think of a type of food ingredient, it is probably in here! The ingredients come in sections of Vegetables, carbs, meat, seafood, nuts, fruits, milk products, drinks, spices and so on! There is quite alot of it.
When you start a new game you begin with 10 ingredient points(510 if you play sandbox), which you can use to buy ingredients. As you unlock ingredients, you get more options to add to your recipes as well as pre-created recipes on the menu depending on what you unlock. You earn ingredients points by cooking your custom made recipes!
Each recipe also comes in 3 levels of quality. Silver, gold, platinum/purple. The more higher-ranked ingredients you use, the better the food quality, but the cost of preparing the food is also higher. I really like this system simply because it has so many options!
Fun with Recipes
Finally, we have now reached the recipe editor, the highlight of this game! Here you have the option to create your own recipes using a basic template! As you first enter the recipe editor, you are greeted with the option to pick what type of dish you want to create, based on the template. Do you want to make a pie, a sandwich, a soup and so on. Once you have picked that, you can customize the image for your dish. This has no gameplay impact and is just for fluff. And finally you name your dish, and decide where on the menu it sits(Apetizer, main dish, dessert etc).
Once you have saved your template, you are taken to the next menu. Here you will have a small icon telling you what ingredients(and the amount of each) you need to make the basic recipe. Once you have those done, the recipe can be created and you can go nuts with everything else! You have every single ingredient you own available to you, and can throw them in as you please in terms of quality an amount. Each ingredient will add stats to the dish, such as fatness, bitterness, sweetness and so on, as well as the flavour, cost, cooking time and calories. If the ingredients matches well in terms of taste, you can gain special buffs, and the recipe quality will generally be better if the ingredients are matching!
And that is all! My first article here on the resort! I hope all of you will enjoy it, and perhaps even get curious to try out the game yourself! I am very happy to be here, to be able to make all the delicious food with my friends(Which I might share recipes with here soon!) and to be able to geek out!
This is Cherry, signing off on her first post! Bon Appetit!