Cook, Serve, Delicious isn’t filet mignon, but it is an awesome, consistently delicious meal.
When gourmets aspire to open up restaurants, how many of them really stop and consider the less glamorous parts of managing an eatery? We’re talking about starting from utter scratch by serving up artery-clogging fare in a bare, grey-walled box that somehow passes for a restaurant. We’re talking about hanging over the deep fryer for 12 hours a time, setting up rat traps, and pitching garbage. We’re talking about all the stuff you need to deal with if you want to scratch out a living in Cook, Serve, Delicious, a time management/restaurant game for the PC.
Cook, Serve, Delicious starts you off with a little money, big dreams, and a small restaurant near the top of an office tower. As the proprietor, you need to transform the café from a greasy spoon in the sky to an elegant five-star establishment. Unsurprisingly, getting there takes a lot of hard work.
As mentioned, this is primarily a time-management affair, though there are some neat ideas that separate it from casual landscape’s parade of Diner Dash clones. You’re wholly in charge of managing your menu, which includes everything from fried chicken and ice cream to beer, salads, and fish. Each item brings in a different amount of money whenever a customer orders it, but every nosh also brings a certain amount of responsibility. For example, corn dogs are easy to prepare, but they’re unexciting and fattening, and therefore won’t build up much in the way of positive buzz for your joint. No positive buzz means fewer customers. By contrast, healthier, more expensive items like grilled chicken will leave your customers feeling good (they might even tip!), but take a lot more time to prepare.
Food preparation is particularly interesting, as you assemble dishes with the help of the keyboard. Got a burger to build? Dial “M” for Meat. Then L for Lettuce, T for Tomatoes, R for Relish, and so on. You need to keep a sharp eye on your customer’s order, because improperly-prepared food will ruin their day.
Preparing food correctly and in a timely manner is Cook, Serve, Delicious’s biggest challenge. You can just dunk sopapillas in the deep fryer if you're that kind of cook, but to excel you need to actually prepare and cook complex items like chicken breasts, lasagna, and pizza. You can get work done while your items bake, but if the order overcooks, you’re going to have a grumbling customer on your hands as well as potential bad buzz.
All this said, and you still need to take care of the chores that build up in your queue. Some of these include throwing away garbage, washing dishes (some food items cause dishes to build up faster than others), and setting traps that will snap little rodent necks. You also need to clean the bathroom several times in a day, because as anyone who has worked in the service industry will tell you, society at large has a problem with remembering how to use public washrooms correctly.
Cook, Serve, Delicious offers up a lot of extras too, like the ability to cater your food or participate in “Iron Cook” competitions. It’s an ambitious game that tries to do things a little differently, and the effort pays off; if you’re into restaurant/time management games, this is certainly one to try.
It might be a little intense for some players, though. Cook, Serve, Delicious accelerates from Day One, and it never looks back. The game’s “Rush Hours” are waking nightmares. Customers pour in and chores pile up, and it becomes very difficult to manage everything. Customers walk out in droves, especially when you’re just starting to get the hang of the game. As a result, money builds up slowly, and it takes a long time to complete the checklist of goals that you need to meet before your restaurant can level up.
Cook, Serve, Delicious isn’t perfect, but hey, neither is McDonalds, and we all like to hang out there once in a while, right? Go on and fire it up. Just don’t let those sopapillas burn.
- Adds great new ideas to an old concept. Lots to do. Players need to plan their menu in advance for maximum profits. A deep sense of strategy and advancement.
- The pace is intense—a little too intense at times. Making progress can be slow.