Over the past two years or so, I’ve been on a mission to do everything there is to do in The Sims 4 across every pack with the SuperSim Challenge. Overall, this has been a very fun adventure. The Sims 4 has a lot to offer and every time I think I’ve discovered everything, I find something new to immerse myself in. However, I won’t lie; there are certain features of the game I’ve been dreading taking on. Like restaurants.
Dine Out has got to be the biggest mess The Sims 4 has ever released. The idea of eating out at restaurants and managing your own restaurant sounds great in theory and all the mechanics are there for a great dining and management experience. The problem is that none of those mechanics work properly. Eating out as a customer is a gamble; will you wait 8 hours to get your food just to have the waiter drop it on the floor, leading to another 8 hour wait time? Or will you even get your food at all? Will other diners walk up and take your food right off the table while you’re in the bathroom? Managing a restaurant is even worse. Between your staff not showing up, leaving the lot at random to go for a jog, dumping dirty plates on tables where diners are still eating, and many customers never receiving their food and leaving 1 star reviews, you’ll spend more time doing damage control as a restaurant manager than actually focusing on your restaurant.
I did manage to get my restaurant to 5 stars very quickly with my SuperSim but by that time, I couldn’t wait to get rid of the place. While managing this culinary nightmare, I did pick up a few tips for keeping things running smoothly. Barely. Unfortunately, a lot of it was done with the MCCC mod and cheats to troubleshoot glitches.
Hey Sims Team, when are we getting a Dine Out refresh???
Start Out Wealthy
I really don’t recommend trying to start a restaurant with starting funds. A lot of your restaurant’s success will depend on you being able to dump more money into it than you’re making for quite a while until you start to see a real payoff. The best way to start off on the right foot is to already have a million or so simoleons (at least) to buy a really nice restaurant with great ambiance, spend tonnes of money on training your staff as fast as possible, and give away lots of freebies to keep customers happy when things go wrong. You will lose a lot of money doing this at first so make sure your Sim already has the funds to be able to afford big losses.
Invest in Your Staff
To be honest, even fully trained staff can be pretty useless but poorly trained staff are much, much worse. Chefs won’t be able to cook your most expensive dishes properly, waiters will drop food, and hosts will be rude to your customers, leading to a bad dining experience and poor reviews. As soon as you hire your staff, invest money into training them. Pay for the best training available on each staff member every shift. Consider it an essential investment for your business. If your customers are eating excellent food that wasn’t dropped in their laps and being treated nicely by the staff, they’re going to leave happy and that means good reviews for your restaurant. Your staff will also work harder when they’re happy with their job. This means promotions. Be generous with handing out promotions to your staff.
Pay Attention to Your Customers
Most Simmers who’ve worked in the restaurant business will already be familiar with this but there’s a certain order in which customer interactions are usually done. First, welcome the customers as soon as they sit down at their table. Once the customer receives their food, go and check on their table to make sure everything is going well. If the customers are unhappy with something, appease them with some sort of freebie. If they feel the staff treated them rudely or they aren’t happy with the quality of their meal, offer them free drinks. If they have a bigger problem, like the waiter dropped their food, offer them a free dessert. If they’ve been waiting ages for their food, prioritize their order in the kitchen and offer them free drinks while they wait. Comp their entire meal only as a last resort if your customers are stuck at 1 or 2 stars and you’ve exhausted all other efforts to make them happy. Being attentive to the diners can help cushion any mishaps caused by incompetent staff. These management actions also give you perk points to spend on rewards for your restaurant so you want to be schmoozing with your customers constantly.
If All Else Fails… Troubleshoot
A lot of the time, you will find that no matter what you do, you cannot make a customer happy because of glitches. Dine Out is plagued with glitches. It was so frustrating for me when all the diners in the restaurant would randomly reset themselves next to their tables, breaking the queue in the kitchen resulting in no food going out. I had no choice but to use mods and cheats to get them out of my restaurant before their star rating dropped to 1. I would also end up with full plates of food floating at a 45 degree angle in the air that no one could clean up. Or stacks of dishes on tables where diners were eating. No matter how many times waiters tried to clean them up, they’d glitch out and just put them on another table. Not to mention diners would get up from their seats to just wander around aimlessly with their food. I wanted to pull my hair out.
I highly recommend the MCCC mod by Deaderpool to help with this. You can turn on advanced cheats with this mod so you can shift-click stacks of dirty dishes and floating plates with testingcheats true on and destroy the object instantly. MCCC will also let you click on any Sim to force them to leave the lot. This can be very handy when it’s become clear that the kitchen has completely lost the customer’s order and they won’t be receiving their food at all. Instead of being stuck waiting for them to stomp out angrily and give your restaurant a 1 star review, you can usher them out with a 3 or 4 star rating instead which will avoid completely tanking your restaurant’s reputation.
Will all these tips make running a restaurant a dream come true? Honestly, probably not. But I did find that managing my restaurant was a little more tolerable when I was doing these things. I hope they’ll help you survive this messy game pack, too. Until The Sims finally does something about Dine Out, we’re unfortunately left to find workarounds on our own.
That said, this should be an urgent call to The Sims Team to focus on Dine Out again. We appreciate all you do, but please revisit Dine Out. It’s been broken for an unacceptably long time.