Restaurant Story is a popular free-to-play restaurant simulation game developed by Storm8 for iOS and Android devices. First released in 2010, Restaurant Story allows players to design, decorate, and manage their own virtual restaurant. With cute graphics and addictive gameplay, Restaurant Story became an instant hit for casual gamers. This comprehensive review will cover all aspects of the game including decorating, cooking, managing, social features, progression, monetization, and more.
The core gameplay loop of Restaurant Story involves:
Decorating and expanding your restaurant
Cooking and serving food to customers
Earning coins to upgrade your restaurant
Gaining XP to level up and unlock new items
The goal is to create your dream restaurant, keep customers satisfied, and continuously grow your business empire.
Decorating and Expanding
Players start with an empty restaurant and basic kitchen equipment
Hundreds of decor items can be purchased including tables, chairs, floors, walls, kitchen appliances, and ambient decorations like plants, aquariums, pianos etc.
The restaurant can be expanded to add more table space as you level up
Decorating is one of the most creative aspects of the game
Cooking and Serving
Players select recipes, add ingredients, cook, finish, and serve dishes
Customers enter, sit down, order food, eat, pay, and leave
With thousands of items to choose from, you have the flexibility to create any style restaurant you can imagine. You can make a cozy cafe, a family diner, a romantic bistro, or a 5-star luxury establishment. The decorating possibilities are nearly endless.
Cooking in Restaurant Story
Cooking and serving food is at the heart of Restaurant Story gameplay. Here is an overview of how the cooking system works:
Start with a basic menu of cheap recipes like sandwiches
Unlock more expensive and complex recipes as you level up
Recipes have prep time, cook time, servings produced, sale price, and XP value
Each recipe requires certain ingredients like bread, cheese, tomatoes etc.
Ingredients are stocked automatically over time
Can buy more ingredients instantly using coins if needed
To cook a recipe:
Tap each ingredient to add it
Tap recipe again when prep complete to start cooking
Tap once more when timer ends to finish and serve
Completed dishes appear on serving counters for customers
Customers enter, take a seat, order food, eat, pay bill, and leave
Earn coins equal to the sale price of each serving
Matching cooking speed to customer demand is an important skill. Letting food spoil or running out leads to lost profits. With practice, you can intuit how much to cook of each recipe.
Managing and Upgrading
While decorating and cooking are the fun parts, you also need to manage your restaurant effectively:
Hire cooks, waiters, hosts, and janitors to help run your restaurant
Staff grant bonuses like faster service, more tips, or reduced costs
Balance wages against increased earnings from bonuses
Purchase floor upgrades to expand restaurant
Buy table upgrades to increase customer capacity
Install kitchen upgrades to cook faster and add new recipes
Periodic events provide big coin and XP rewards
Must cook specific recipes within a time limit
Creative way to earn major upgrades faster
Keeping Customers Happy
Customers get angry if food runs out or they can’t find a seat
Angry customers leave bad reviews decreasing future customers
Balance seating space, staff, and food output to maximize satisfaction
Reset restaurant to level 1 while keeping all recipes, upgrades, and bonuses
Lets you redesign restaurant from scratch once established
Shows your total lifetime customers, earnings, etc.
With good management you can grow your restaurant from a roadside stand into a booming franchise.
Restaurant Story incorporates social gameplay elements by allowing you to visit friends:
Search friends by username or Facebook account
Visit up to 10 friends per day
Send free food gifts to friends
Friends can leave tips on your tables
Claim tips to get coins, gems, and XP
Higher level friends leave bigger tips
Compare your level, customers served, and earnings with friends
Leaderboards drive competition and engagement
Benefits of Visiting
Earn a customer bonus after visiting all friends
Chance of getting rare recipes, ingredients, or decorations
It pays to be social and connect with more players
Visiting friends provides both social enjoyment and gameplay benefits.
Restaurant Story uses typical free-to-play progression mechanics mixed with monetization elements:
Earn XP from serving food and completing events
Level up to unlock new recipes, ingredients, decor items, and upgrades
Reaching certain levels grants major expansions like more floors
Coins – Earned from customers. Used to buy upgrades.
Gems – Premium currency bought with real money. Used to speed up timers, finish events instantly, or purchase rare items.
In-app Purchases – Unlocked
Video Ads – Ads Free
Time Gates – No Timers limit how fast you can progress without paying.
Restaurant Story finds a balance between rewarding free gameplay while encouraging monetization from invested players. The core restaurant simulation gameplay remains fun and satisfying for free players.
Here is a quick summary of the pros and cons of Restaurant Story based on this review:
Addictive restaurant simulation gameplay
Tons of decorating options for creativity
Fun cooking system with hundreds of recipes
Good progression and prestige system
Social features like visiting friends
Cute graphics and animations
Aggressive and time gates
Repetitive music and sound effects
Not much variety in core gameplay
Could use more customization options
Minor bugs and stability issues
Overall, Restaurant Story executes the restaurant simulation formula very well. Fans of games like Diner Dash and Cooking Mama will find it familiar but still enjoy the decorating creativity and dopamine hits of progression. Just be prepared for the aggressive monetization strategies typical of free mobile games.
Restaurant Story deserves its popularity among casual simulation fans. It nails the basic gameplay loop and gives players enough freedom to inject their own creativity. The monetization could be dialed back slightly, but overall Restaurant Story delivers a delicious free restaurant management experience on mobile.