The Sims 4 Dine Out Game Pack
Management: Customer Behavior and Food Critics
Improve the opinion of your customers by interacting with them. Everyone likes to meet the owner, especially if he throws in free drinks!
Key to the success of your restaurant are customers and your staff's treatment of them. This part of my Dine Out guide exists to teach you a bit about customers, when they'll arrive, and their composition. We will also touch on food bloggers (critics) who can be a positive or negative influence on your restaurant's rating. Restaurant Rating itself and all the factors that contribute to it are found on the Star Rating page.
Getting More Customers
Advertising is worth it for a well-run establishment, but upper packages too expensive for smaller restaurants.
The number of customers that will visit your restaurant are based upon three major factors. First, your star rating. This one is obvious, as a restaurant with a good reputation is more exciting to visit. Second, advertising to get the word out via 4 distinct packages. You pay for advertisements by the hour, and only during times of operation. Lastly, time of day has a large impact on the types of and quantity of visitors you'll see.
Find this under the Restaurant Settings menu. There are four packages available:
- Silver Package: $5/hour ($120/day). This package advertises via newspaper and brings in 20% more customers.
- Gold Package: $10/hour ($240/day). This package advertises via radio and brings in 40% more customers.
- Platinum Package: $20/hour ($480/day). This package advertises via web and brings in 75% more customers.
- Diamond Package: $50/hour ($1200/day). This package advertises via television and brings in double the normal amount of customers.
Because of the cost, the diamond advertising package is not normally recommended. Great players with very well-managed restaurants may make good use of it. It requires highly skilled and disciplined employees, as well as extra perks to increase the customers' eating speed, reduce aggravation about wait times, and a very high markup to benefit from it. The other packages are great but any of these should be considered before use, as you may waste money.
Customer Peak Hours and Types of Groups
Wait time's a big factor, and customers tend to come in waves during peak hours just as in reality. Be prepared!
When Customers Arrive: Hours to be Open
Late-night and early morning are the worst times to be open and waste your Sim's energy, though early birds will come at 6AM. The game's customer spawning system is not unlike real life. Breakfast begins at around 6AM. There's a lunch rush from 11-1, then a good quantity of Sims will come from 4-8PM, with slower periods in between. It's not that you won't get customers if you are open late at night, it's just that you'll get less. If your restaurant is 1 or 2-star it will not see many Sims at all during down hours. A 4-star that can not handle many will still attract a good amount of customers even late at night.
Generally, you will find that customers come alone or in pairs. Many Sims will come on a date, especially during dinner hours. Aforementioned early birds come for breakfast. One third to one quarter of visits will be a family gathering, meaning you need a larger table for them. Family gatherings happen primarily around lunch and dinner.
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Make food bloggers happy, and they'll write a great review of your restaurant. It's worth 10x the normal value!
Food Bloggers (Critics)
Food Bloggers are most likely to come in the lunch-evening time frame, and are only about 3-5% of visits depending upon the time of day. You should absolutely cater to them by welcoming, checking on the table, maybe comping dessert. I wouldn't make the meal free unless they're unhappy. You can, of course, prioritize food if their wait time is taking too long. Do these things because a food blogger's review is worth 10 of a normal customer's reviews and a bad review can quickly drop your score, but one critic's review could bring you up a whole star rating depending where you restaurant ranks. I have seen more than one critic at a time. It's possible, just not likely.
Best Times to Operate
Given these details, it's best to operate the restaurant between around 11AM to 9 or 10PM to see the most customers arrive. It is a long shift, but can be highly profitable. You'll have some slower times to clear tables, then the peaks will hit. If your waiters get overwhelmed, you could use the manager to clean up a bit and save them some time. Welcoming/checking on tables is not that heavily weighted, just good practice when there's nothing else to do.
The Curious Customers perk gives you an additional social that can be used sometimes - recommend dish. One more way to please your clientele
Too Many: Stop Accepting Customers
This is an instant setting you can toggle by clicking the host station. You can allow new customers by clicking it again when your workers catch up. Selecting this when there are no full tables and the kitchen is already backed up is a good idea. Customers who wait too long will become one-star reviews most of the time, and make a heavy impact on your rating. You can salvage the review of a customer who is upset their food is slow (prioritize it) or had a bad meal (comp it), maybe even throw in a free drink or dessert. However you cannot do anything about a customer you don't get to seat and serve, they'll just trash your restaurant to their friends.
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