The Let's Play Archive

Restaurant Empire 2

by Enchanted Hat

Part 1: Who's on first?

Episode 1: Who's on first?

In Restaurant Empire 1, the chef prodigy Armand LeBoeuf had to face the evil OmniFood restaurant chain. At their peak, they had a market share of 68% of the global restaurant industry, which would make them easily ten times bigger than McDonald's.

But all that came crashing down when their best chef faced Armand in a final cook-off and lost to our legendary stuffed lamb in a potato crust with truffles. Humiliated, they had no choice but to burn down all their restaurants and leave the industry forever, I guess.

Armand married his sweetheart, Delia Delecoeur, herself a master chef who helped us win many international cooking championships and ran our best-performing restaurant for years. A perfect ending to the story of Restaurant Empire 1. But what will befall Armand and Delia in this new story?

Well, now that our honeymoon's over. What do you think we should do now?

Hmm… now that you mention it, well I've always wanted to… well… never mind, it's a stupid idea.

C'mon tell me. It's not like I'm going to make fun of you or anything…

Well ok, I was thinking that maybe it would be a good idea for me to open my own coffee shop here in town. I've always wanted to do that.

What do you think?

Restaurant Empire 1 was always very awkward about Delia, and you had to sit through a bunch of dialogue about how weird and unusual it was for a woman to be a chef. Restaurant Empire 2 solves that problem immediately by revealing that despite having attended the LA Gourmet Academy, running our best restaurant for ages and becoming the 4th most famous celebrity chef in the world by the end of Restaurant Empire 1, what Delia REALLY wanted to be was a barista! Delia will never be cooking in a restaurant again for the duration of Restaurant Empire 2.

In the screenshot above, you can see that we have several dialogue options. Restaurant Empire 1 technically had a dialogue system, but it was completely linear, and typically you would have one dialogue option that was the right one that would progress the story, and a couple of other options that would just give you a little more information before forcing you to go back and pick the correct one. In Restaurant Empire 2, they've significantly expanded the dialogue system. Although you still can't really change the story, you can now choose how much of a jerk you want Armand to be to the people around him!

Naturally, I'm going for maximum jerk.

My opinion is that I don't think it's going to work well… There are plenty of coffee shops in town. What can you do to make it stand out from the rest?

I've been looking around Paris a while back to see whether building a coffee shop in town would make sense, and what I saw was that those traditional European cafés here in Paris have been giving way to the more mainstream type of coffee shops.

The mainstream ones are nice and everything, but I yearn for the cozy atmosphere of a traditional Parisian café. And I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that. Honey, I really think that I can make this work…

You're right, I have noticed that. I'm surprised people haven't been more vocal about it actually. I just realized that I haven't gone to a traditional café in a while myself.

Hmm… alright, if it's really what you want then I'll agree to it. But you're going to have to take responsibility for it. If you can maintain a good enough performance then I'll be glad to shoulder the costs.

Well, with the world's greatest restauranteur backing me, I'm sure I could do it. Sweetie, I promise you won't be disappointed.


Welcome to Delia's first coffee shop! It's named "Delia's First Coffee Shop", because apparently Delia has no imagination whatsoever. Or maybe she was inspired by our Italian restaurant from Restaurant Empire 1.

When designing this place, they were going for "traditional Parisian café", and can I just say that they nailed it. I can't count the number of times I've gone for a coffee in a small postmodern Roman-inspired palace like this.

Restaurant Empire 1 had a tradition of really ugly restaurant interiors, and thankfully the tradition is very much alive in this game! This is the default look of your first restaurant. This is what they wanted you to see when you start this game.

Coffee shops in Restaurant Empire 2 require a counter area in addition to the kitchen. However, going back and forth between the counter and the kitchen wastes valuable cooking time, so I've tried to set up the restaurant to minimise that.

I hired some staff and set up these chic marble tables for our guests. Delia's first coffee shop, Delia's First Coffee Shop, is now open for business!

That is, it would be, but then I remembered that we kind of don't have a menu yet. Oops.

Restaurants in Restaurant Empire 1 divided recipes into five categories: appetizers, soups, mains, desserts and breakfast dishes. Since that obviously doesn't work for a café, we now have five new categories: hot coffee, iced coffee, tea, other drinks and food.

This is one of our starting recipes, café vanilla. Every recipe in the game has a page like this. The most important things to note are the fields labelled "RATING", "COOKING TIME", "COST" and "DEFAULT PRICE".

The rating of the recipe is basically how delicious it is. A rating of 50% is pretty good for a starting recipe. Our highest rated café recipe right now is rated 52%, so this is one of our best.

The cooking time field will show between one and five clock icons, indicating how long a recipe takes to prepare. Being able to prepare food quickly is extremely important, as during busy periods your chefs will be cooking 100% of the time, and the cooking speed of your recipes determines how many dishes you can serve and thus how much money you'll make. Unfortunately, the cooking time indicated here is a total lie, and the number of clocks bears no relation to how long a recipe takes to cook. In Restaurant Empire 1, a recipe that showed two clocks under cooking time might take anywhere between six seconds and 20 seconds to cook – you have no idea unless you actually watch your chef preparing the recipe.

The difference between the default price and the cost is your default gross profit. The café vanilla has an extremely good profit margin for coffee and will earn us a gross profit of $8.12 per serving!

Overall, the café vanilla is a very nice recipe, and I add it along with a bunch of other recipes to our menu. I'll list all of our starting café recipes at the bottom of the post. I am hoping that you guys will help me decide what to put on our menu!

Now we have to sort out the wine list. Wine is by far your best moneymaker when you're starting a new restaurant in Restaurant Empire, so when you're deciding what beverages to serve at your restaurant, I recommend offering your guests wine and absolutely nothing else. Just like in Restaurant Empire 1, you add this through the menu page by clicking on the… wait…

Where is the beverage button?!

I'm out.

Nah, nevermind, I'll deal. So, the biggest problem with running a coffee shop is that you don't really have a wine list! Making things worse, aside from outliers like the café vanilla, most of our coffees actually have very low profitability since we only sell them for like $5 - $10 a cup, which means that this coffee shop, indeed all of our coffee shops, will be making pathetically low profits compared to our restaurants in Restaurant Empire 1, which were basically money-printing machines.

Well, no sense whining about that now. Let's get some customers in!

We get our first customer, a woman named Loli Robin, who orders the café vanilla and a salad Niçoise. Here's another problem with coffee shops: see that laptop? Our guests are going to come in here, order some coffee, and then they're just going to sit there for hours on end nursing their one cup of coffee rather than just downing it and leaving to make room for other customers. Coffee shop customers are the worst.

They're also extremely greedy! A customer by the name of Ladislas Leroy calls me over and offers to sell me a ~secret recipe~ for the low, low price of $11,340!

This is obviously ridiculous, but Restaurant Empire takes place in an alternative timeline where cookbooks were never invented and recipes are closely guarded secrets that are passed down orally like the epic poems of ancient Greece. Getting new and better recipes is the game's primary progression mechanic: the better your recipes, the better your restaurant will be, and the better you will be able to face the various challenges the game throws your way. I buy the recipe.

It turns out to be the recipe for apple croissants. I have to say, if I bit down on a croissant and found it had a wedge of apple inside it instead of chocolate, I'd be furious. The recipe has a pretty mediocre quality rating of 46%, and its gross profit is a paltry $5.01. The cooking time is stated to be one clock, but that could mean anything. This is a pretty poor recipe.

Another one of our customers calls me over, a Lidija Petit. Some of your guests will be able to refer you to wholesalers who can get you higher quality cooking ingredients than what is normally available. In Restaurant Empire 1, they'd do this for free, but now they want money for it. Lidija here wants me to pay her $2,000 for the privilege of being allowed to buy ingredients from her.

Getting new wholesaler relationships is Restaurant Empire's other important progression mechanic, as it can vastly increase the quality of your recipes, so I reluctantly pay her. No wonder so many first-time restauranteurs fail, we've been open for one day, and we've already had to pay our customers over $13,000.

These are the ingredients that we can buy from Lidija. Because so many coffee recipes call for thyme and rosemary.

By the end of the day, you get a profit and loss statement which the game extrapolates to the rest of the month. We made a profit of $31,788 in January, which is an impressive 60,4% return on our sales! The only thing holding us back is that it's going to be very hard to grow our revenue much more than this, given our slow customer turnover.

This is our goal report for mission 1. We have to pass all of the main goals in order to proceed to the next mission. Our three main goals are to make $30,000 in monthly revenue, get 50 customers per day and to "meet George". We also have an optional side goal of getting at least 40% customer satisfaction, but as far as I know these side goals are completely pointless.

Since George doesn't seem to want to visit us here, let's go to our actual restaurant!

Ta-da! Although Armand stupidly sold most of our old restaurants after defeating OmniFood, we still have our very first restaurant from that game. This is Treize à Table, a fancy French restaurant that Armand inherited from his uncle, Michel.

Impressively, the interior of the restaurant has somehow gotten five times bigger in the time between Restaurant Empire 1 and Restaurant Empire 2. Ah, how quickly the little ones grow up!

The restaurant is closed, so I hire new staff and put together a quick menu just to lure in George. I don't want to focus on this restaurant right now, as our main task should be to get Delia's First Coffee Shop up and running.

Ah! Good day to you Monsieur Lebouf. I must concede that this dessert of yours is truly exquisite. The touch of caramel you added to it… genius!

The only dessert I put on the menu is a fruit gratin, so I don't know where this guy is getting caramel. In fact, none of the dessert recipes we know contain caramel! Also, you'll notice that the game's writers frequently have trouble spelling the main character's name. I guess I could be charitable and assume that it was intentional and that George is just pronouncing it wrong.

In fact, I found the whole meal rather magnificent really. I dare say your Grand Master Chef title does not suit you, Monsieur Lebouf. I'd wager it's beneath your considerable skills!

Eh… haha… Please call me Armand, everybody does.

I'm uh… we're very flattered that you found our cooking delicious. It's always a thrill to get compliments from customers. We here at the Treize ?table [sic] aim to please Mr…

Perrot. But call me George.

Look Armand I'll get straight to the point. I did not come all the way down here to sample your food – that was simply a minor excursion on my part. I came here to offer you an opportunity. I'm producing a new TV show and I see you as the centrepiece of the whole thing.

You have a unique gift my friend, and you've probably heard this a thousand times before, but I think that you can take your magnificent cooking skills to television. I guarantee you'll be a big hit with audiences.

Uh… Actually, this is the first time I've been offered a TV show of my own…

Well, I guess I'm a lucky loser then aren't I? I've seen you in competition, Armand. Your skill as a chef is unquestioned.

But! Unlike the other grand masters, you're not just a bland character that can cook amazing dishes. You, my friend, possess charm and a personality that can captivate an audience! You're perfect for TV!

I definitely can't argue with you there, George.

Just look at this way: there's no way you can lose here. One, we pay you to do what you love; two, you only work a few hours in any given week; and three, you get instant personal recognition as well as considerable publicity for your restaurants. What's not to like?

Well if you put it that way, I can't really say no now can I?

I guess you can't… So, what do you say? Shall I tell my people the good news?

Alright. You've got yourself a deal, George.

Great! That's settled then. Let's shake on it partner!

So while Delia slaves away in that puny coffee shop, Armand's getting his own TV show! Awesome!

Another customer grabs me while I'm at Treize à Table and sells me this recipe for $14,175. It basically illustrates everything that's wrong with Delia's coffee shop. It's significantly higher quality than all her recipes, at 56%, and its profit margin is a whopping $19.65 per serving. Pair it with a glass of wine and you're making $30 profit just from that. I'm lucky to get $15 in profit from a customer's entire order at the coffee shop.

The rest of the day passes, and since we've met all the main goals we win the mission. Next mission, we'll be going to the TV studio to become a STAR!

Before we get to that, though, I'd like you guys to help me with the décor of our new café!

These are the wall, floor and table options for Delia's café.

These are the additional decorations available. These are unfortunately pretty uninspired, but we will be able to easily edit the textures of those paintings if anyone has any good ideas! Rest assured, though, that we'll be getting some really stupid restaurants later in the game with absolutely incredible decoration options.

Thread poll: what décor should we have in Delia's First Coffee Shop?

Vote on wall, floor and table design. For example, to vote for wall type C, floor type D and table type B, vote "CDB". The winning combination will be whatever has the most votes when I play the next mission. Also, let me know if you want me to add any of the floor or wall decorations.

I have listed all the café recipes currently available in a separate post below. Let me know if there's anything you think I should add to the menu!