18 Best Games Where You Run A Restaurant

Gamers who want to bring their love of cooking into gaming may appreciate business simulators – especially those that let gamers fulfill their dreams of being restaurant managers. Thankfully, the gaming world doesn’t fall short of restaurant simulation games for casual and strategic minds alike.

In fact, certain games offer a simpler simulation experience through mini-games or a hardcore restaurant management sim where budgeting and supplies remain an integral part of the game experience. Just which restaurant sims deserve that chef’s kiss of approval?

Updated on July 22, 2023, by Jenny O’Connor: The culinary world has long fascinated gamers, and the virtual realm offers a delightful playground for players to improve their cooking and managerial skills. From dishing out delectable pizzas to crafting gourmet delicacies from around the globe, restaurant simulation games have become a beloved genre that combines creativity, strategy, and mouthwatering fun.

Whether players identify as an aspiring pizza maker, a culinary prodigy, or a seasoned master chef, these games offer a wide array of challenges and experiences for players to satisfy their virtual cravings. Players can get ready to enter a world of delightful ingredients, demanding customers, and the thrill of building a culinary empire.

18 One-Armed Cook A render featuring how gameplay may appear in One-Armed Cook. Released August 30, 2022. Available on PC.

Embark on a culinary journey in One-armed Cook, where players take on the role of a chef who has one simple issue – they only have one arm. Master the art of multitasking, slicing, dicing, and cooking up delectable dishes for demanding customers while dealing with the fun and clever physics incorporated into the game.

The game’s chaotic gameplay showcases the power of perseverance in conquering all obstacles in the kitchen. Explore diverse cuisines, upgrade the restaurant, and witness the satisfaction on customers’ faces. Players will rise to the top, becoming a legendary chef with a single arm in this cooking adventure, also available for multiplayer.

17 Good Pizza, Great Pizza A screenshot featuring gameplay from Good Pizza, Great Pizza. Released November 27, 2014. Available on PC, Android, iOS and Nintendo Switch.

Enter the world of dough and toppings in Good Pizza, Great Pizza, assuming the role of an aspiring pizza maker. Players satisfy customers’ pizza cravings by crafting their dream pies. The game challenges culinary skills with dough stretching and creative topping combinations to reach pizza perfection.

Encounter quirky characters, handle eccentric pizza requests, and face fierce pizza critics while managing the pizzeria. Aim to create the finest pizza in town, build a loyal customer base, and unlock new ingredients and recipes. Become a true pizza maestro, building an empire of pizza goodness in this immersive cooking experience.

16 Cooking Mama: Let’s Cook! A screenshot featuring gameplay from Cooking Mama Let's cook! Released February 26, 2014. Available for Android, iOS, Wii, Nintendo DS.

Embark on a delightful cooking adventure with Cooking Mama in Cooking Mama: Let’s Cook! Players embrace their inner chef as Mama guides them through various recipes and techniques. Chop, stir, and bake their way to culinary expertise using intuitive touch controls. The game offers step-by-step instructions to prepare mouthwatering meals from around the world.

Fun mini-games test cooking speed and accuracy, earning rewards to upgrade kitchen tools. With Mama’s nurturing presence and delightful graphics, Cooking Mama: Let’s Cook!provides a family-friendly cooking experience that’s both entertaining and educational.

15 World Chef A screenshot featuring gameplay from World Chef. Released April 6, 2016. Available for Android and iOS.

Experience the diversity and creativity of the culinary world in World Chef. Players build and manage their own restaurant, catering to a global audience with distinct tastes. Players can hire skilled staff, decorate the dining space, and whip up a plethora of international dishes. Satisfying hungry patrons, including celebrities and VIPs, earns fame and accolades.

Collaborating with other players, trading ingredients, and participating in thrilling events enhance the gameplay. Players expand their restaurant empire, unlock new recipes, and dazzle their clientele. With vibrant graphics and engaging gameplay, World Chef offers a flavorful adventure for food enthusiasts and entrepreneurs alike.

14 Recipe For Disaster An image from the game Recipe For Disaster Released August 5, 2022. Available on PC.

Seemingly inspired by retro cooking games like Diner Dash with elements of The Sims, Recipe For Disaster is an intense real-time restaurant management simulator. Players are challenged to run their own dining establishment, all while managing their staff and menu.

With all the stresses of a real-life restaurant, players must be wary of dietary requirements and allergies when preparing their menu and experimenting with different ingredients. These menu alterations could potentially be the all-important difference between their restaurant flourishing, to the player finding themselves out of business.

13 Cooking Simulator A banner showcasing the game Cooking Simulator. Released June 6, 2019. Available to play on PC, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch .

Players who want to experience the joys of cooking and running their own restaurant will have a blast in Cooking Simulator! As the name suggests, players can hand-make delicious culinary delights for customers with over 80 different recipes to master, with more unlocked in the various available DLC!

Cooking Simulator is one of the most realistic restaurant sims on the market, as players have an arsenal of kitchen utensils at their disposal to experiment with. A practical and meticulous detail means that the ingredient measurements will affect the overall end quality of the dish. Players can have free reign of the kitchen without all the real-life mess!

12 PlateUp! A screenshot of gameplay featuring PlateUp! Released August 4, 2022. Available on PC.

Seemingly inspired by the beloved Overcooked series, PlateUp! is a similar game that sees up to four players frantically dashing around a kitchen. They must cook and fulfill customer orders in a restaurant they have designed and built from the ground up, being wary not to cause any fires!

Featuring classic chaotic co-op action, players can cooperate together on dishes with their own separate roles like sous chef and pot-washer. Their menu can also be customized and curated with different offerings, from simple steak to more complex dishes. PlateUp! is the perfect couch-cooking party game to play with friends!

11 Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3?! A screenshot of gameplay featuring Cook Serve Delicious 3 Released October 14, 2020. Available on Nintendo Switch, Playstation, Xbox, and PC.

Players who want to start off easy in restaurant management sims might appreciate the food truck experience offered by Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3?! In this title, players travel around the country preparing for the National Foodtruck Championships. As such, many dishes featured in the game aren’t massive and complex entrées. Rather, there’s a lot of focus on popular street foods and other global cuisines.

Unlike other hardcore restaurant management sims, the Cook, Serve, Delicious! franchise focus more on time-pressured order completion. Players are given a dish with specific ingredients and press the keys corresponding to them. The faster they accomplish their orders, the more satisfied their customers are. And the more experience they get at every level, the more complex their menu offerings become.

10 Cake Mania: Main Street A screenshot of gameplay featuring Cake Mania Main Street. Released February 16, 2010. Available on PC.

Fans of Cooking Dash who want a more baking-oriented restaurant sim might appreciate Cake Mania: Main Street. As the name implies, players take on the role of Jill as she opens her new bakery. However, her goals don’t just stop there. She wants to expand her restaurant to compete with the best bakeries throughout Main Street.

At its core, gameplay resembles that of Cooking Dash. Cake Mania uses a time-management cooking system where customers wait patiently in line as Jill prepares their sweet treats using careful steps. Players need to quickly bake pastries, and an assortment of bread and cakes ensure customer satisfaction and extra tips.

9 Coffee Tycoon A screenshot of gameplay featuring Coffee Tycoon. Released April 30, 2005. Available on PC.

Despite its age, Coffee Tycoon is perhaps one of the most comprehensive looks into coffee in the context of a business simulator. Released in 2005, this PC game tasks players with running the best cafe in town.

The game features two modes of play. In a planning mode, players get to assess the current state of their shop. These include their employees, their existing menu, potential upgrades, and frequent customers. However, in the simulation mode, players need to wait and see if their planning efforts paid off in attracting customers for the day and what else they may need to improve.

8 The Sushi Spinnery A screenshot of gameplay featuring Sushi Spinnery. Released July 3, 2012. Available on Android and iOS.

Players who want an engaging business sim on their smartphones might want to try The Sushi Spinnery. The Sushi Spinnery offers a unique premise with how players create and manage a sushi bar. As such, players need to plan the layout of their restaurant and keep an eye on other small tasks.

For instance, players need to manage which dishes to serve and which items to prioritize making. This is a great way to simulate the feeling of running their own sushi bar for sushi fans and those new to Japanese cuisine. The Sushi Spinnery grants players an accessible medium for experiencing some popular Japanese dishes.

7 Cooking Dash A screenshot of gameplay featuring Cooking Dash. Released August 12, 2009. Available for Android and iOS.

Nothing can beat classics, and there’s nothing more classic in restaurant sims than the wonder that is Cooking Dash. Despite its quirky comics-style graphics, Cooking Dash still offers many challenges for its time-based management gameplay. Essentially, players start by assembling dishes by going through the necessary equipment throughout the kitchen. They then need to serve these dishes to customers before their patience runs out.

The thing is, Cooking Dash ramps up the challenge quickly as players progress through levels. Eventually, players must remain on top of their game despite their efforts to optimize their kitchen space.

6 Overcooked 2 A screenshot of gameplay featuring Overcooked 2. Released August 7, 2018. Available on Nintendo Switch, Playstation, Xbox, and PC.

The kitchen is where the stakes are high and the temperature is even higher! Thanks to Overcooked 2, players can finally experience what it’s like being on the frontlines of a restaurant. In Overcooked 2, up to four players can test their endurance in the kitchen during extremely busy shifts. Every level is different, with extreme layouts to overcome through the power of teamwork and coordination!

As expected in a restaurant, timing and panicking are integral (and fun!) elements of Overcooked 2. As teammates run around like headless chickens, the wrong ingredients get chopped, and food inevitably gets burned! Watch as friendships shatter and family relationships get tense while virtual customers eagerly await their orders.

5 Restaurant Empire 2 A screenshot of gameplay featuring Restaurant Empire 2. Released June 1, 2009. Available on PC.

In Restaurant Empire 2, players take charge of building and managing their restaurants. Players begin by choosing their specific cuisine specialization (American, Italian, German, or French) and creating the restaurant of their own choice. Additionally, players need to pay particular attention to specific statistics between their staff and customers.

In turn, Restaurant Empire 2 has this minor micromanagement element that earned the ire of some gamers. For instance, players must track how long customers wait in line as they grow impatient. Rather, they sometimes boast a high budget in place of high-quality expectations. Players looking to manage these tiny elements will appreciate Restaurant Empire 2.

4 Pizza Connection 3 A screenshot of gameplay featuring Pizza Connection 3. Released March 22, 2018. Available on PC.

Why settle for a restaurant when players can finally create their favorite pizzas in their very own pizzeria? With Pizza Connection 3, players can bake the pizza of their dreams, some even topped with pineapple! In this pizzeria simulator, players build their own restaurant from scratch – complete with nearby establishments that may or may not lead to more customers.

When players construct their shops, they even need to select designations for certain rooms to denote their role. Typical to business games, Pizza Connection 3 will also have players keep track of statistics, employees, marketing, and research of their own pizzerias. However, the game also features an in-depth menu option and the unique feature of sabotaging competitors.

3 Coffee Shop Tycoon A screenshot of gameplay featuring Coffee Shop Tycoon. Released December 5, 2016. Available on PC.

Contrary to the business-heavy Coffee Tycoon, the experience of Coffee Shop Tycoon focuses more on the active aspect of management. In this quirky-looking game, players build and take charge of their coffee shop. They might start small with a tiny space that can accommodate a few tables into a sprawling coffee house tailored to executives and their favorite caffeinated drinks.

What makes Coffee Shop Tycoon interesting is its rather deep approach to the management side of the coffee shop. Aside from tending to customers, players also need to manage little things such as equipment and inventory. In fact, they also need to pay close attention not just to their stock of coffee but to their freshness.

2 Chef: A Restaurant Tycoon Game A screenshot of gameplay featuring Chef: A Restaurant Tycoon Game. Released December 6, 2018. Available on PC.

Aspiring chefs get to don their own apron and hat in Chef: A Restaurant Tycoon Game as they become rising stars in the realm of cooking. Embarking on a journey to the top of the food chain, players have humble beginnings with a small restaurant and little money. They must build up their empire, as they must work to boost their restaurants’ popularity and become world-regarded professional chefs.

Having all the necessary features of a traditional restaurant simulator, Chef: A Restaurant Tycoon Game allows players to hire their own staff, fully customize their restaurant, and even choose their specialty food. From exotic meals to a vegan-catering menu – there’s something to suit every palette and keep customers coming back for more! ​​​​​​​

1 The Sims 4: Dine Out Dine Out Render - Two sims being served by a waiter as a chef looks on. Released June 7, 2016. Available on Playstation, Xbox and PC.

The Sims 4 has dominated the gaming scene and increased in popularity since becoming free-to-play in 2022. As such, tons of additional content is available, including the purchasable Dine Out game pack. It allows Sims fans to get first-hand experience building and owning their own restaurant and gives them micromanagement skills.

The Sims 4 allows many dreams to become a virtual reality, and it becomes possible to build anyone’s dream restaurant. Not only that, but players can also choose who they hire, the employee’s uniforms, and hand-select the dining menus from scratch. Although Dine Out is not an expansion pack, it adds exciting content that Sims 4 players and aspiring chefs should definitely check out!

More: Most Iconic Restaurants In Video Games

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