❗ DISCLOSURE: SimsVIP received an advanced review copy of The Sims 4 Dine Out in order to provide our readers with this review. Please note that this does not influence the rating decision or the opinions of our editors in any way, shape, or form.
❗ Be sure to check out the SimsVIP Dine Out Game Guide for help with your game.
The Sims 4 Dine Out is the third Game Pack to release for The Sims 4 and introduces a fan-favourite feature in the form of restaurants. Restaurants is a new Venue type that allows your Sims to either visit them as customers or own and run the Restaurant where you get to micromanage almost every detail of them. So, grab a coffee, put your feet up and get comfy – there’s a lot to discuss with The Sims 4 Dine Out!
The Sims 4 Dine Out offers a new destination for our Sims to visit for meals and drinks, either alone, with friends or with the entire family. We are also able to own and manage the new restaurants in ways that will feel familiar to players of The Sims 4 Get to Work’s retail system. Culinary minded Sims can also enjoy a new way of learning how to cook interesting foods with the new feature of Experimental Food Dishes.
There are two ways that you can enjoy the new Restaurant Venue in The Sims 4 Dine Out: visiting them as a customer or running them for yourself. Your experience when visiting the Restaurant will vary drastically depending on the reason for your visit, therefore I’ll be discussing the Restaurant section based on whether you are a Customer or an Owner.
Who doesn’t like going out for dinner and having someone else cook for them after a long days work? Well, for the first time in The Sims 4, our Sims can finally experience the benefits of a home cooked meal outside of their home!
Your Sims can visit a Restaurant in exactly the same way as you would any other lot (because really, why would it suddenly be different?). When they arrive there you can have your Sims reserve a table immediately by either talking to the host or interacting with a table directly. I personally prefer selecting a table myself as it means that I know I’ll get the best seat in the place and not put near the kitchen or bathrooms. Once the Host has shown you to your table, you are free to either order a meal directly or start with drinks at a bar or take part in any other activities that may be available on the lot.
When it does come to ordering your food though, this is as simple as clicking on the table or Waiter and letting them know you are ready to order. Your Sims will sit and browse the menu for a while and you (the player) will be presented with a simple screen that lets you choose the meals and drinks for all the Sims sat at the table (you can choose individual drinks and meals for each Sim). The food and drink available to you will vary depending on which Packs you have installed and also what the set menu is for the lot. The Waiter will come along, take your Sims order and then go and give it to the Chef who will cook it for you. During this time you are free to go back to the bar or do anything else, once the meal has been made and delivered to the table, your Sims will automatically go back to eat their food. Once the food is finished, the Waiter returns and clears away your dishes. You could stay for dessert or pay your bill and leave, but who doesn’t like dessert?
Social Events and Dates for your Sims have also had a slight update to them too. When my Sim went on a Date, the Date Goals had been updated with Restaurant specific goals such as getting a table, ordering food and talking about the food. My Sim also received a call from her romantic interest who invited her out to dinner which she had to pay for, shocking! It’s small touches like this that makes dining out more than just sending your Sim off somewhere to eat, it is seamlessly integrated into the main game itself and feels like it has always been there.If your Sim enjoyed the meal, you are even able to ask the Waiter (or speak directly to the Chef) to let them know that the meal was exquisite. The same is true if the meal wasn’t so good, feel free to complain about it! Sims are able to get food poisoning from food, but in the entire time I was playing my Sim never experienced this. I don’t know if she was just lucky or if maybe there was a bug (pardon the pun) preventing her from getting food poisoning. Either way, it’s nice that this is a potential consequence for eating out. Alexis did tell me that her Sim experienced food poisoning and when her Sim complained, she received her money back.
For the most part the dining experience works. The Host will remain at their station and take Sims to the table, Wait Staff will take and deliver orders as well as clear tables and Chefs will cook the meals. I only experienced one (slight) problem when sending my Sim out and that was that the food wasn’t delivered. At first I just assumed that there was a build-up of orders, but I noticed that Sims who were seated after my Sim were getting their orders, eating and then leaving. I cancelled the interaction (which presented a small pop-up box saying that the order will be cancelled and will have to be reordered). I cancelled and reordered and the meal was delivered this time.
The dining out experience is fun and engaging and it’s always nice to have somewhere new to take our Sims and have new activities for them to take part in. It’s also great that we can edit the lot and menu on the fly while our Sim is visiting (by entering Build Mode).
Running a Restaurant
The other side of The Sims 4 Dine Out is the ability to run your very own Restaurant (or several, if you’re the daring type). This is done in a similar way to purchasing a Retail Store in The Sims 4 Get to Work by either using the phone, or using the updated Business button at the lower right corner of the screen. Either way will take you to the World mode where you can purchase a plot of land or a pre-made restaurant. Your Sim is taken directly to the lot and you transfer funds from your Household bank to your Restaurant bank. You’re then free to build and edit the lot in any way you wish (but be sure to check the Lot Requirements to make sure you have everything placed that is required to run a restaurant). Next hire a Host, Waiter and Chef and select their outfits (from either pre-made outfits, or create your own in Create a Sim).
You’ve got the Restaurant and the staff in place, what’s missing? Oh yeah, the food! Selecting a menu for your restaurant is both simple, complicated and highly rewarding. There are several pre-made menus if you just want to test the waters (simple), or you can get right in there and select everything you want yourself. When I first started a Restaurant, I built a tiny little shack that would be the kitchen and had all the eating spaces be picnic tables outside, this is where the beauty of the Menu Customisation comes into play.
The Chef I hired had no skill in Cooking or Mixology so I knew that if I put high difficulty food on the menu that they would be of extremely poor quality (which isn’t good for custom). But it also didn’t seem like the right establishment to serve swanky and complicated dishes. So instead I opted to stick with basic food and drink like hot dogs, burgers, waffles, ice cream and coffee’s. This really helped me set up a “theme” that I was looking for and I love having this level of customisation with the menu. I also set the prices to very low because the Chef really wasn’t that great and my staff were untrained and for rating purposes, I needed to get my potential customers on-side.
With everything in place it was time to open the (non-existent) doors and see how everything would run. Right off the bat it was a disaster, my Host was rude to people and made the customers drop down from a 3 Star Rating (neutral) to a 2 Star Rating. After they were seated I sent my Sim over to welcome the guests to the place (which I called The Hutch) which resulted in them being happy with the personal touch from the Manager and pushed them back into a 3 Star Rating. The Wait staff went over to them and took their orders and gave them to the Chef who cooked the order. The Waitress then took the food and dropped it right in front of the customers knocking them back down to 2 Stars. The Waitress went back to the Chef and replaced the order. By this time the tables were mostly full and the Waitress was busy taking and delivering orders. The very first customers to enter the place got sick of waiting for their food and left, leaving a 1 Star Rating (very bad). This couldn’t happen again. I approached the Waitress and criticized her clumsiness and then offered her a training course, which she gladly accepted.
As the days went on the Restaurant was doing well ratings wise, but was performing badly financially. The boost in the ratings resulted in more customers, but my staff were overworked and becoming extremely unhappy with working there. To help out I hired a Waiter and promoted all of my pre-existing staff members and bumped up the prices of the food. By business closing my restaurant was in the red financially. Having put every last Simoleon into her restaurant, my Sim was officially broke. Luckily it was only into the red by a about 100 Simoleons so I sent her out gathering for things to sell so The Hutch could open again.
I then had a look through the Perks that could be purchased with the Perk Points awarded while customers were on the lot. I opted to go for the Perk that allowed me to change the ingredient quality. I then dropped the ingredient quality down (which meant I wasn’t paying out so much per dish). I didn’t like doing this, but I had no other alternative if I wanted to start making money instead of losing it.
As time went on, my restaurant operated smoothly (mainly) and profitably. I say mainly because that endless wait time I discussed earlier reared it’s poor quality dish again. It turns out that this endless wait time is caused by a Waiter/Waitress taking an order from the Chef Station and placing it on the ground. The order then disappears and the customers are left waiting until they finally give up and leave (resulting in a 1 Star review). Hopefully this issue is addressed soon in a game update. It is an annoyance, but thankfully it doesn’t happen all too often.
There is also a Restaurant Critique who occasionally shows up. Other than a fancy Star above their head and occasionally whipping out a notepad and pen, I saw no real difference in the gameplay for their rating.
Players of The Sims 4 Get to Work’s Retail system may be worried that old problems will return in Dine Out (such as Staff talking all the time, not doing their job etc). I’m extremely happy to say that this isn’t the case with Dine Out’s staff! Staff will perform their tasks as expected and (unless relieving their bladder) will continue to work until exhausted or the Restaurant closes. Yay!
New with The Sims 4 Dine Out is the ability for our Sims to “unlock” new food options to make at home. Experimental Food isn’t a new skill and already ties with with the Cooking Skill. Sims who have a Cooking Skill level of 5 or higher gain the ability to “study” the new Experimental Food options while dining out at a restaurant. Once eaten they unlock this food to make at home on the new Chef Station. I do wish that these new foods could be made using any stove though as the Chef Station’s are large and oddly shaped which makes them hard to fit into a kitchen at home. Your Sim can also take pictures of these dishes with their phones and hang the photos on a wall. These pictures also count towards a new Collection in the game, so get your Sims eating and snapping!!
New Build and Buy Mode Content
The Sims 4 Dine Out comes with a wide variety of new content in Build and Buy Mode (but mostly Buy Mode). Initially players may be slightly disappointed with the quantity of items on offer, but I am personally glad that there isn’t an endless amount of new items. It seems that The Sims Team decided on quality over quantity and this approach I do approve of. The items that are included are geared more towards a restaurant setting, but many of them are also great for other lots too.
There’s also a new sign making feature introduced that I also feel is an area the Team spent time making sure worked properly instead of just making more items. This feature is the ability to create custom signs for your lots using blank boards that can be free-standing, flat against a wall, or sticking out of a wall. On these boards you can place various decals and stickers to create a “logo” for your establishment. And it works great!!
New Create a Sim Content
Much like the new content for Build and Buy Mode, there isn’t a lot of new content for our Sims to wear in The Sims 4 Dine Out. But what we do get are suitable for the theme of the pack. Many clothing options are geared towards the various roles within a restaurant with a few new clothing options for normal gameplay situations. What we have is fantastic though and while several of the clothing options make use of patterns and designs, most of them also have “plain” versions too. We also get new stuff for kids too that look appropriate for taking the kids out for a family meal and also for everyday wear. Overall, the quality of the items that we have got is fantastic and I can’t complain about any of them.
How does Dine Out play with standard gameplay and other Packs?
Something I like to do as a player is mix up gameplay from all of the packs I have. While Dine Out is very much themed towards Restaurants, it does play well with other Expansion Packs and Stuff Packs from The Sims 4. Since the release of The Sims 4 Get Together, I have wanted to run my own Cafe in the game and Dine Out gives me the tools and ways to do that (with a couple of “limitations”).
I had previously made a Cafe to fit in within Windenburg and since Dine Out was announced, I’ve been wanting to update it with Dine Out’s new features. By simply adding in a Host Station, moving a few items around and adding in a Chef Station and editing the menu to sell Cafe foods, I was able to run a cafe! This same method could also be used to make an Ice Cream place if you have The Sims 4 Cool Kitchen installed.
The Sims 4 Dine Out is probably my favourite pack released for The Sims 4 so far! While it may be a Game Pack, it is bubbling over with Expansion Pack gameplay features and the developers have clearly listened to the feedback from fans who weren’t too happy with the Retail System from The Sims 4 Get To Work.
It doesn’t seem like we are getting a lot of new things with this Game Pack, but I do hope that people will realise that the development team seem to have spent more time in getting the gameplay features to work efficiently instead of just throwing new items our way.
The pack also caters to all types of players. Being a family player myself, I love that I can take the whole family out for dinner and the kids (and adults) can draw on the place mats at the table while the parents chat over a glass of Nectar. You can even take these drawings home with you!
For a Game Pack, The Sims 4 Dine Out has a quality to it that could easily be mistook for an Expansion Pack. The wait for Dine Out has certainly been worth it! I love the way that taking my Sims out for meals works and I love the challenge presented by running a restaurant. It’s a system you can’t cheat easily for it to be successful and I am glad of that!
The Sims 4 Dine Out is available now on Origin. Thank you for taking the time to read this review and I hope it has helped you make a decision about the expansion pack.
Take care and have an amazing day!
Peter (Wee Albet)