Think you've played enough Kairosoft management games to last you a lifetime? Think again. Cafeteria Nipponica is the latest time sink from the prolific Japanese developer, putting you in charge of a bustling chain of restaurants.
As with every Kairosoft game, there's a serious level of depth to be found once you're scratched away the surface.
Looking after a restaurant might not sound as exciting as populating the cosmos in Epic Astro story, or being part of an epic RPG in Dungeon Village, but Kairosoft's newest pound of Android crack still has plenty of secrets for you to uncover.
If you need a hand choosing your dishes and organising your staff, Pocket Gamer has served up the following guide, and hopefully it will be to your taste.
You'd do anything for money
It's a lot trickier to handle your cash flow in Cafeteria Nipponica than any in other Kairosoft game, thanks to a couple of key factors.
First off, whenever January rolls around, make sure you start saving your cash. Staff payday happens once a year (in April), and if you have a good few staff members, you may well find up to $20,000 coming out of your budget in one go.
Obviously, if you haven't prepared for this, you may find yourself unable to do anything for the next few months as you frantically save to pay off your debts. To make sure that you don't get caught in a vicious pay cycle, save up some wonga between January and April.
You can try to work out the yearly salary by going to 'View Info' and 'Staff Members' in the menu, and then adding up all the salaries one by one (noting which staff have actually worked and which haven't), but it's a lot easier to simply be on your guard and play it safe.
Following on from the above tip, it's always a good idea to be prepared in every case. For example, your team will go hunting for ingredients four times a year, but if you don't have enough money when the time comes, you simply won't be able to go.
With this in mind, it's a really good idea to always have at least a few grand saved up in your bank account so that if you do get caught off-guard, you at least have enough to pay for something and don't waste the opportunity.
Another benefit of continually keeping your account topped up arises when you purchase a new restaurant. The game will automatically open your restaurant for you, with the items you have in your stockroom and the staff in your break room.
If you have no stock or staff waiting, your restaurant wil remain empty and no one will visit, thereby costing you valuable time and money. So, before you open a new restuarant, hire some staff and stick them in the break room, ready and willing. Same with the stock - grab your tables and furniture before you hit go.
Bring the whole family
One area of the game that isn't explained all that well is the attracting of new clients to your restaurants. Each piece of furniture and recipe brings in specific customers types, such as students or old people.
Here's the trick, though: at some point, a window will pop up telling you that a certain type of person (e.g. a student) is going to come into your restaurant regularly. At that point, get rid of everything that attracts students and focus elsewhere.
The student will continue to visit, and now you can attempt to attract a different type of person as well. Eventually, if you attract a broad enough range of demographics, your restaurants will be jam-packed.
Use different items and remodel your restaurants through the 'Plans' menu to bring in the whole crowd and to boost your cash flow expeditiously.
Recipe for success
There are two angles to approach building recipes - you can either boost your current batch, or mix ingredients together to form new ones.
When you boot the game up for the first time, it's a good idea to attempt to complete as many new recipes as possible, for the simple fact that the majority of the starting recipes are awful, while the later recipes start out with decent stats.
Whenever your cook finishes a recipe, go to your cookbook and find a recipe you haven't yet tried. Check the ingredients it needs, and if you don't have them, go to 'Buy Ingredients' in the menu and see if the shop has them.
Once you find a recipe for which you have the ingredients (or for which you can buy the ingredients), select that. After a while, you should find that you'll research far better recipes with much better statistics.
A couple of extra pointers
Make sure to note that expansions for restaurants don't follow the restaurants to new locations. That is, if you expand a restaurant and then move it to a new location, you'll have a tiny place in the new area, rather than the expanded one.
However, if you then build a new restaurant in that original place, that one will come already expanded. With this in mind, it's not really worth expanding the restaurant that you get in the first area, as you'll be moving out of there pretty sharpish.
Finally, when you're given the option to hire a super chef, make sure to offer them more money as bribes, rather than a boosted salary. The salary will stick around forever, while the cash is only a short-term loss.
Keep in mind, too, that even if the super chef crosses the finishing line, he may still move back over it before the time runs out, so throw him a couple more bundles of cash as the timer is reaching the end just in case.