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Video Game / Cook, Serve, Delicious!

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Cook, Serve, Delicious! is a cooking-themed microgame game by David "Chubigans" Galindo, released for iOS, Android and Windows/OS X through the Steam Greenlight system in October 2013.

The titular restaurant was once a thriving source of fantastic food, but then it declined in popularity, and fell into disrepair. You, the player, have inherited the restaurant, and have to complete a set of objectives to hopefully raise the restaurant up through the star ratings. Orders are served by completing various timing and keyboard-based minigames as quickly as possible, while also having to contend with various chores such as rat traps, increased litter, dirty plates and the toilet. On top of this, you're also getting attention from the host of a cookery-based TV show, along with regular supplies of mysterious golden tickets. Only by progressing through the star ratings can this become clear to the player.

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After becoming a surprise hit on its release, a sequel, Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!, was announced in July 2015 and subsequently released on September 13, 2017. A third game called Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3?! was announced in August 2019 and is scheduled for a Steam Early Access release in the beginning of 2020.


RUSH HOUR! The dawn of a new era of tropes is at hand:

  • After the End: After dropping various hints in the first two games, CSD3 outright confirms that the setting takes place in a post-nuclear war world.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: In CSD3, every town has its local currency that is then converted to a cryptocurrency that you use to buy things. However, the more you level up, these local currencies are worth progressively less instead of more, as you'd expect. The Doylist reason is obviously to maintain balance since you get more and more customers the more you advance in the game but the in-universe reason is pretty non-existent.
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  • Aliens in Cardiff: In CSD3, it's implied that as a result of the war, a lot of the United States' major metropolitan areas have been destroyed and what are today much less relevant towns have grown to take their place. Your trip takes you to places like Boise, Idaho; Moab, Utah; Wall, South Dakota; Wichita, Kansas; Marietta, Oklahoma and Nashville, Tennessee; the latter being the U.S' new capital.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The reason why you have to start with virtually nothing in a brand new tower in the sequel? You'll only learn about it if you read the steam store page. The game itself simply drops you into the new tower without any explanation as to what happened to the old one. The 1.5 update finally included an intro explaining this.
    • Almost all of the world-building for the second game is done via emails, which not all players check.
  • Aluminium Christmas Trees: Casu marzu. While this cheese isn't used as a wine flavour like the game suggests, such a variety of cheese does exist. And it's a little squickier than the game implies.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: CSD3 added several:
    • To account for the fact that orders now come in large bursts instead of trickling in steadily over time (basically turning each stop into a self-contained Rush Hour), you can pull up an order listing between stops that shows exactly what orders will be coming in at the next stop, allowing you to plan ahead with your Holding Stations.
    • There's now a special button that allows you to serve all orders that are ready simultaneously. This was done because the creator found serving multiple orders quickly with a controller was nigh impossible when having to select each order individually.
    • Several of the more annoying ways to fail orders have been removed or tweaked; for instance, the game will generally no longer let you add too many of the same ingredient or perform an action like tenderizing meat too many times, at least in recipes where there's no reason you would ever want to go over the limit.
  • Apocalypse How: At least a Regional Societal Collapse. As revealed in the Good Japan restaurant's description, by the time of the second game, great flooding had caused the entirety of Japan to sink into the ocean. Because of this, most of the populace took refuge in Canada, in an area newly-christened "Nova Japan". Many of the food and decoration descriptions also reference some sort of "Blue War" that, among other things, resulted in at least five different statesnote  being bombed to Hell and back (with at least one of said bombings implied to be nuclear) and several other states going underwater. The CSD3 reveal trailer establishes right from the beginning that the US has devolved into Mad Max-esque anarchy.
  • Bag of Spilling:
    • How 2 justifies having you start from scratch once again. The owners of the tower the first game took place in got caught embezzling, and the entire tower was seized and auctioned off, including your restaurant.
    • CSD3 takes it a step further, with the Teragon Supertower apparently having been shelled into oblivion. With the USA apparently becoming too unstable to set up a static location, you take to piloting a food truck across the country, serving hungry customers at various stops along the way.
  • The Bet: These can happen either from an automated betting service, or a mysterious, smug individual called Crazy Dave, requiring certain circumstances to arise on top of a perfect combo.
  • Button Mashing:
    • Serving wine requires the player to uncork a wine bottle by hammering the up arrow key quickly...after using the W key to make sure the right kind of wine is selected, in the case of the upgraded wines.
    • Similarly, tenderizing chicken meat can come across as this in a hurry, since a perfect order requires exactly six hits of the tenderizing key. It's slightly easier in the sequel because there's a visual indication of how much your chicken has been tenderized. However, be careful not to tenderize it more than six times, or it will be reduced into a mess and get a bad order!
    • In the sequel, sushi needs to be cut nine times before it can be served.
    • Also in the sequel, the trash chore becomes this as the day progresses and the trash needs to be mashed into the dumpster.
  • Call-Back: In the sequel, there's an achievement for completing twenty days of service in Cook, Serve, Delicious mode, referencing the most notorious requirement for completing each rank in the first game. It's even titled "The Good Ol' Days" to drive the point home.
  • The Cameo: On top of the generic chef characters, the "Battle Kitchen" mode involves a large handful of characters from various other indie games as unlockables.
  • Chef of Iron: In the sequel, you deal with armed robbers by punching/kicking them to submission, usually within a matter of seconds, making the player character this.
  • Crapsaccharine World:
    • Many of the food descriptions and emails in CSD2 reference how at least nine US states are completely gone, how Japan has sunk into the ocean, and the existence of a "Blue War" that ravaged much of the US, among other things. Yet you wouldn't know it just by playing the game, which is about as innocuous as they come.
    • Zig-zagged in CSD3, when you finally get to see the current state of the country first-hand. Among other things, most of the East Coast (along with the entire state of Oregon) is completely underwater, much of the rest of the country is either a blasted wasteland or a sea of flames, Washington and Hawaii have defected to Canada, and Texas has seceded from the Union and built a massive wall around itself. As far as the game itself is concerned, Teragon Supertower from the previous game has been completely destroyed by artillery fire, and you are regularly attacked by rival food trucks. Yet overall, it's still the same silly, hectic cooking game it's always been.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!:
    • CSD2 requires an additional button press to complete chores, unlike the original which ended a chore as soon as all of its tasks were completed. Cue many a CSD veteran sitting dumbfounded at a completed chore, wondering why it won't go away.
    • Ramen originally had the first ingredients to be added (Oil and Ramen Noodles) at the end of the ingredient list, unlike every other food which allowed you to read it left to right. This was later patched out.
  • Deep-Fried Whatever: In the sequel, there's a restaurant named "poppers & crunchies" revolves around such food.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Soup takes a long time to prepare and requires lots of ingredients, but it's also both a staple food and one of the more expensive items on the menu.
  • Difficulty Spike: Earning a new star activates an automatic 30% Buzz increase for the three days following. Those three days will likely be significantly more difficult than the days leading up to attaining said star.
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: Played straight at first, subverted when the player buys the "commercial toilet" upgrade.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: Buzz. The higher your buzz percentage, the more frequently customers will arrive outside of rush hour, meaning more money but also having a lot more to do and less time to breathe when rush hour ends. Certain actions and modifiers (such as getting perfect/bad orders, passing or failing a health inspection or earning a star) will raise or lower your buzz for the next day, and your buzz will even change throughout the day depending on the weather or what items are on your menu.
  • Early Game Hell:
    • With low-earning foods and low Buzz, money is extremely difficult to earn at the beginning of the game, meaning that saving up for those vital food and equipment upgrades will be a very slow process. Once foods start getting upgraded and additional earning opportunities become available, this becomes much less of an issue.
    • Washing dishes and throwing out the trash are also immensely time-consuming chores until you buy their respective first upgrades, making it hard to maintain a combo if they come up during rush hour.
    • This is somewhat averted if you start a game on extreme difficulty, as the game starts you off with much more money, easily enough to nab all the chore-quickening upgrades, and gives a permanent 50% boost in buzz, along with two additional workstations. However the game quickly becomes very tough to keep up with due to the other changes extreme mode makes.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery:
    • Zen mode in CSD2 gives customers infinite patience and removes rush hours from shifts. However completing Chef 4 Hire shifts in Zen mode can only award bronze medals at best, regardless of performance.
    • CSD3 has Chill mode, which gives infinite patience to customers. However, the best you can earn in the mode are silver medals, even if you get perfect days.
  • Excuse Plot: You have to help a dilapidated restaurant climb through the star ratings by serving enough orders and making enough money. Minigames ensue.
  • Featureless Protagonist: In CSD3, while the protagonist is sometimes shown onscreen, the game is careful to show nothing but a massive chef hat that completely obscures their features; likewise, your companions use gender-neutral pronouns when talking about you.
  • Final-Exam Boss: The Hungry Festivities challenges play out like this, with each requiring you to make one of every recipe for one specific menu item.
  • Food Porn: It's a restaurant sim, what were you expecting?
  • The Gambler: Crazy Dave
  • Gratuitous French: The default wine type is named "Le Cheap".
  • Gratuitous Japanese: In the sequel, the words "Begin", "Finish" and "Rush Hour" are in Japanese.
  • Gratuitous Ninja: A secluded clan of ninjas appear as the people behind the mysterious golden tickets.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The Robbery Chore. The idea is to select various traits to build up a face based on the description. What the game doesn't tell you is that the labels next to the key prompts help in determining which traits are which. Thankfully, this chore is the rarest, so it's more of a momentary annoyance, particularly with a massive revenue stream.
    • Enchiladas originally required each tortilla to cook in the pan for about half a second before they could be flipped out. Other than an easily-missed remark in the practice mode, there was absolutely no in-game indication that this was required, leading many to conclude that the food was broken. In response, a patch was released that made the tortillas cook instantaneously.
  • Harder Than Hard: Extreme Difficulty, which gives you a permanent +50% buzz boost, drastically decreases customers' patience, and turns all Rush Hours into Super Rush Hours, in which orders flood into all of your open prep stations at once instead of coming in one at a time. The difficulty selection screen warns you that it's nearly impossible.
  • The Inspector Is Coming: Occasionally, a health inspector will come, and failing to complete a chore while she's around will result in you failing the inspection.
  • Interface Screw: In CSD3, getting shot at by a rival food truck will usually result in at least one of your holding stations being knocked out of commission, making preparing for future stops more difficult. Getting hacked, on the other hand will make it impossible to see Today's Menu, making it more difficult to gauge demand.
  • Jump Scare: The gunshot sound that heralds the arrival of the robbery chore . Since this is the rarest chore, this can easily come as a surprise to the player.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The description for the sequel reveals that five platinum stars is the highest possible ranking in the first game.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Any of Crazy Dave's bets that require making a certain amount in tips. Even with high Buzz and every item on the menu being a Big Tipper, whether or not you reach the goal is entirely dependent on whether or not customers actually feel like tipping.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: One song in 3 is an upbeat Toto-esque 80s number about nervously going through a neighborhood that's really gone downhill.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: The Battle Kitchen mode includes as unlockables characters from Risk of Rain, Hotline Miami, Rogue Legacy, Ghost Song: A Journey Of Hope, Gang Beasts, Assault Android Cactus, Speedrunners, Shovel Knight, Nuclear Throne, SUPERHOT, Luftrausers, Lethal League, Nidhogg, FTL: Faster Than Light, Dust: An Elysian Tail, Joe Danger, PixelJunk Monsters, Pixel Junk Nom Nom Galaxy, and Stealth, Inc. 2.
  • Money for Nothing: A decently skilled player should be able to buy all foods and upgrades around the time they earn their fifth star, making money entirely superfluous at that point. It gets even worse in the sequel, with there not being nearly as much to spend your money on as well as Chef for Hire serving as an additional source of income.
  • Mouse Trap: The rat-trapping chore requires you to set up one of these.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • Placing down any ingredient results in a "thwack" sound. This can get very absurd if the player has managed to get very good at a given minigame and/or has rebound the controls, such as binding Q, W, E and R to the four initial ingredients of lasagna.
    • Going into and out of rush hour has never been so grand.
    RUSH HOUR! THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA OF FEASTING IS AT HAND!
    RUSH HOUR OVER! THE PERIOD OF EATING IS AT REST!
    • The Super Rush Hours of Extreme Difficulty take this Up to Eleven; when they start, your entire restaurant is engulfed in flames... and then the ninjas start coming in.
  • Mugging the Monster: Given that the sequel's robbery chore has changed from providing an identikit picture for the police to disarming and taking down the thief yourself with your newfound martial arts skills, it's safe to say anyone dumb enough to rob the restaurant while you're on shift is guilty of this.
  • New Game+: Reaching the platinum star ranking unlocks a New Game+ mode on Extreme Difficulty which carries over your progress towards achievements.
  • Next Sunday A.D.:
    • Certain food descriptions in the sequel imply that the series is set in the mid-21st century, if not later (and possibly in an alternate universe). You can't really tell, though, based on the kitchen equipment and restaurant decor.
    • Averted in CSD3: it's explicitly stated to take place in the year 2042, most of the USA has visibly gone to complete hell, and you're accompanied by two wise-cracking robots throughout the game.
  • Obvious Beta: CSD2 originally shipped with a plethora of bugs and missing features, making it feel very bareboned in comparison to the first game. It wasn't until the 1.5 update, released a few months after the game came out, that most of the missing content was finally restored.
  • Rapid-Fire Typing: With the appropriate key bindings, the player can do this easily to alleviate certain difficult foods.
  • Robot Buddy: You get two of them in CSD3.
  • Romance Sidequest: If a love interest is coming round on a certain day, and you manage to get his/her order right, (s)he'll then text you, requiring you to select the non-insulting response. During work hours.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike:
    • Compare the early days of the first game with the early stages of the sequel's Chef For Hire mode. You may start panicking now.
    • The third game ramps up quickly, starting from the second stage onwards.
  • Sequel Escalation: The sequel promises to surpass the original in several ways:
    • The first game has 30 menu items to choose from. The sequel has over 180.
    • Stars in the first game are earned one at a time, with five platinum stars being awarded immediately after the five star rank. The sequel awards stars in half-star increments, including platinum stars (making for a total of 21 ranks vs. the original's 7).
  • Serious Business: Restaurant management and cooking was always treated this way, with elaborate betting pools and ludicrously over the top cooking competitions and festivals, but 3 takes it to new heights with one of the new mechanics involves gunfights in the streets with rival food trucks.
  • Shameless Self-Promoter: The player becomes this during a minigame where a tablet appears, and the person with it asks the player to thumb up a photo of their food. This results in a slight boost to the buzz percentage, so evidently, this works.
  • Shout-Out:
    "Show the robber who's boss. FINISH HIM!!!!"
    • In the sequel, one of the Burrito recipes is called Super Meat Boy. The v1.1 update added a booster with the same name revolving around having enough meats on the active menu.
  • Simple, yet Awesome:
    • Wine is extremely simple to make (just pick the right bottle and then pull the cork out) and a staple item (meaning it can stay on the menu indefinitely with no Buzz penalty), yet fully upgraded it can net you $60 in one order, making it the single most lucrative food in the game. The only major downside is that the amount you earn depends on the order, but even the cheapest wine is as expensive as a fully-upgraded Soda or Beer, both of which are easier to mess up.
    • Lobster is as simple as boiling the lobster and then selecting the correct sauces when it's done, yet fully upgraded it nets you $40 a plate. The only major downside is that messing up the sauces will result in an automatic Bad order, but with only five sauces to choose from, this should be an extremely rare occurrence at best.
    • Prepping chicken breasts is as simple as whacking it the correct number of times with a tenderizer and then cooking it, and all upgrades are simply acquiring higher-quality chicken breasts with no extra prep work or recipe cards, with the highest quality chicken going for $20 a plate.
  • Spammer: Spam messages show up in your in-game email inbox, and these can be turned off with an upgrade.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Ore no Ryouri, an obscure PlayStation game with very similar gameplay. This is no coincidence; the game is actually the third sequel to a series of fan games named Ore no Ryomi. Posts in the developer's blog related to Cook, Serve, Delicious! are still even tagged as "Ore no Ryomi 3".
  • Super Identikit: The rarest chore in the game involves getting robbed, and someone gives you a description to base a sketch on.
  • Take That!:
    • One of the emails is a thinly-veiled dig at terrible Sonic the Hedgehog Fan Fiction: basically, "Sawnik" proposes to "Aimee" after defeating "Dr. Eggguy", causing his friend "Trails" to become jealous and plot revenge.
    • The sequel has a chain of emails taking a jab at the notorious tendency of AAA game companies to work their employees to the bone, only to turn around and axe most non-senior staff once a game doesn't meet sales expectations.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • In the first game, robbery chores involved providing a description of the robber. In the sequel, you beat the robber up.
    • Taken to even further extremes in CSD3, where you sometimes get into shootouts with rival food trucks. While driving.
  • Wine Is Classy: Hence why it's a "staple food".
  • You Have Researched Breathing: After unlocking meat and then vegetables to use in your lasagna recipes, the final lasagna upgrade is...using meat and vegetables at the same time. Lampshaded in the upgrade description.
  • Zerg Rush: Rush Hours - 60 seconds where EVERY order slot is full and customers are replaced almost as quickly as you serve them. And you have to deal with these twice a day. It's usually during these periods that experienced players make or break their Perfect Day ranking.

RUSH HOUR OVER! The period of tropes is at rest.
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