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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.


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 left Early Access on October 14, 2020.

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

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    Tropes common to more than one game in the series 
  • After the End: The series takes place a couple of decades in the future, in which America has been ravaged by several disasters both natural and manmade, causing several states either to become irradiated wastelands or to sink into the ocean. While all this is mentioned throughout CSD2 in the form of flavor text and emails, CSD3 throws you right into the thick of it.
  • Aluminium Christmas Trees: Casu marzu. While this cheese isn't used as a wine flavor like the game suggests, such a variety of cheese does exist. And it's a little squickier than the game implies.
  • Art Evolution: The food in the first game were fairly simple cartoony drawings, but in the sequels they're drawn more realistically with more details, and with the sheer number of new foods added to the game, it's not easy playing the game without feeling hungry.
  • Button Mashing: 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!
  • 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.
  • Excuse Plot: You have to help a dilapidated restaurant (or, in the case of the third game, a food truck) climb through the star ratings by serving enough orders and making enough money. Minigames ensue.
  • Food Porn: It's a restaurant sim, what were you expecting? Much more prevalent from the second game onward, when the food art received massive improvements to the point of looking nearly photorealistic at times. Good luck not getting hungry while playing.
  • 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.
  • Rapid-Fire Typing: With the appropriate key bindings, the player can do this easily to alleviate certain difficult foods.
  • Serious Business: Restaurant management and cooking was always treated this way, with elaborate betting pools and ludicrously over the top cooking competitions and festivals. The third game takes it to new heights, however, with one of the new mechanics involving gunfights in the streets with rival food trucks.
  • 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 the first game are still even tagged as "Ore no Ryomi 3".
  • Wine Is Classy: Hence why it's a "staple food".
  • 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.

    Tropes exclusive to the first game 
  • Anti-Frustration Features: In Extreme Difficulty, due to the sheer volume of orders you'll receive, it's possible that, during a Cook4Luv date, you won't receive the texting minigame. Should this happen, the date automatically counts as a success as long as you made your date's order correctly earlier on. High-level players will start deliberately slowing down their serving towards the end of the day so as to keep as few workstations open as possible, thus minimizing the chances of the game appearing (since the game's length is pretty much a death sentence for a full perfect combo).
  • The Bet: These can happen either from an automated betting service, or a mysterious, smug individual called Crazy Dave. These typically require certain items being on your menu in addition to achieving a perfect combo of a certain length.
  • 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).
  • 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. See Massive Multiplayer Crossover below.
  • 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.
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: Played straight at first, subverted when the player buys the "commercial toilet" upgrade.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Gambler: Crazy Dave
  • Game-Breaking Bug: A particularly nasty one involving burgers: if you have them on your menu but then quit in the middle of the day, the game will no longer recognize them as being on your menu for certain events such as bets, Cook4Luv dates, and VIP visits unless you take them off of your menu and then add them back on. Those going for Perfect Days will likely learn about this glitch when they inexplicably fail a date or VIP visit for not serving burgers despite having them on the menu.
  • Gratuitous French: The default (and least expensive) wine type is named "Le Cheap".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • New Game+: Reaching the platinum star ranking unlocks a New Game+ mode on Extreme Difficulty which resets the game to the beginning but grants four times more starting money, unlocks all of the Specialty Foods from the start, and carries over your progress towards achievements.
  • 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.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Tropes exclusive to the second game 
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The reason why you have to start with virtually nothing in a brand new tower? Initially, you'd only find out if you read the Steam store page, while 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 is done via emails and flavor text for foods and restaurants, which not all players read.
  • 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 the game 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.
  • Button Mashing:
    • Sushi needs to be cut nine times before it can be served.
    • The trash chore becomes this as the day progresses and the trash needs to be mashed into the dumpster.
  • Call-Back: 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.
  • Chef of Iron: How do you deal with robbers in this game? By punching/kicking them into submission, usually within a matter of seconds. Then you immediately go back to cooking as if nothing happened.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Many of the food descriptions and emails 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.
  • 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: There's a restaurant named "Poppers & Crunchies" which revolves specifically around such food.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Zen mode 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.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: There's a rare chance that, when preparing a chicken breast, the "Seasoned Chicken Breast" recipe name will be replaced with "Winner's Dinner".
  • Gratuitous Japanese: The words "Begin", "Finish" and "Rush Hour" are displayed in Japanese with English subtitles.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The description and intro text reveals that five platinum stars is the highest possible ranking in the first game.
  • 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.
  • 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. The third game gives a more targeted time period: some time in the early 2040s.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: How exactly does one pronounce "UEIYAV"?
  • 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.
  • Sequel Escalation: Surpasses the original in several ways:
    • The sequel has a total of 210 menu items, i.e. seven times as many as its predecessor.
    • 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 every five YUM levels, including platinum stars (making for a total of 21 ranks vs. the original's 7).
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the Robbery chore description:
    "Show the robber who's boss. FINISH HIM!!!!"
    • 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.
  • Take That!: A chain of emails takes 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.

    Tropes exclusive to the third game 
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: 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 the more you approach the capital 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.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: One would be forgiven for thinking the ingredients list for King Cake including "Baby" (a little plastic toy baby) is a goofy part of how dangerous the world has become, mentioning the choking hazard in the item descriptions, whereas most descriptions are already made-up jokes. Read about real King Cakes here.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • 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, tweaked, or made specific to certain higher-difficulty recipes; 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.
  • Bag of Spilling: An even more extreme example than the previous game: this time around, your old digs, the Teragon Supertower, was obliterated by artillery fire. 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 Cameo: The announcers for the Iron Cook Speedway are voiced by Northernlion and his wife, Kate.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Zig-zagged; unlike the previous game, where you learned of the state of the world primarily through emails and flavor text, here 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.
  • Darker and Edgier: Greatly downplayed thanks to the game's lighthearted nature, but CSD3 takes the post-apocalyptic America that the second game merely hinted at and throws you right into the middle of it with nothing but a food truck, two wise-cracking robots, and a dream.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Chill mode gives infinite patience to customers. However, the best you can earn in the mode are silver medals, even if you complete a Perfect Day.
  • Face–Heel Turn: All of the restaurants you helped out in Chef 4 Hire mode in the previous game return as rival food trucks, now hostile towards you and frequently attacking your truck throughout each day.
  • Featureless Protagonist: 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.
  • Interface Screw: Food truck attacks can prevent you from seeing important information or partially shut down your systems. Getting shot at usually results in your holding stations being knocked out for the rest of the day, and hacking attacks can range from from blocking you from seeing Today's Menu - and how many orders you need to fill in your holding stations, blinding your incoming orders before you work on them, or prevent you from seeing your cooking timer.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: One song in 3 is an upbeat Toto-esque 80s number about nervously going through a neighborhood that's really gone downhill.
  • Robot Buddy: Two of them, actually. One drives the truck while the other keeps you updated on goings-on around you as you prepare orders.
  • Suddenly Significant City: 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; Midland, Texas; Jackson, Mississipi; Mobile, Alabama and Nashville, Tennessee; the latter being the U.S' new capital after Washington, D.C. inexplicably sunk into the ocean.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Well, another level in badass, anyway. Due to current circumstances, you've graduated from beating up robbers to getting into occasional shootouts with rival food trucks.

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

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