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Video Game / Diner Dash

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Diner Dash is a series of Time Management Game first developed by Gamelab and PlayFirst. The games stars Flo, a former stockbroker turned restaurant owner, who also serves as both the receptionist and waitress as she makes riches, builds more restaurants, and provides quality service along the way.

Originated as a PC game, and later ported to various consoles, Diner Dash is perhaps the Trope Codifier of the Time Management Game genre. Its popularity has led to a variety of sequels and spinoffs by other studios, with varying levels of success.

Diner Dash Adventures has its own page due to its numerous deviations from the previous entries.

Not to be confused with Dine and Dash, though there is an individual character who does that.

See also Plantasia for a similar game made by the same developers.


List of game titles:

    Diner Dash Series 
  • Diner Dash
  • Diner Dash 2: Restaurant Rescue
  • Diner Dash 3: Flo On The Go
  • Diner Dash 4: Hometown Hero
  • Diner Dash 5: Boom!
  • Diner Dash Classic (2012 reboot)
  • Diner Dash 2014
  • Diner Dash Adventures
  • Diner Dash: Sizzle and Serve (Handheld version)

    Cooking Dash Series 
  • Cooking Dash
  • Cooking Dash: DinerTown Studios
  • Cooking Dash 3: Thrills and Spills
  • Cooking Dash 2016

    Other Spin-offs 
  • Avenue Flo Series
  • DinerTown Detective Agency
  • DinerTown Tycoon
  • Dairy Dash
  • Diaper Dash
  • Doggie Dash
  • Fitness Dash
  • Garden Dash
  • Hotel Dash Suite Success
  • Parking Dash
  • Soap Opera Dash
  • Wedding Dash Series


This game series provides examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: Rosie Regular, Barb the Business Woman, Seymour Senior, Leo and Lulu (Loretta) the Lovers, Jo Jogger, Bernie Bookworm, Tina and Tyler the Teenagers, Maggie the Mom, Duncan the Dad, Kingston the Kid, Bobbi the Baby, Simon Star the Celebrity (soft C), Starla the Starlet, Trip and Tipper the Tourists, Greta the little Girl... The list goes on.
  • All Just a Dream: The ending to the SpongeBob SquarePants version reveals the whole game was just a dream Mr. Krabs had.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: The later games give Flo a closet to dress her in the clothes you unlock as you progress.
  • Art Evolution: Happened with a lot of the characters, mainly Flo, the Regulars, the Seniors, and the Businesswomen. The quality of the animation also gets substantially better over time.
  • Artistic License – Law: Customers can get fed up with waiting and leave at any time, this means they can eat a meal and then run off without paying for it. In the real world, this would count as theft.
  • Ascended Extra: Some minor characters later got to star in their own games:
    • Rosie the Regular is the protagonist of Soap Opera Dash.
    • Garden Dash stars Barb the Businesswoman.
    • Bernie the Bookworm shines as Flo's detective partner in DinerTown Detective Agency.
    • Fitness Dash is run by Jo the Jogger.
  • Big Bad: Mr. Big is the main antagonist of Diner Dash 2: Restaurant Rescue, Diner Dash 5: Boom! and Diner Dash Adventures, being a Corrupt Corporate Executive who wants to demolish other restaurants (including Flo's) so he can repossess the assets.
  • Big Eater: Customers who order twice, such as Hal the Hungry Man, Gordon (from the 2014 reboot), and Minnie (from Diner Dash Adventures)
  • Bookworm: Bernie is always reading his book, even while eating, which is why he is a "Slow"-type customer and is extra sensitive to noise.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Several characters/customers introduced in the series stop appearing in later installments. The Hot shot, for example, only appears in the first Diner Dash. Also, Kingston the Kid's family all but disappeared after the 2014 reboot, in which he is aged up into a college-aged young adult.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Tyler, Tina, and the Teenagers, once you see them open their eyes. A couple other customers may have this trope. Subverted for Tyler and Tina in DinerTown Detective Agency.
  • Decade Dissonance: Flo has gone through a lot of them, from Jungle Japes to Retro Future.
  • Depending on the Artist: Sometimes the Dinertoons could be drawn with a little more detail; other times more simple-looking. An example would be the Wedding Dash characters and how detailed and animated they look in the Wedding Dash games compared to DinerTown Tycoon and how simple they look to fit the Diner Dash style.
  • Dine and Dash: In addition to customers who are fed up with waiting for the cheque, this is the MO of one of Mr. Big's goons, Skip. He'll order time consuming dishes that take up space in the cooking line, then attempt to flee without paying, damaging the player's business. The only way to stop him is to tap him when it looks like he's about to flee, forcing him to pay, which can be difficult if you're busy with other customers and aren't paying attention to his visual cues.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: There's a SpongeBob SquarePants version of the game.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You: Flo owns the diner in some of the games.
  • Excuse Plot: The earlier games doesn't really have any plot beyond the basic premise of having to serve customers in a restaurant (or any other eateries) for whatever reason.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Young Flo in Cooking Dash 3. Also, Tina and the Teenagers wear short braids.
  • Granola Girl: You know those Lovers that debuted in Flo on the Go and kiss at the table? Their names are Leo and Lulu. Lulu the Lover's a Granola Girl. Also, Harmony the Hippie.
  • Happily Married: Vicky Big and Tony the Pizza Chef. The plot of the Avenue Flo games is essentially their wedding and their baby shower.
  • Hidden Object Game: The DinerTown Detective Agency spinoff falls into this.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: A whole lot of them. Rosie and the Regular customer ladies, Seymour, Stella and the Seniors, Barb and the Businesswomen, Jo and the Joggers, Bernie and the Bookworms, Tyler, Tina and the Teenagers, and many more! It was even lampshaded twice in Avenue Flo. Like a lot of PC time management games, this is done so the players will know what type of customer to treat (i.e. get the most impatient customers to the tables fast). If every single one of the them were a Cast of Snowflakes, it would be too confusing for the player. They don't necessarily have the same name; Tina has a teenage relative named Gina.
    • And apparently Cassie Fisher from Pet Shop Hop in Soap Opera Dash is this trope.
    • In Wedding Dash, the groom of the 49th wedding works for a cloning lab, explaining why every guest is either Seth or Maricruz.
    • Wilson from Diaper Dash also mentions something about a cloning machine, which may account for some of this.
    • Strangely, there are also a lot of lookalikes in different time periods as shown in Diner Dash Flo Through Time.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: As he says in DinerTown Detective Agency, Poor Bernie Bookworm didn't have many friends as a kid.
  • Interspecies Romance: Wendy the Cat and Rocky the Dog (from Doggie Dash) fall in love with each other at the start of the game.
  • Mega-Corp: Big Corporation, naturally. Word of God says that prior to the first game, Flo was one of Big Corp's stockbrokers. Confirmed in Avenue Flo and DinerTown Detective Agency, when she mentions having worked at Big Corp as she navigates the cubicle maze.
  • Motor Mouth: Colin and the Cell Phone guys, and possibly the Teenagers as well (but only when they're on their cell phones). Also Barb (sometimes named Martha) from Wedding Dash.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Shakes McGee only ever wants coffee. His journal in Adventures states that he drinks at least 17 cups of coffee a day.
  • Named by the Adaptation: A lot of the customers received official names in later installments. The Young Lady became Rosie the Regular, the Businesswoman became Barb, and so forth.
  • Not the Intended Use: Fitness Dash features stretching mats, the spin-off's equivalent of benches in the main line games. Like benches, they're intended to be used to slow a customer's patience meter (even more so in Fitness Dash where customers on the mat will not lose patience). However, unlike the bench in the Diner Dash games, stretching mats can accumulate color bonuses, earning you points like matching customer's colors to the same colored exercising equipment. Because of this, there's nothing stopping you from placing a customer on a matching color mat, only to immediately relocate them to where they need to be. Using this strategy, you can accumulate enough points well over the expert score.
  • Official Couple: Many in the Diner Dash series — Quinn and Joe, Walter and Scarlet, Mr. Smith and Mrs. Smith, and Victoria and Tony, to name a few. Quinn and Joe looks more like a case of Will They or Won't They?, however.
  • Overhead Interaction Indicator: Customers have a heart meter over their heads that gradually reduces the longer they have to wait to be served, making those with reduced hearts a priority to attend to.
  • Panicky Expectant Father: Tony in Avenue Flo: Special Delivery, especially when a nine-months pregnant Vicky goes missing and she goes into labor after being stuck in the hotel elevator where her surprise baby shower was being held. Flo has to escort Tony and Vicky to the ambulance. Vicky delivers twins.
  • Phoneaholic Teenager: These types of customers are always on their phones, annoying other customers adjacent to them.
  • Prequel: Cooking Dash 3: Thrills and Spills is set in The '80s, when Flo is but a teenager, and Mr. Big has yet to own BigCorp.
  • Punny Name:
    • The game title itself is a pun on "Dine and Dash".
    • Karma from Parking Dash works with cars.
    • Also Seymour Senior and the other seniors (See more seniors, get it?). Colin Cellphone (Call in Cell Phone). Tina Teenager. The first name sounds like the first or two syllable of what she is- a Teenager. Simon STAR the Celebrity. Starla the Starlet (and her little baby, Sky). Trip and Tipper the Tourists, Cookie the Chef, Bobbi Sewer in Dress Shop Hop works with clothes, and, how could we forget Flo (who goes with the Flo) and some fans believe her name could be short for 'Florida' which, according to Avenue Flo, is the street where Flo's Diner is located. 'Flo' could also be short for 'Florence', of course.
  • Rhyming Title:
    • The third Diner Dash game is subtitled "Flo on the Go".
    • The third Cooking Dash game is subtitled "Thrills and Spills".
  • Ship Tease: Flo and Bernie, particularly the grocery store and Movie Theater cases in DinerTown Detective Agency.
  • Shout-Out: In Diner Dash III, part of the music for the spaceship level comes from the Mos Eisley Cantina Music.
    • In Avenue Flo: Special Delivery, some of the models on the shelf with the baby monitors look like old-school Cylons.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Leo and Lulu and the Lovers, to the point where customers at other tables get grossed out when the couples smooch.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: In Soap Opera Dash, Simon the Celebrity is described as "a great actor... or so he thinks!"
  • The Smurfette Principle: Gender-Inverted. While the game is technically not part of the main series story-wise, the SpongeBob SquarePants version is notable for being the only game in the series that's not a spin-off to have a male player characternote  instead of a female player characternote .
  • Soul-Crushing Desk Job: Flo is originally a stockbroker working for Mr. Big's corporation. After being bombarded by spreadsheets, she promptly bolts out. When she sees a run-down diner, she starts running her restaurant business.
  • Time Management Game: One of the classics of the genre.
  • Spear Counterpart: Colin the Cellphone addict is the male counterpart to Barb the Businesswoman, as both of them are fast yet impatient diners who tip well, and they both work for Mr. Big.
  • Warm-Up Boss: Diner Dash 2014 has Gordon, who aside from eating more than regular customers is rather easy to deal with for a VIP.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • DinerTown characters Minerva Mink (Mr. Big's other daughter) from Pet Shop Hop and Coco seemed to fallen this trope. They haven't been seen since DinerTown Detective Agency.
    • Also a few plots from past games seems left unfinished. At the end of Wedding Dash Around the world, Mr. Bigger's Daughter wanted to marry for love, not for business and she fell in love with Joe, Quinn's love interest and Quinn's rival wanted to compete with her to make the best wedding....there has yet to be a conclusion for that.
  • Wedding Episode: Avenue Flo centers on Vicky Big's wedding to Tony the Pizza Chef with the gameplay based on Flo helping Quinn replacing everything after a series of mishaps threatens to derail the wedding. Turns out Vicky had a really bad case of cold feet and sabotaged everything. She apologizes for everything and marries Tony in the end.
  • World of Pun: Wendy the Cat and Rocky the Dog from Doggie Dash are full of puns about cats and dogs.