I’m going to start this review with an admission – I’m not one of those simmers who has been crying out for the return of Open for Business, and of the businesses available in the pack, restaurants were my least favourite. There, I said it! This arguably means that my expectations were lower going into this, and I wasn’t hoping for a return to OfB.
However, I enjoy running resorts in Island Paradise, and as a result was interested in the Bisto, mainly in how it could complement these, as well as running on its own. Maybe because of my expectations – or lack thereof – I actually quite like the set. The professional kitchen set up is simple to use, and I can see some of the kitchen equipment getting regular use in my sims’ homes.
The bistro lot itself it very usable. Although the design is modern, it would fit in with a number of different styles of world. And, on a 30×30 lot, it’s easy to place, especially with the fab new feature from Island Paradise where you can move lots around on larger lots!
I love the simplicity of how it works! OfB restaurants always felt very fussy to me, but this is the total opposite. You set up a kitchen with the industrial cooker from the set and a fridge and a dining area with menus wherever you want sims to sit. It even works on island counters and I’ve seen a few diner type lots already.
Click on the cooker in live mode to hire a chef and set the details – opening hours, price, menu choices and standard of chef. Thanks to Monte VIsta’s pizza oven and the Teppanyaki grill, I have an Italian and a Chinese restaurant in my hood, as their foods appear in the selections. Then, you can forget about it until your sim visits. When you do go, you order, and the chef brings out your food, no fuss. No waitresses means that, to me at least, it lends itself to a smaller, more intimate venue.
This is a date spot for my game, and the fact that children can’t order just makes that all the more effective! Ok, the fact that you can’t properly organise the candlelit dinner unless both sims are playable is a pain, but not a deal breaker.
One of my favourite times to send sims out for a meal is following high school graduation at City Hall, as a family outing. As a result, an “order for group” option would have been a nice extra, but again isn’t a deal breaker.
As an owned lot, it’s already a 2 star venue, and brings in around §12,000 a week, so if your business-owning sim can afford the initial outlay of around §160,000 then it’s a decent return for no effort.
Placed on a resort, it runs as normal, and doesn’t contribute to the running costs of the resort. However, it doesn’t appear to add to the revenue either, simply boosts the look of the place. It’s a nice touch once you reach 5 stars, but won’t help you get there. I did see various visitors taking advantage of it though.
I’ve read online some of the issues people have had, but I currently have two working lots in each of two worlds, and haven’t received constant notifications about chefs changing, in fact they seem very stable to me! And no graphic issues, either.
Overall, I’d probably give this set 7/10 – it’s a nice to have, rather than a must have, but what it does, it does well, and I love that it takes advantage of the other CC you have installed to enhance your game. Arguably, it may be more use for story tellers or builders, rather than pure game players, but that’s one of the beauties of this game, there really is something for everyone! I would like to thank EA UK for sending us a review copy of the Business as Usual Bistro.