Lifestyle, Stories

What the Facebook Game Restaurant City Taught Us About Business

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The rise of Facebook in the 2000s rocked the online world. Communication with the wider world seemed much more accessible than, let’s say, in the era of Yahoo Messenger, Skype, and MagicJack. 

Along with Facebook came Facebook games of great memory. Pet Society captured the young Facebook market (who, under Facebook rules, were technically not allowed to use Facebook yet). Another game, Restaurant City, captured people of all ages and of all backgrounds, Chinoys included. 

Founded by the now-defunct company Playfish in 2009, the game allowed players to design their own virtual restaurant, complete with a menu that required food ingredients; employees like chefs, waiters, and janitors; and even angry customers!

Here’s what we learned from the game:


1) Supplies, like ingredients, can be pricey.

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The Restaurant City menu consisted of a starter, main dish, dessert, and drink. To be able to unlock the different dishes under those categories, and to be able to move them up to a higher status, players were required to obtain ingredients. However, a number of these ingredients proved very elusive for the player. The local food stall, which sold ingredients just outside the player’s restaurant, only sold three random ingredients per day. 

The same challenges of obtaining ingredients happen in real life business as well. To be able to secure ingredients, players had to either trade with friends or random players around the world or plant their own ingredients.


2) Follow the trends, and your business may be better for it. 

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In real life, what will make your business stand out is innovation and sometimes, following the trends of market. The key is to adapt. And Restaurant City was no different. 

People who played Restaurant City for years would testify about the constant additions to the game. At one point, the game added a sushi bar feature, which drove players crazy over obtaining the necessary requirements needed for it! The game also added a mini runway — complete with a small plane to bring customers in. Players may also look back on it and remember a pizzeria with fondness. Adding these new trends undoubtedly certainly spruced up the virtual restaurant of the players. 

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3) Take care of your employees. 

Just like with any other restaurant, Restaurant City required its players to hire employees. There were cooks, waiters, and janitors. 

However, the game also required shifts for these employees. They couldn’t just work the whole day. Before every shift, the player needed to pay a certain amount, depending on how long the shift was. When the employees weren’t working, they were idle. 


4) Competition and neighbors are essential. 

In business, ideally, not everything solely revolves around making money. It’s about providing quality products, products that will actually be of help. The drive to produce quality products results from competition. Hence, competition is essential. 

In Restaurant City, it was the same way. Just outside the player’s restaurant was his or her Facebook friends’ own restaurants, which they could visit. Players also got the chance to visit the restaurants of random people round the world. Through those visits, the players had the chance to see what other restaurants were like and maybe adapt or innovate from there. 


Restaurant City officially closed in June 2012, to the dismay of players who’ve painstakingly reached level 90. However, the game will always be a fond memory. 


The author of this article: 

An accomplished young Chinese Filipino writer and media personality, Aaron S. Medina is associated with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Ateneo de Manila University Chinese Studies Program, the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies, and CHiNOY TV. He has a passion for truth, justice, and Pokémon, too! Follow him on Facebook:

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