Zynga’s New Café World Game Takes on Playfish’s Restaurant City

cafe world logoWith around 16 million monthly active users, Playfish’s Restaurant City has been growing steadily since its launch — monetizing through a variety of virtual goods, it appears to be a solid hit. Well, that popularity has been noted by the competition, and it looks like Zynga is stepping into the restaurant business as well with its newest title, Café World.

As far as basic concepts go, Café World is the same as Restaurant City. Each player creates restaurant, decorates it, hires friends, and basically runs a business. However, both games do feel very different and are likely to appeal to different types of people. Here’s a closer look at the differences:

Cooking – Point: Café World

Obviously making food is a huge part of a restaurant game and creating an ample smorgasbord is part of the fun. In order to cook food in Café World, players have to purchase the ingredients to a recipe after clicking on an empty stove. They then have to cut, dice, smash, or whatever else is needed to prepare a myriad of dishes before cooking them. Dishes take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 days to cook  and then it is placed on a counter for serving with a set number of times it can be served. The more time it takes to cook, and the greater the cost, the more servings available. Customers can feast on already-made food, and can have a very wide selection (even though the customers don’t “order” it themselves); space is only limited by the number of counters and stoves that a player has.

Restaurant City, on the other hand, does cooking passively. Patrons order from your preset menu of limited dishes (thankfully it has been increased, but is still limited to a finite number, regardless of level), but you have to trade for, buy, or earn individual ingredients on a daily basis before you can make a certain dish. Yes, trading the ingredients adds a social element, and yes you can level up dishes, but it just feels less involved than Café World. Point: Café World.

uniformsHiring Friends – Point: Restaurant City

Not only was Playfish the first to introduce friend hires in a major game, but users have a lot of control over it. Granted, you cannot change the look of a friend’s avatar, but you can at least change a uniform and job. As it stands, Café World only allows them to be waiters at the moment, and their clothing seems to be unchangeable. Restaurant City on the other hand… if you want to put a friend in a French maid’s outfit, then by all means, go ahead. Point: Restaurant City.

Restaurant Expansion – Point: Café World

This is one of the biggest differences between the games. As you level up in Restaurant City, you either earn new employees or a bigger restaurant. However, in Café World, you must manually expand and to do so, you must have “neighbors.” This means you must have friends playing the game in order to have a bigger place. Frankly, the trading of ingredients, working in others’ restaurants, and having your friends all on one street, in Restaurant City, seemed social enough. However, if friends don’t want to play, it won’t affect you too much. For Café World, if you can’t get friends to play, then you seem to be stuck with a tiny little restaurant. Sure you can take the Mafia Wars approach and add random people, but that just sort of looses any personal meaning. Nonetheless, you could have a huge restaurant in a significantly shorter amount of time. With that in mind – Point: Café World.

cafe worldCustomization – Point: Restaurant City

This is the most important part of both of these games, hands down. From oriental, to medieval, to modern, these games provide players with the means to truly create something that is of their own style. However, the Playfish title simply has more options than Zynga’s. Okay, yes, it has been out longer, so the developer have had more time to add new items, but beyond this, the players can only decorate their interiors with Café World. Restaurant City, on the other hand, allows you to customize both the interior and exterior of your restaurant; a feature that has been available since day one. Point: Restaurant City.

Frankly, both games are good, and it really comes down to a play style choice. Café World has more involved cooking and dish selections and potential, rapid expansion, while Restaurant City has more control over hired friends and better customization. Will these features change in the coming months? Probably, as both companies add more content. However, with the massive head start and the tremendously larger selection of items to decorate with that Restaurant City has, it will be a rigorous challenge for Café World to catch up.

Zynga, however, is far larger than Playfish, with 126 million monthly active users total across its games versus Playfish’s 55.3 million. Both companies cross-promote games to users. This means that both companies have far fewer unique users than the above numbers suggest — but the numbers also indicate that Zynga has many more opportunities to cross-promote Café World via massive hits like FarmVille. Zynga has also aggressively bought advertising for games on sites like Facebook. So, Playfish, for all of its success with Restaurant City, appears to have a serious competitor on its hands — even though Café World currently has only around 32 users.

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Leave a Reply

56 Responses to “Zynga’s New Café World Game Takes on Playfish’s Restaurant City”

  1. marlon says:


  2. Chris Edwards says:

    Zynga must lack creativity. They are constantly stealing game ideas from other companies. Its amazing how much of a copy they makes these games, with Farmville and Farmtown and Restaurant City and Cafe World, its obvious they feel they must monopolize the market by stealing these other games. Hey Zynga…If you think their game is good and you want it under your name, BUY THEM OUT, don’t steal their great ideas!

  3. Zynga’s Power Plays — A Review says:

    [...] Zynga game called “Café World,” a virtual restaurant game that appears to be competing directly with Playfish hit Restaurant City. While Restaurant City has 15.7 million monthly actives, Café World is just getting started [...]

  4. Zynga’s Power Plays — A Review | GoSocial.dk - Social Media Marketing says:

    [...] Zynga game called “Café World,” a virtual restaurant game that appears to be competing directly with Playfish hit Restaurant City. While Restaurant City has 15.7 million monthly actives, Café World is just getting started [...]

  5. jacqueline condo says:

    i would love to play this how do i get the appliance
    I have yovlle, farmville and rollercoaster kingdom
    i play the he payfish resturant ame but if you have one i know it is what i want o play

  6. Tanni says:

    Cafe World keeps crashing and “rebooting” for me. This coupled with the less-than-appealing graphics makes Restaurant City the winner for me. But it’s still new, so I’m not setting that in stone yet. But for now, Restaurant City’s lovely to play and loads cuter to watch.

  7. This Week’s Top Headlines from Inside Social Games says:

    [...] First Freemium Game for Xbox Live Zynga to Partner with InComm for Prepaid Virtual Currency Cards? Zynga’s New Café World Game Takes on Playfish’s Restaurant City Playdom To Introduce Pre-Paid Cards in Retail Stores — with InComm Booyah Raises $5 Million; Our [...]

  8. This Week’s Top Headlines from Inside Social Games | GoSocial.dk - Social Media Marketing says:

    [...] First Freemium Game for Xbox Live Zynga to Partner with InComm for Prepaid Virtual Currency Cards? Zynga’s New Café World Game Takes on Playfish’s Restaurant City Playdom To Introduce Pre-Paid Cards in Retail Stores — with InComm Booyah Raises $5 Million; Our [...]

  9. linsi lyn says:

    cool :D

  10. Zynga’s Café World Goes from 0 to 8.6 Million Users in a Week, with Big Implications says:

    [...] characters — especially walking and eating. See our review of the two games for more on that. Café World has done some features in a more interesting way, like restaurant [...]

  11. Zynga's new social game hits 10 million users in one week | nextATOM says:

    [...] Cafe World is not just copy of Zynga’s major social gaming application provider Playfish’s 16 million member Restaurant City game.  In Cafe World users create restaurants, market them through their social networks and sell virtual good.  While some of the features are comparable across both games, Cafe World does have some unique elements, like restaurant expansion.  For a review of the two games, check out this link from Inside Social Games. [...]

  12. Zynga Trademarks FishVille — Get Ready for a Big Aquarium Game says:

    [...] least original developer. FarmVille and Café World both use some original dynamics. If anything, improving quality is now a key part of Zynga’ [...]

  13. xiao.hua says:

    it means the employees on cafe world is not allowed to change the job? if u hire an employees its automatic to be a waiter? what if u have a lot of waiters and only 1 chef you cant change the job of your employees?

  14. Judy says:

    I purchased a sliding window thinking maybe I could have a drive thru, but I suppose that isn’t possible. Wouldn’t that be great though?!?!?!?!

  15. cafeworld game (cafeworldgame) 's status on Saturday, 17-Oct-09 06:27:56 UTC - Identi.ca says:

    [...] http://www.insidesocialgames.com/2009/09/30/zyngas-new-cafe-world-game-takes-on-playfishs-restauran… a few seconds ago from web [...]

  16. Julie says:

    Cafe world sucks I spent 50$ getting coins on there with my cell phone and this was 2 weeks ago they didnt give me my coins or give me any sort of credit or money back

  17. Top 25 Facebook Games for November 2, 2009 says:

    [...] FarmVille, Zynga’s Café World makes its debut at #2 with a little over 27.5 million monthly users. A number reached in an [...]

  18. Ben Bock says:

    Ok, I have played both games. It and Farmville and now the Fishworld are flat out carbon copy’s. Just open them up in two instances of your web browser and compare side by side. In most cases they barely bothered to even change the color of the items. Legally I have no idea how playfish doesn’t have a case here. Seems like Zynga just strips away some of the Playfish features, changes a bit of code and claims to have made a different game. They do improve the quality of the graphics but pound for pound, they look so similar. I call shenanigans!!!!

  19. samira says:

    i love love dis games lol

  20. Kara says:

    I Just Simply hate Cafe World. It makes my internet go slower and makes the Computer Hang. It’s so hard to level up in Cafe World. The food you cook is limited and can get spoiled. While in Restaurant City, None of that would happen. x(

  21. Stacy Tucker says:

    I just have a question, can cafe world be purchased and downloaded on a computer?

  22. jessica gonzalez says:

    i love this game

  23. Omyma Hassan says:


  24. Eleni Gianitsopoulos says:


  25. Luciennelidstone says:

    Its not working again!

  26. abyan athif arrasyid says:

    zynga,what’s happen with abyan cafe world?? why it was gone?? i can’t play it anymore.!!!

  27. shafiq says:

    I want to playing cafe world. the cafe world is fun

  28. rose breslin says:

    how can u get your cafe world up when some 1 block it for u and it do not tell u how to reinstall the game at all i need help

  29. Monica LaBeau Dymarkowski says:

    Have ben locked out of Cafe’World for almost 3wks & food has spoiled. PLEASE get me back in. Same happened with Farmville. Thanks, Monica

  30. Angela Chan says:

    Strange that a few months ago I’d blocked Cafe World as I was quite inactive (was busy!) as well as a friend complained that dormant owners are slowing down the server. Now, I’m trying to reopen business in Cafe World & there’s no way I could do it. Strange, that this application has bore a grudge against me & whatever link to Cafe World seems invisible to me & I’ve no access to it!! How unfair!! I’d blocked Mafia Wars & some other applications & reopened them recently & they’ve been no problems at all!!!

  31. mel says:

    can anyone help. a while back i deleted my cafe. I have now decided to re-install it and the only computer i cant use it on is the one i deleted it on which is the one i want to play it on. I can send gifts and use the other tabs but when i click on the ‘play’ tab its just blank. can anyone help pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease

  32. Patricia Brooks-Smith says:

    I need help getting back on Cafe World I can’t receive things from friends on cafe world how can my game be restored the message that I am getting is that it has been currently suspended why is that cafe world is one of my favorite games to play on face book I would like to be able to play cafe world again.

  33. Dania Frederique says:

    I need help getting back on Cafe World it’s seem like I have been shut out. After working hard and putting so much effort into this game, I deserve a chance to continue playing and meeting goals that i had set for myself. among all my friend I was the lead and it looks like all of that hard work is being taking away.

  34. Chef Dijon says:

    I created a cafe world guide that contains all that I have learned so far. I have a dishes guide that can be sorted by and coulumn and filtered by you level. It really helps you level up quick. I am at level 64 already.


    Bon Apetite!

  35. joao amaral says:

    can anyone help. I can send gifts and use the other tabs but when i click on the ‘play’ tab its just blank. can anyone help pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease

  36. emily says:


  37. halapop says:

    كيف اتسجل خارج الفيس بوك

  38. halapop says:


  39. gail schaffer says:

    a few months back i blocked cuz i didnt fully understand it but now i was showed how it all works and i would like it back.how do i get it back????

  40. mieko says:

    i don’t know about others but Cafe world hangs my computer unlike RC..

  41. debbie passmore says:

    how do i get cafe world back on my facebook

  42. randy says:

    i think i block cafe world by accident how can i get back please help me thank yoi

  43. Cooking the Sweet Stuff on Facebook, Some More, with Baking Life says:

    [...] game from Zip Zap Play, is probably most similar to games like Restaurant City and Café World. Essentially, players are tasked with the creation of a successful bakery, and in the process, [...]

  44. Ciara Brown says:

    I love cafe world its so fun!!!

  45. jet set says:

    i have lost all of my cafe world what happened and how do i get it back

  46. jet set says:

    i have lost my cafe world and cant even start a new game just nothing

  47. Saqib Sharif says:

    Restaurant City also keeps on crashing. Always gives an error while saving..

  48. Playdemic Goes Farming with Gourmet Ranch on Facebook says:

    [...] it’s doing well as it attempts to hybridize concepts from the farming genre and a Zynga title, Café World. While the game is technically sound and well made, it doesn’t bring anything particularly new to [...]

  49. Omgpop Launches First Facebook Title, Cupcake Corner says:

    [...] Corner is best described as a cross between games such as Zynga’s Café World and Booyah’s Nightclub City. It has a hodgepodge of older game mechanics, coupled with a handful [...]

  50. Velma says:

    I’m thinking about leaving fb for a while. However I want to continue to play my cafe’ world. Is there a way to play it or create cafe’ world or even buy or download this setup. Without being on fb?

  51. jim gonsalves says:

    question for the suppliers of the game.
    why is it that i can not access the game cafeworld from my laptop i get in on others but not on mylaptop i enjoy the game but my computer when ask to open up is only telling men redirecting or connection and then it freezes up i checked for viruses and none found defrag the computer back up the files but still no luck last message from the game on my screen was that you had a problem I enter at face book and i try to continue to try but no luck can you help me ireally enjoy the game as of now it shows my cafe is still feeding and i don’t know where the food is comming from i can not even accessfrom my laptop but others i play with enter and tell me the food is there. please help resolve this problem I really want to play aand surpass a few other i play with but the others now are levels ahead of me this is our form of competition. PLEASE SEND ME SOME HELP SOON.. THANKS

  52. thomas says:

    thomas er 9 år

  53. Laura says:

    To Chris Edward :

    You said Zynga lacks creativity and keeps on copying other’s game.

    I’d like to ask you a question : If a type of Car produces air bag and the other one (another type) later on produces air bag as well, do you think is copying?

    Another question is :

    Do you play Cafe World? I do, been two years now and let me tell you how different it is than RC (I assume you don’t know anything about Cafe World hence you don’t play it or you just play once)- RC doesn’t have catering stuffs like Cafe World, RC’s employees depend on food and water and rest while Cafe World’s dont, RC is very stingy with profit all the food are 2 coins flat while Cafe World provides much better and reasonable profit, RC doesn’t need counters to serve food while in Cafe World you need counters.

    Count how many differences there are. If you can’t then you are simply an idiot. I guess you are.

  54. kikieers mathenia says:

    I am having problems with my stoves and that cook book you click on the stove and the cook book opens up and before you can find what you are looking for the cook book just puts anything down on the stove and it needs to slow the cook book down just a little bit. and the gifts box is the same way you need to slow it down just a bit because you can’t see what you have in it either. when you click to turn a page in it.

  55. Colin Ching says:

    I think Cafe World is the best game on facebook. I have been playing it now for about 2 – 2 1/2 years and it is the only one i have stuck with in this time. Always something new to do. Keep up the good work

  56. Cafeworld game | Abcstrings says:

    [...] Zynga’s New Café World Game Takes on Playfish’s Restaurant CitySep 30, 2009 … Cooking – Point: Café World cookbook. Obviously making food is a huge part of a restaurant game and creating an ample smorgasbord is part … [...]

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