Since your franchise gets stuck with a theme when you pick it, it’s important to pick the best theme. Anyway here’s what I reckon.
Guide to Themes Ranked
Always useful, especially early game.
The third tier of this removes all guest mess. The second increases wait time for delivery of food, which is extremely helpful considering the serving tray is fiddly lol. But the removal of guest mess makes the “more mess” and “longer eat times” fundamentally harmless. Unless you’re aiming for something specific or already have a perk card that other themes can offset, probably take Formal.
But do note that a well prepared restaurant by Overtime 1 will have the floor robot and rugs/floor protectors, which makes the mess protection a little redundant.
Utterly necessary for the card where customers groups are set to 1, but good for big group runs too. You also get more money which is helpful for some recipes that make barely any money. And the perk that means people inside don’t have their patience decrease means you just have to focus on getting people out. It’s the only theme that isn’t made somehow redundant by some perk or piece of equipment. Good theme.
Close 3rd: Charming
The slower patience decrease when player is nearby nearly ties this with Exclusive. Works wonders in multiplayer and you have someone just stand around with the customers.
However if you have some kind of dessert, the third tier of this is made redundant because you have to clear the table to give them dessert (they sit at a table that has dirty plates) and most of the desserts don’t generate more dirty plates.
Distant 4th: Affordable
Never pick this.
This is almost universally a punishment. Halving the time after the order has been taken is entirely run-ending. And unless you’re playing in a big group multiplayer, you probably rarely use the thing that gives a chance to re-use table consumables. Only use to get tier 1 and speed up eating time if you had to take the extended eating time card, if you’re desperate. Tier 3 is entirely destructive, do not pick. It also has bad furniture that don’t give as many points as the other themes. Worst theme, 0/10, unless you’re roleplaying as McDonalds do not pick ever.
Anyway it’s not a be-all-and-end-all ruling, it’s mostly my opinion, you can pick whatever theme you want as long as it’s not Affordable. (Devs remove the ‘halves food waiting time’ penalty from the third tier of Affordable; just make it remove delivery period. Please and thankyou. The other themes give buffs with no trade-offs, and this one should too).