In Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!, the two big, new mechanics are holding stations and side dishes. A simple bowl of soup shows how well these mechanics play into both gameplay and theme.
Holding stations are places to prepare food in quantity. If someone wants a slice of ham or a roll, you do not custom cook a single slice of ham or one roll. Well, you did in the original game. In CSD2, you have a holding station where you can prep in quantity. For some dishes, this is all you do. You bake a tray of muffins, and when someone orders a muffin, you give them a muffin. Done. For other dishes, you have more work to do, such as adding toppings. Then there are some dishes where the holding station is optional: you can grill a bunch of hamburgers, or you can cook them as people order. Soup has gone from “cook one complicated bowl of soup every time someone orders” to “make a pot of soup,” which serves several customers.
Side dishes are never ordered on their own, but they add a bonus to perfectly cooked foods and increase customer patience. Customers will wait longer for a burger and fries than for a burger alone. Maybe they are spending more time looking at the menu. Each side dish takes up a holding station slot. You make them in quantity, then they get doled out along with main dishes. Part of managing rush hours is keeping your side dishes going, because you remember to re-load before the lunch hour hits, but then you are serving furiously and suddenly there are no fries! and the customers are getting impatient and angry, and you have to hurry and get another batch of three sides going while people are threatening to walk out the door, and oh why did you decide to run an entire restaurant all by yourself?
Some foods have both main dish and side dish versions. You might have a bowl of soup for dinner or a cup of soup as a side. CSD2 includes this. The soup recipe is still complicated, with a fairly long cooking time, and it takes up a holding station. (Sadly, you cannot just make one pot of soup and use it for both.) Whereas the main dish soup serves about a half-dozen people, the side soup serves a dozen or more. It is a small investment that returns a medium return over a length of time. It is perfect for that lunch rush because a big pot of chili will make a lot of side orders.
A side soup is a very simple idea, but it brings together the new mechanics, shows the sequel’s mechanics better fit the theme than the original, and gives you a significant benefit in the game.