This will serve as my tip post for the Googling world who are just starting to play Cafe World and want to learn how to play the game in a way that makes it go faster and causes you to acquire experience points as fast as possible.
First, get neighbors. The more the better. You need at least some neighbors to be able to upgrade to a bigger cafe, but here's the real reason you want as many neighbors as you can possibly get:
You know when you are cooking something and a window pops up and tells you this is your dish to share with everyone for the day? It has a share tab at the bottom? Make sure you always click on it to share. If your neighbors do the same - share their daily special, then you simply go to your facebook home page, click on live feed and start collecting 100 samples of whatever it is they have posted!
I currently have 4,000 free samples in my queue. Those free samples keep all of my serving tables full. I want all of them full because I don't want the stuff I am cooking to disappear too fast - if you keep the freebies out on one or two tables, the rate at which the dishes you actually cooked disappear goes down dramatically.
THAT is the benefit of neighbors - every day you can gather up 1,000's of free dishes and hopefully alot of the same dish over and over.
Next, your buzz rating. I have seen so many people whining and complaining because their buzz rating is low and they blame the game. Blame YOURSELF. You do not have something set up right in your cafe. Buzz rating is critical. The higher it is - tops out at 105 which is where mine is sitting almost all of the time - the more customers that come in to your cafe.
First off, if you have more than one door, get rid of the extras. You should only have one door to your cafe. If you have 2 or more, then more customers may be coming in than your servers can handle. If customers stand there too long waiting for a table, they leave and your buzz rating goes down.
Second, set up your cafe so at least some of your customers have to walk a long way to get to a table. This does NOT affect your buzz rating and they don't get mad and storm out, it takes them longer to get to tables and gives your servers enough time to serve everyone.
Third, look at the layout of your tables and serving tables. There are so many different ways people set them up - I have no idea if they work or not. I have my serving tables in the middle of the customer tables. I have customer tables lined up side by side in a giant U shape with the serving tables in the middle. The servers need to be able to get to the food quickly and get it to the tables quickly.
Fourth. Block your ovens. Make sure your doofus chef - which would be you, btw, lol - can't get at the ovens. I call him doofus cause' he takes SO terribly long to serve all the food you have cooked to the serving tables. I accidentally figured out that if you simply block the ovens, he will just stand there - wherever he's at in your cafe - and all of your food will get served 10 times faster - it just goes from the oven to the table - and also preparing your food to cook will also go MUCH faster as you don't have to wait for him to walk to each oven. You can set your ovens up in a giant block, put them side by side - block them with plants, whatever, just keep him from them.
Fifth. I haven't tried this and my buzz rating is good so I don't really care, but you can block your waitresses from getting to the tables as well, forcing them to "throw" the food to the tables. I have heard there is a down-side to this method, I don't know. I have enough servers to deal with the customers so I don't really care, mine works and that's all I need. The only reason you would want to do this is to keep your buzz rating high. I think if you have your cafe set up well enough, you won't need to do this.
Sixth. The game has me addicted because I am in a "contest" sort of with other neighbors to get ahead of everyone else. I have been gaining on all of them and passed a BUNCH of them up simply by making sure I always have food cooking on the ovens - but also - should I tell the world this? This is a kind of tip they probably make you pay for in those books they are selling on how to play Cafe World. Well, I get plenty of gold coins every day, so, if I'm close to catching up with someone or they are trying to pass me, I just buy food to cook, prepare it until it's cooking and then delete. I get the experience points for preparing the dish - the dish I use is 20 points for each phase of the preparation. I can rack up a couple thousand points pretty fast.
One guy was 50,000 coins ahead of me at one point, now he's at least 30,000 BEHIND me. Not just from "cheating", mostly just from cooking, cooking, cooking away. They do have the game set up well for anyone's schedule. When I started playing the game, I was just cooking hamburgers and stuff that only takes a few minutes. After a few weeks of that, I got sick of having to do all that prep work and started doing longer cook-time dishes. Now, the shortest cook time dish I do is 45 minutes, the longest is usually 18 hours on Peking Duck. That particular dish works well for me because I can start cooking it at 8pm or later on a work night and come home from work the next day and it's ready to serve. I also have several 8 hour dishes - start those at night as well, but get up a few minutes early before work and serve them up and start more 8 hours dishes. Also do some 12 hour dishes such as overstuffed peppers. I'll put those on in the morning before going to work and serve them at 5 pm later that day.
I'm currently at level 57 with a little over 310,000 experience points. I came close to acquiring 1,000,000 gold coins, but I did a total cafe makeover which cost me ALL of that. Now, I buy an item here and there for my cafe, but I am going to get it up to over 500,000 coins. I want enough coins available for whenever they decide to allow us to get the next sized up cafe - the next available is the Extrvagant Cafe - but, no-one can get it yet, and yet, a lot of people are complaining about it.
When will I quit this game? Dunno. Sooner or later I'll get burnt out on - but it probably will take a while because you really don't have to sit here and play it constantly, you get your dishes cooking and then you click out of it. The only real bummer about the game is that it runs so slow- and lots of people complain about that, too. I have never found these types of beta applications to run fast anyway. Maybe better computer hardware - more virtual memory - I dunno. Mine runs okay most of the time. When mine does run slow, I get out of the cafe right away. For whatever reason, when the game is running slow, I notice my buzz rating starts plummeting. I just come back a little later to hopefully find it back up to par.
There are undoubtedly more secrets to this game that I haven't stumbled across yet. I know there are "neighbors adding" groups where you can allegedly get hundreds of neighbors in one fell swoop - but you still have to go through the process of adding them as a friend and sending them an invite -etc etc etc. I just add neighbors here and there. The Cafe World Facebook wall has entries put in there by Cafe World and then usually thousands of comments under it with people asking for neighbors. That's where I find new neighbors. It's been kinda cool, actually, because some of these people I have had opportunity to chat with in that little chat window at the bottom of Facebook. People all over the world, actually. It's amazing how many people speak these "alien" languages also speak fluent English.
Oh - and yes, you can acquire more experience points by visiting neighbor's cafes. I don't do it. It takes WAY too long. I mean, getting into another person's cafe is what - 20 or 30 seconds? I have 92 neighbors, this would take forever. Some things I am simply not willing to do in this game - wasting a lot of time is one of them. I enjoy the game and am enjoying passing all kinds of people without having to spend every waking moment at it. It's just a matter of fine-tuning the game to your schedule.
Anyway, to the Googlers that found this entry for tips, I hope I have helped you. If you have any tips, feel free to leave them in the comments section below this entry.