Time-management games can descend quickly into tedium. Thankfully, Stand O’Food 3 HD has a smooth learning curve and just enough charm to make managing a fast food joint fun.

In Stand O’Food 3 HD, the burger-loving chef has gone from fry cook to burger baron, owning his own major Stand O’Food. He’s interested in expanding, and your job is to help him open more than two dozen restaurants around the city.

The chef isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, so the game is spent behind the counter making food to order. Actually, it’s more like putting food in order as the conveyor belts send out the buns, burgers, fish fillets, and so on from the mysterious back room.

Each customer has a particular preference. Moms tend to like fish, while blue collar guys like the bacon. You build their sandwiches as they approach. Screw up and they won’t take the sandwich, so you’ll be forced to toss expensive ingredients or use one of the special unlockable items.

Room for growth

Stand O’Food 3 HD works because it allows you to improvise. Hot sauce is great on egg sandwiches – just like in real life – so bonus money is given if you throw it on there before you serve it to the hungry customers.

You can also give folks extra treats to keep them patient, like fresh brewed coffee to the Yuppies or French fries to the Teenagers.

The management here isn’t really about how to make a sandwich, but how to make money making sandwiches. The sandwich material itself is free, but there are lots and lots of items you can buy to spruce up your joint and the food – and all of them cost money.

Investing in mayonnaise allows you to charge more per burger, but it's pricey and limited in quantity. Buying a jukebox will make customers more patient, but it's ridiculously expensive.

The cutesy exterior of Stand O’Food 3 HD belies a painful lesson in restaurant ownership: each level ends with a big money tally and most of it is taken away for supplies, infrastructure, and errors.

It's just on the edge of frustrating, but the good-spirited (and refreshingly honest) nature of the game will probably keep you going.

The variety helps, too, as a highly-profitable, Root Beer Tapper-inspired bonus round as well as lasagna and cake levels keep the gameplay pretty fresh.

Touchy subject

Annoyingly, the otherwise precise controls fall apart when it comes to the details.

The small items, like the ketchup and the curry sauce, are all jammed together in one part of the screen. Be slightly off in your tapping or be cursed with big fingers and you’ll find yourself squirting the wrong pricey juice on the wrong equally pricy item. It would have taken very little work for the designers to correct this problem.

Tap issues aside, Stand O’Food 3 HD serves up enough fun to captivate gamers who wouldn’t usually give time-management games a second look.