Making no Profit in OFB?
Then there's the dance club that might be breaking even - I haven't checked lately but am pretty sure that one's losing money too. It has a few employees (bartender, DJ, sometimes a doorperson and tidy-up person) and the only income is from admission and drinks.
The only one that was actually making money was a small shop with no paid employees. It finally got so busy that the owner had to hire help - just one employee. I think that one is still earning a small profit but it's gotten so busy that they'll need a second cash register soon and another employee to work it, which will again cut into profits. So yeah. If you need money-losing tips, I'm your lamb!
I've run game halls, ball rooms, farms and all kinds of stores except art galeries, and I hardly ever hired personel. Usually, they started out with only the store owner, and once a business started to run so well that more personel was required, the owner's partner and teen kids were recruited. All my business sims eventually became filthy stinkin' rich.
The biggest winner is the home business selling groceries from the green house with 48 garden plots. Have one of your sims get a gold gardening badge, and then start growing eggplants. Hire a butler to tend/water the crops, and only use your sims to fertilize, plant and harvest. Pack the groceries in crates and sell bulk.
Even businesses that sold nothing at all, but ran on admissions only - like game halls - made effing millionaires of their owners. Just keep adjusting the entry prices upwards as the business gains stars, and play games or have conversations with customers. Guaranteed winners all the time.
If your business sells stuff, use my edited auto cash register. No lines of people waiting to pay, no stress with a cashier that needs to be trained and requires breaks.
Another good thing is to always have some room where your sims can entertain guests horizontally (ACR). It doesn't generate any cash, but it makes the customers so happy that good-will comes out their ears, raising the business rep, and gaining you stars. Use the business perks, and keep adjusting those prices.
Right now I have given Jeremy and Genevieve the little diner - it is so small I can run it with just two sims - G and J - but one of the sims needs to be a really good cook. Like an 8 plus. So far they are 3 stars, Jer makes an excellent waiter as he is outgoing and friendly and high in cleaning skill and Genevieve is a really good cook. The idea is that their kid (LTW celebrity chef) is gonna get the business in the end, so I can pass on all perks and the stars.
Is there no hack to make it that family members can be hired employees? Even at a tiny wage?
There is certainly a hire family member mod, only trouble is they will get a car pool when they are home. http://www.insimenator.org/index.php/topic,7778.0.html
Then you can set their times to be somewhat better with the mod on MTS, which I forget the name of right now arg. But there is one to give a variety of hours not 9-5. Or another idea would be the simlogical school sign, one version stops the car pool.
But what my point is: don't try to run a restaurant, @leefish, until you have some experience running some other businesses.
I consider myself a reasonably seasoned Sims player and I don't shy away from a business. But I've not even tried a restaurant, yet.