The café is a fairly big building, consisting of two main areas on the ground floor. The front and the kitchen. The kitchen is obviously fairly fancy and big to be able to handle all of the orders efficienctly. (Large enough for 3/4 chefs to move around easily). There is also a storage area in the back where he keeps ingredients and little keepsakes.
For the most part, the back room (kitchen) is off-limits. You won't get to see it unless Horte explicitly allows you back there for a cooking lesson or something. Exceptions can occur obviously, do something in a fun manner and I most certainly will not mind, but in general. No touchy!
For the front. Imagine if you will a large rectangle, windows all around, creating a well-lit atmosphere, a nice carpet laid down, with booths around the outside, in the corners and two rows of tables down the middle. At the far end of the café there is a bar area, where ponies can sit close to the kitchen and get easy access to drinks. This is also a good spot to sit if you are looking to be alone.
Outside there are round tables with umbrellas. (See Season 1 Episode 3 - The Ticket Master. A decent view of the exterior seating is visible)
Got the layout in mind now? Fantastic.
How the café actually works!
If you are going to read just one thing. Read this...
I like to run the café whenever I'm not busy, which is to say that I pretty much run it all the time in the background unless I have something specific planned, which I will try my best to make as clear as possible in advance. I'd hope that you would all not mind if I have to leave mid café RP if this is the case, as I know from experience that scenes can overlap and leave ponies disappointed. I'd ask you not to consider this as me ignoring you, but rather unfortunate timing. These things happen, with a character like Horte it's BOUND to happen more in the future too. It'll just have to be dealt with unfortunately.
Now. In terms of service. I tend to have Horte awaken between 7 and 10am EST/EDT. If I haven't posted yet that morning feel free to PROXY ME OR A WAITER. I don't mind, and most certainly won't disapprove. This also holds true during times where I am AFK or asleep. Proxy, proxy, proxy. If you want to test if I am there, shoot me a DM or a mention in the feed/IRC. Wait 5-10 minutes tops, if I don't respond. I'm likely not there, and you know what to do... PROXY! *Is making a recurring theme*
When it comes to Horte being active, he can and WILL talk to every single pony in the café simultaneously. There's a good reason for this. Exclusion. I originally ran with a the idea that Horte is just one pony. He can only serve one, maybe two ponies max at once. Now where's the problem there? Well how about if 2 ponies enter the cafe, take their seats. Horte then trots over and starts taking their order. 2 more ponies arrive! ... Well darn. Now I'm stumped. So this is why I changed to my new waiting system.
In terms of the interaction! Horte's player ((That's me!)) Will usually try to get back to you within 5 minutes tops depending on how busy it gets. If it's /really/ busy in the café, or if the player is busy IRL it might be extended to 10 minutes. After this, shoot me a mention, DM, or ping me in the IRC. I'll get to you ASAP. This is not ignoring. It's me simply being busy, it happens.
Now! The bit which I've been meaning to /really/ tackle. The conversation. I like to play Horte as one who likes to ask questions. He will ask you them until he straight up runs out of ideas to talk about. This tends to be mood dependent for me. HOWEVER. This does /not/ mean that you shouldn't return fire. I LOVE more than anything when a character in the café starts asking /me/ questions back. It shows me that you aren't being a dull pony! You aren't just a question dump, and you realize that I have something to say too! This is literally the fastest way to get a massive thumbs up from me, and I will give you ALL the virtual hugs for it. It'll also allow for more conversation topics, thus elongating our RP session.
In considering that last section it'll sound like I'm saying "I don't want to hear about you, talk about me!" This isn't true at all. I love listening to you all! It's what I do, and what keeps me here. Hearing about your days, your trip to the park, the stove which you forgot to turn off, your work! These are the kinds of things I like to hear about. It doesn't need to be spectacular, I can work with pretty much anything other then "My day was okay/fine" or some other variant. If you supply this as a response, I'll force another question onto you until I get something I can use for conversation. Even if it is "I went for a walk" I can do /so/ much with that you wouldn't believe! =D
Here's a secret. I know pretty much nothing about cooking. All of my info comes from the web and books I own. I LOVE researching this stuff. Which is why there's basically a new special every morning, lunch and dinner. I strive to change it and make it different every single time. At the same time however, do remember that I want to hear your input. As I said, I have no idea about foods. Surprise me with your knowledge, ask for something I have no idea about. I had a pony come in asking for French cuisine one time, looking for a "Croque Monsieur". I was shocked. I had no idea what this was, I started looking up "Croque" because I didn't realize that "Monsieur" was part of the name. When I looked it up, I was ecstatic because it was so new to me. (Looks delicious too I must add =P)
Another thing to add about food. When it comes to the likes of drinks, flavoured syrups, condiments, etc... (Anything with a nigh-infinite number of types) be as creative as you please! If you want a grass flavoured milkshake? No problem! Want a loganberry frozen yoghurt? Sure thing boss! I've gotcha covered! If you are feeling particularly non-creative, just ask me and I'll list some off for you. It's what I'm there for.
Final note on this topic... I'll take your order, but depending on how busy I am, or how forgetful I am. I may forget to tweet at you saying that it has been delivered to you. Average time for food to be brought out is 10-15 minutes for a meal, 5 for a drink. Proxying it arriving should I forget. I won't take offense to you doing so. However, I'll confess to a pet hate of mine being "Where's my meal?" This is a reasonable question, but I see it so often I almost count it as the person on the other end saying "Why did you forget me?" which sounds rude on my end and sours the RP experience, as well as, in essence, breaking the flow of conversation.
The café doubles as Horte's home. There is a staircase leading up to his room through a door near the bar area. Not much needs to be said about it as he only really uses the space for sleeping, playing piano, and hosting little get-togethers. It has a couple of spare rooms and the usual facilities one would expect. Nothing overly special at all really. (Excepting perhaps his impressive collection of suit tops each with their own unique colours!)
With regards to café RP, it tends to be a straight forward back and forth, no two ways about it. It's a fun little thing for myself to do with my time, and I love the sheer amount of ponies who have given me their time of day s thank you all.