SpongeBob SquarePants Diner Dash is a time management and waiter game featuring the famous cartoon character. It has gameplay mechanics very similar to Diner Dash, not surprising since it was co-developed by the same company. The player controls SpongeBob, setting tasks for him to perform his job duties at the Krusty Krab diner. Fish patrons and groups of customers arrive and wait to be seated at the left side of the screen. A hearts meter above their heads shows their satisfaction level, that slowly decreases while they wait making them eventually leave in anger when it runs out. They can be dragged and dropped with the mouse to one of the empty tables. The tables have multi-colored seats, that give extra points when matching the client's color.
After seating at the tables, the customers start to peruse the menu, eventually raising their fins to make an order. The main objective is to serve them and collect their payment as fast as possible, to meet the minimum cash goal of each level before closing time. SpongeBob can carry two things at the same time, and the player can click on several places at once, setting a series of way points to take orders, deliver dishes, clean tables and accomplish other common catering tasks.
The customers are types of fish, with diverse moods and personalities. The minnow is the more common and easier type, leaving good tips and having lots of patience. The cap-wearing cod is also very patient, but only leaves tips when happy. The tall anchovy gives large tips, but is quite impatient. The bow tie grouper has little patience while waiting in line, but can wait without fuss at the table. The sturgeon has no problem with lines, but gets irritated while waiting at the table. The bespectacled VIP customer gives the Employee Of The Month award, if he is satisfied after finishing his meal, but takes off several points if he ends up angry at the end of it.
On later levels, new upgrades help to maintain the satisfaction level of the customers. The drink stations serves drinks for the seated clients. Music from a boombox stereo system makes the customers at the tables happy, and performers entertain the patrons waiting in line. The oven makes the kitchen cook faster, and winged running shoes increase SpongeBob's speed.
The endless mode is similar to the career mode, but with an infinite stream of new customers. Each time a patron leaves dissatisfied, the player loses one star. The game ends when all the stars are gone. An upgrade button at the top of the screen adds helpful items.