I have had it as well! Both with and without mods, in two different saves. In the second time I felt like I was playing whackamole with the thieving sims, especially because they would steal plates as soon as one of the sims on my table stopped their eating animation. It happened four times in a row at that table.
Playing on a MacBook Pro
This might help too. When they steal the food, right click and reset object. The thief will drop the food and you can snatch it up at that point.
Product: The Sims 4
Which language are you playing the game in? English
How often does the bug occur? Often (50% - 99%)
What is your current game version number? 126.96.36.1990
What expansions, game packs, and stuff packs do you have installed? Get Famous, Cats & Dogs, City Living, Get Together, Get to Work, Dine Out, Spa Day, Outdoor Retreat, Fitness, Bowling, Vintage Glamour, Movie Hangout, Outdoor Patio, Luxury Party, Holiday Celebration, Grim's Ghoulish Guitar.
Steps: How can we find the bug ourselves? Have most recent update and Dine Out. It'll happen.
What happens when the bug occurs? Randomly when a Sim is eating. NPCs will walk over and grab the food if they stop.
What do you expect to see? Them eating their food to completion and others NOT grab their food.
Have you installed any customization with the game, e.g. Custom Content or Mods? Not now. I've removed them.
Did this issue appear after a specific patch or change you made to your system? Yes
Please describe the patch or change you made. Started after last Tuesday's patch.
Ever since the patch on Tuesday, I've noticed Sims suddenly stop eating and may bug to what is seen above. On top of this, NPCs will randomly grab another's meal, including my own's meal, and begin eating like it's theirs. Before the patch, this didn't happen, but ever since the patch, it's been very common with the Dine Out pack.
Same problem with an added bug that causes them to suddenly stop eating. In the image below, I had invited Venessa out to have a friendly dinner at the revamped Salty Paws Saloon (turned it into a Seafood place) and this happened, and happened three times.
@ja420 It's what I've been doing! But unfortunately, when you're at the restaurant with some NPCs they won't start eating from their plate again, even if you place it right in front of them. It's lost!
June - last edited June
Bienchen83 has a mod "Less waking around in restaurants" that seems to have mostly* fixed food stealing in my game. It causes Sims to stay at their own tables instead of wondering around.
*mostly because the mod isn't intended to fix this issue.
Since Island Living came out and having been playing in Sulani a lot... a common sense thing about this restaurant bug has come to mind...
Now I am no programmer or developer (yet), although I will be studying it in school this fall, so I may be incorrect on this, BUT...
From my own gameplay I have noticed Sulani has a SHARING culture as opposed to the way the rest of the worlds work. Also sims there tend to shower, bathe in tub, and cook in your own kitchen when visiting like they have the Always Welcome reward trait even if they don't have it.
Also on top of the usual Welcome Wagon (where instead of fruitcake you get a free kava bowl filled with kava), they have an "Extra Food" event were neighbors bring you: EXTRA Food! This happens especially if you are on the Off The Grid lot trait and/or don't have a stove and refrigerator and basically living out of a cooler (if you have Outdoor Living) or are just buying food at the vendors around the island instead of cooking yourself.
Also when at the beach people will grill mass quantities of food and will "Call To Meal" for everyone on the lot, not just prepare for themselves. Even when at the bar if my sim orders food it will be a big plate with 8 servings (more than they personally need at that time) and he or she will do a call to meal and everyone in the area shares the plate.
The problem with the restaurant bug I think is this: Sulani's SHARING culture was written into the Base Game. Thus this of course would leak into Dine Out and explain why people are stealing other peoples food, where it is NOT appropriate in those instances. Its a culture clash thing.
The Sulani sharing culture obviously does not work with Restaurant culture where you eat your own food and only what you pay for, and others only eat their own food and pay for it.
What probably should have been done is the Sulani sharing culture should have been written into ONLY Island Living and applies and is active ONLY when in Sulani. Putting that AI code into the Base Game might not have been a great idea, as that way of living and socializing doesn't fit with the rest of worlds and especially in Dine Out. I also noticed in households when anyone cooks a meal the game automatically triggers Call To Meal instead of you having to tell the sim to do it. Which is fine of course if you have a human, alien, or mermaid family were everyone needs to eat food. Vampire families not to much unless of course they have toddlers and children who need food who haven't come of vampire age yet. In this case the vampires will come and eat even if they have the withered stomach weakness. The vamps that don't have it are fine of course and just have a nice snack, but the withered stomach vamps of course barf all over the place and hilarity and a nice mess to clean up ensues
Anyway, just thought I would share this random thought. Either that or I have been taking too many pointers from Dillan Mason again (one of my alien sims)