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Restaurant Opening and Closing Checklist (Templates)

Automation in restaurants can also help manage staff schedules


In the restaurant industry, ensuring a smooth daily operation can often feel like choreographing a grand ballet. From prepping ingredients and setting tables to reviewing inventory and ensuring the highest standards of cleanliness, every task is crucial. 

But with so many moving parts, how do restaurateurs ensure nothing slips through the cracks? Enter the restaurant opening and closing checklist—a vital tool that serves as the backstage crew, ensuring every performance goes off without a hitch. Dive in to discover how this simple tool can revolutionize your daily operations.

What is a Restaurant Opening and Closing Checklist?

Opening a restaurant checklist is an essential part of a restaurant’s day-to-day operations

This checklist is a systematic tool used by restaurant managers and staff to ensure that all necessary opening and closing tasks are completed each business day. It provides a clear roadmap of responsibilities, ensuring that operations run smoothly and that the establishment is ready to serve customers effectively while maintaining high standards of safety, cleanliness, and efficiency.

Opening Checklist components typically include: 

  • Safety and Security Checks: Ensure all alarms are deactivated, and doors are unlocked.
  • Equipment Startup: Turn on kitchen equipment like grills, ovens, and fryers.
  • Prep and Stock: Stock service stations, and begin food preparation for the day.
  • Cleanliness: Inspect and clean dining areas, restrooms, and kitchen spaces.
  • Staff Briefings: Go over the specials for the day, any changes, and provide necessary training.
  • Marketing Campaigns: Looking to introduce a new dish, update happy hours, or need to get the word out about a new offer? Use your restaurant marketing tools to get the job done.

Closing Checklist components often encompass:

  • Safety Checks: Ensure that all kitchen equipment is turned off and secure the premises.
  • Clean Up: Clean kitchen areas, wash dishes, sanitize surfaces, and sweep/mop floors.
  • Stock and Inventory: Check inventory levels and make notes for next-day orders.
  • End-of-Day Reports: Count cash, run credit card transactions, follow sales reports, and check your restaurant analytics data.
  • Preparation for Next Day: Prep certain ingredients, make a to-do list for the next day, and ensure everything is in place for a smooth start in the morning.

This checklist is essential for maintaining consistency in operations, ensuring safety standards, managing inventory, and offering a seamless dining experience for patrons. It also serves as an accountability tool for staff and your restaurant manager, ensuring every task is completed adequately. 

Why is a Restaurant Opening and Closing Checklist Important?

Creating a checklist for restaurants helps to maintain operational efficiency.

A restaurant opening and closing checklist is vital for several reasons:

  • Consistency and Quality Assurance: A standardized approach ensures that the restaurant consistently delivers a quality experience to its customers. Whether it’s the freshness of food, cleanliness of the environment, or the functionality of equipment, a checklist ensures that standards are maintained every day.
  • Safety and Hygiene: Overlooking even simple tasks, like checking the temperatures of refrigerators or ensuring the cleanliness of the dining area, can pose health risks to customers and staff. A checklist ensures that all safety and hygiene protocols are adhered to and that you have a clean and orderly establishment. 
  • Operational Efficiency: The checklist ensures that everything is set up for the day’s operations (during opening) and that the restaurant is properly shut down in the evening (during closing). This avoids last-minute rushes or overlooking essential tasks that can disrupt smooth operations.
  • Accountability: Assigning important tasks to staff members and having a record of these tasks instills a sense of responsibility. If something is amiss, it becomes easier to pinpoint where the oversight occurred.
  • Cost Savings: Regular checks, especially during closing, can help in conserving energy (turning off unnecessary lights and equipment) and reducing waste. Over time, these savings can be substantial.
  • Maintenance and Longevity of Equipment: Ensuring that kitchen equipment is appropriately shut down, cleaned, and maintained can extend its life and performance. This can lead to cost savings in the long run as it can reduce repair and replacement costs.
  • Preparedness for the Next Day: The closing checklist often includes preparations for the next business day. This ensures that the restaurant is ready to operate efficiently from the moment it opens.
  • Feedback Loop: Checklists can also serve as an essential feedback tool. If certain tasks consistently pose challenges or if there are recurring issues, they can be flagged and addressed, leading to continuous improvement in operations.

Restaurant Opening Checklist Template

Writing a daily checklist for restaurant operations can help to streamline tasks and fix any bumps along the way.

An opening checklist is a comprehensive guide used by restaurant managers and staff to ensure that all essential tasks are completed before the establishment opens its doors to customers each day. This list is vital for ensuring that the restaurant is prepared to operate smoothly, provide quality service, and adhere to safety and hygiene standards.

Components of a typical opening checklist include:

1. Safety and Security Checks

 Discuss Opening duties with your staff to keep them focused on their tasks throughout the day.

Safety and security checks are essential in an opening checklist for several reasons. Firstly, they prioritize customer well-being by ensuring a hazard-free environment, reducing the risk of accidents and maintaining compliance with safety regulations and health codes. 

  • Customer Safety: Ensuring that the dining area, pathways, and restrooms are free from hazards or obstacles reduces the risk of accidents or injuries to customers, creating a safe dining environment.
  • Employee Safety: Regular safety checks help identify and address potential risks in the kitchen and service areas, safeguarding restaurant staff from accidents or incidents.
  • Legal Compliance: Complying with safety regulations and guidelines is essential to avoid legal issues or penalties that can arise from accidents or safety violations.
  • Fire Prevention: Inspecting fire safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems, ensures the restaurant is prepared to respond effectively to any fire-related emergencies.
  • Asset Protection: Security checks, including verifying locks and alarms, help protect the restaurant’s assets, such as inventory and equipment, from theft or vandalism.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Routine safety checks help maintain emergency exits and evacuation routes, ensuring that the restaurant is prepared for unexpected events like fires or natural disasters.
  • Customer Confidence: A restaurant that prioritizes safety and security instills confidence in customers, encouraging them to return and recommend the establishment to others.

2. Equipment Startup

Creating a server opening checklist helps keep your front-of-house staff focused on their day-to-day duties.

Equipment startup is a critical component of a day-to-day restaurant checklist for several reasons. Here are the reasons why equipment startup is important in a day-to-day opening checklist:

  • Prevent Equipment Failures: Thoroughly inspecting and testing kitchen equipment ensures that it’s in working order. Addressing any malfunctions early prevents unexpected breakdowns during service.
  • Maintain Operational Efficiency: Operational disruptions during peak hours can lead to delays in serving customers and potential revenue loss. Functional equipment is vital for a smooth restaurant operation.
  • Enhance Food Safety Standards: Cleaning and sanitizing equipment before use reduces the risk of cross-contamination, which can cause foodborne illnesses and harm the restaurant’s reputation.
  • Consistent Food Quality: Properly functioning equipment is essential for maintaining consistent food quality. Cooking, heating, and refrigeration equipment must operate correctly to ensure dishes are safe and delicious.
  • Inventory Management: Equipment startup involves checking inventory levels of cooking utensils, tableware, and other essential items. This step ensures that the kitchen is adequately equipped to meet the day’s demand, preventing shortages during service.

3. Food Preparation

An opening procedures checklist should include food prep for the day.

Food preparation is a crucial element of a day-to-day restaurant opening checklist for various reasons. 

  • Food Quality: Proper food preparation ensures that dishes are consistently prepared to the restaurant’s standards, maintaining the quality and taste that customers expect.
  • Health and Safety: Following food safety protocols during preparation helps prevent foodborne illnesses and ensures the well-being of customers and staff.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Consistency in food preparation leads to consistent dining experiences, enhancing customer satisfaction and encouraging repeat visits.
  • Efficiency: A well-organized food preparation process improves kitchen efficiency, reducing wait times and ensuring timely service.
  • Inventory Management: Proper preparation techniques help manage inventory effectively, minimizing food wastage and controlling costs.
  • Menu Consistency: Consistent food preparation techniques ensure that menu items taste the same every time they are ordered, reinforcing the restaurant’s brand.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Adhering to food safety guidelines and regulations is essential to avoid health code violations and maintain the restaurant’s reputation.
  • Staff Training: Including food preparation in the opening checklist helps in training new staff and ensuring that all team members follow the same procedures.

4. Dining Area Setup

 A restaurant opening checklist template should include front-of-house tasks.

The dining setup is a crucial aspect of restaurant business operations at the start of the day. It influences customer perceptions, service efficiency, and the overall dining experience, making it an essential component of a successful restaurant opening. Here’s a breakdown of what the entails: 

  • First Impressions: The dining setup is the first thing customers notice when they enter a restaurant. It plays a pivotal role in shaping their initial impression of the establishment. 
  • Efficiency: Preparing the dining area in advance ensures that tables are properly set, utensils are neatly arranged, and everything is clean and ready for guests. 
  • Customer Experience: An organized dining setup contributes to a comfortable and enjoyable dining experience. Guests appreciate having a clean and inviting space to enjoy their meals, which can lead to positive reviews, repeat business, and word-of-mouth recommendations.
  • Optimal Seating: Properly arranging tables and chairs optimizes seating capacity. This means that the restaurant can accommodate more guests during peak hours, maximizing revenue potential.
  • Safety and Compliance: Regular checks of the dining area ensure that furniture is stable and in good condition. This helps prevent accidents and ensures the safety of both customers and staff. It also contributes to compliance with health and safety regulations.
  • Aesthetics: The aesthetics of the dining setup contribute to the overall ambiance of the restaurant. Thoughtfully chosen decor, lighting, and table settings enhance the atmosphere, making it more appealing to diners.
  • Staff Preparedness: Including dining setup in the opening checklist ensures that the waitstaff is well-prepared to provide excellent service as soon as the restaurant opens. This includes knowing table assignments, having the necessary supplies on hand, and being familiar with the day’s specials.

5. Staff Briefings

A daily checklist for restaurant businesses includes staff briefings in order to keep the team focused on their duties throughout the day.

Staff briefings are a vital component of a restaurant’s opening checklist as they set the stage for a successful day of operations. They promote effective communication, teamwork, safety, and a commitment to delivering exceptional service, all of which are essential in the competitive restaurant industry.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of what that includes: 

  • Communication: Briefings provide an opportunity for management to communicate essential information to the staff. This may include special promotions, menu changes, VIP guests, or any specific instructions for the day. 
  • Consistency: In a restaurant, consistency is key to delivering a high-quality dining experience. Briefings help ensure that all staff members understand and adhere to the restaurant’s standards, from the way dishes are prepared to the level of service expected.
  • Customer Service: Staff briefings are an ideal time to emphasize the importance of exceptional customer service. Team members can be reminded to be attentive, courteous, and responsive to customer needs, which directly impacts guest satisfaction and repeat business.
  • Safety and Compliance: Safety procedures and compliance with health regulations are paramount in the restaurant industry. During briefings, staff can be reminded of safety protocols, such as food handling and hygiene standards, as well as any specific guidelines for that day.
  • Team Building: Briefings foster a sense of unity among staff members. It’s an opportunity for team building and motivation, helping employees feel valued and part of a cohesive group. A motivated and cohesive team is more likely to provide excellent service.
  • Problem Solving: Briefings allow staff to discuss potential challenges they might face during the day and brainstorm solutions. This proactive approach can prevent issues from escalating and ensure that the team is prepared to handle unexpected situations.
  • Efficiency: Well-informed staff can work more efficiently. Briefings provide the chance to review the day’s reservations, anticipated busy periods, and staffing levels, enabling the team to allocate resources effectively.

6. Restroom Inspection

 Keeping restroom facilities clean is a must for any opening checklist.

Including restroom inspection in restaurant opening checklists underscores the significance of maintaining this critical area, ensuring that it aligns with health standards, enhances the guest experience, and upholds the restaurant’s reputation. 

  • Guest Experience: The condition of a restaurant’s restroom directly impacts the overall guest experience. A clean, well-maintained restroom contributes positively to diners’ perceptions of the establishment. On the other hand, a neglected restroom can leave a lasting negative impression, potentially affecting customer satisfaction and return visits.
  • Health and Hygiene: Restrooms are a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. That’s why it’s important to have a clean guest bathroom – to prevent the spread of illnesses among both guests and staff. Maintaining high hygiene standards in restrooms aligns with health regulations and ensures a safer dining environment.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Health and safety regulations often mandate that restaurants maintain clean and sanitary restroom facilities. Failing to adhere to these regulations can lead to penalties, closures, and a damaged reputation. Regular restroom inspections are necessary to ensure compliance and avoid legal issues.
  • Preventative Maintenance: Conducting restroom inspections during restaurant opening helps identify and address issues before they escalate. This proactive approach minimizes the risk of unexpected problems during peak dining hours, such as plumbing issues, water leaks, or sanitation problems.
  • Brand Image: A restaurant’s image and reputation are closely tied to the cleanliness and upkeep of its facilities, including restrooms. A well-maintained restroom reflects positively on the brand, demonstrating the restaurant’s commitment to cleanliness and customer satisfaction. 
  • Customer Comfort: Restrooms are a fundamental aspect of customer comfort. Ensuring that they are clean, well-stocked, and in good working condition contributes to the overall comfort of guests. Satisfied and comfortable customers are more likely to have a pleasant dining experience.

7. POS System and Cash Registers

Checking the register and POS system is essential to have on a restaurant opening checklist

Incorporating restaurant POS software and cash registers into the daily opening checklist ensures that these foundational tools are in place and fully operational. This, in turn, contributes to the smooth functioning of the restaurant and other benefits, including:

  • Transaction Handling: A functional POS system or cash register is essential for processing customer orders and payments accurately and efficiently. It ensures that financial transactions run smoothly, minimizing errors in bills and change, which can lead to customer dissatisfaction and loss of revenue.
  • Order Accuracy: Modern POS systems are equipped with features that enhance order accuracy. They allow servers to enter orders directly, reducing the risk of misunderstandings or miscommunication between the front-of-house and kitchen staff. 
  • Inventory Management: Many POS systems offer inventory management capabilities. They help track ingredient usage in real-time, enabling restaurant owners to monitor stock levels, reduce overstocking or understocking, and identify which items need reordering. This, in turn, minimizes food waste and saves on inventory costs.
  • Sales and Revenue Tracking: POS systems provide detailed reports on daily, weekly, and monthly sales figures. This data is invaluable for assessing the restaurant’s financial performance, identifying high-selling items, and making informed decisions to boost revenue. It also aids in tax reporting and financial planning.
  • Employee Efficiency: A well-functioning POS system streamlines the order-taking process and reduces the time employees spend on manual calculations. This efficiency allows staff to focus on providing quality customer service, ultimately improving the overall dining experience.
  • Security and Fraud Prevention: POS systems enhance security by providing features like user authentication and transaction tracking. They help prevent employee theft and unauthorized access to the system. Additionally, they enable secure payment processing, protecting both customer and restaurant data.
  • Customer Insights: Many POS systems offer customer relationship management (CRM) features that collect data on customer preferences and behaviors. This information can be used to tailor marketing efforts, create personalized promotions, and enhance customer retention strategies.
  • Integration Capabilities: Modern online ordering POS systems often integrate with other restaurant management tools, such as reservation systems, kitchen display systems, and online ordering platforms.

8. Marketing Campaigns

A checklist for restaurants should also include tasks related to marketing.

Marketing campaigns play a pivotal role in an opening checklist. They are essential for creating buzz and excitement around your restaurant, attracting potential customers, and helping you earn more revenue.

Start the day off with planning, which allows you to coordinate your efforts effectively. You can align marketing activities with daily operations, ensuring that promotions and campaigns run smoothly. If your restaurant offers daily specials or promotions, setting up marketing campaigns in the morning is crucial. 

Here are some of the most effective marketing campaigns you should be launching on your day-to-day:

  • Restaurant Social Media Marketing: Mornings are often when people check their accounts for social media posts. Posting engaging content early can help you capture the attention of potential customers, encouraging them to visit your restaurant later in the day.
  • Lunch and Dinner Reservations: If your restaurant takes reservations for lunch and dinner, morning marketing efforts can remind customers to book a table in advance via a restaurant online reservation system. This proactive approach can help you manage reservations more effectively.
  • Email Marketing: Sending out a restaurant’s email marketing campaigns in the morning allows you to reach customers when their inboxes are relatively less crowded. It’s an ideal time to share updates, news, and promotions to keep your restaurant top of mind.
  • Restaurant SMS Marketing: Looking to launch a more personal marketing campaign to a select group of clients? Create an SMS campaign once you open to get the word out about your latest offers, table availability, and much more. 
  • Customer Engagement: Morning marketing campaigns can include engagement initiatives like polls, surveys, or interactive content. This encourages customers to interact with your brand, fostering a sense of community and loyalty.
  • Feedback Collection: You can use morning campaigns to encourage customers to leave reviews or provide restaurant feedback about their experiences from the previous day. This feedback is invaluable for making improvements.
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Restaurant Closing Checklist Template

A closing kitchen checklist helps staff close for the day without any issues.

This checklist contains a detailed list of tasks and procedures that need to be completed at the end of the business day or shift to ensure that a restaurant is securely and properly closed. It’s designed to help staff systematically shut down different areas of the restaurant, ensuring safety, cleanliness, and preparedness for the following day.

Here’s an overview of the elements commonly found in this checklist:

1. Front of House (Dining Area)

A server closing checklist helps the front-of-house staff put away everything for the day.

The Front of House (FOH), or the dining area, is a critical component of an opening checklist for several important reasons:

  • Customer Experience: Ensuring that the dining area is clean and well-organized contributes to a positive customer experience. Customers who leave a restaurant with a good impression are more likely to return and recommend it to others.
  • Hygiene and Sanitation: Cleaning and sanitizing tables, chairs, and other surfaces in the dining area is essential for maintaining high hygiene standards. This helps prevent the spread of germs and ensures the health and safety of both customers and staff.
  • First Impressions: The dining area is the first thing customers see when they enter the restaurant. A clean, well-maintained space sets a positive tone and reflects the restaurant’s commitment to quality and cleanliness.
  • Compliance: Health and safety regulations often require that dining areas be cleaned and sanitized regularly. Compliance with these regulations is crucial to avoid fines or legal issues.
  • Staff Efficiency: A well-organized closing process that includes cleaning the dining area helps staff complete their closing duties efficiently. This, in turn, allows them to finish their shifts on time and reduces labor costs.
  • Preventing Pests: A clean dining area is less likely to attract pests like rodents or insects. Regular cleaning and sanitation help prevent infestations that can be costly to address.
  • Attractiveness for the Next Day: When the dining area is cleaned and set up appropriately before closing, it is more inviting for customers the next day. This can lead to a smoother opening and improved customer satisfaction.

2. Kitchen

Use a restaurant closing checklist template for tracking tasks before closing for the day.

The kitchen area, also known as the back of house, is a critical component of a restaurant checklist because it directly impacts food safety, food waste, regulatory compliance, equipment maintenance, and overall operational efficiency. Properly closing the kitchen ensures:

  • Food Safety: Properly closing down the kitchen is crucial for food safety. It ensures that perishable foods are stored at the correct temperatures, preventing spoilage and reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses.
  • Preventing Food Waste: Closing procedures often involve assessing food inventory to identify items that need to be used or discarded. This minimizes food waste and maximizes cost-efficiency.
  • Equipment Maintenance: Cleaning and maintaining kitchen equipment at the end of the day ensures that it remains in good working condition. This can extend the lifespan of expensive kitchen appliances and prevent costly breakdowns.
  • Sanitation: Thoroughly cleaning kitchen surfaces, including countertops, stovetops, ovens, and cutting boards, is essential to maintain high standards of cleanliness and hygiene. It prevents cross-contamination and the spread of germs.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Many health and safety regulations require that commercial kitchens be cleaned and sanitized regularly. Compliance is not only a legal obligation but also essential for maintaining a positive reputation and customer trust.
  • Efficiency: Properly shutting down the kitchen at the end of the day ensures that it is ready for the next shift. This includes restocking ingredients, sharpening knives, and organizing workstations, which contributes to a smoother and more efficient opening the next day.
  • Energy Efficiency: Turning off equipment, such as stoves, ovens, and grills, at the end of the day saves energy and reduces utility costs. It also reduces the risk of equipment malfunction or overheating during non-operational hours.

3. Restrooms

Make sure your closing duties checklist includes checking and cleaning restroom facilities.

Restroom maintenance is crucial and should be included in a restaurant closing checklist for several important reasons:

  • Hygiene and Cleanliness: Clean restrooms are a fundamental aspect of maintaining overall hygiene and cleanliness in a restaurant. Ensuring that restrooms are spotless at closing helps create a positive impression of the establishment.
  • Customer Experience: A restaurant’s restrooms are often a reflection of its overall commitment to cleanliness and customer satisfaction. Neglecting restroom maintenance can result in a poor customer experience, potentially leading to negative reviews and reduced patronage.
  • Health and Safety: Maintaining clean restrooms is essential for public health and safety. Dirty or unsanitary facilities can contribute to the spread of illnesses and bacteria, posing health risks to both customers and staff.
  • Professional Image: Clean and well-maintained restrooms contribute to a professional image for the restaurant. It demonstrates attention to detail and a commitment to providing a pleasant dining environment.

4. Inventory and Stock

 Checking inventory should be a priority on your closing procedures checklist

Inventory and stock management are integral to a restaurant’s checklist because they impact cost control, food waste prevention, regulatory compliance, menu planning, financial reporting, and overall operational efficiency. Maintaining accurate inventory records is not only a best practice but also essential for:

  • Cost Control: Accurate tracking of inventory levels helps control food costs. By knowing what is in stock and what needs to be ordered, restaurants can minimize over-purchasing and reduce food waste, which ultimately affects the bottom line positively.
  • Preventing Food Waste: A closing inventory check allows staff to identify any perishable items that are nearing their expiry date. This helps prevent food waste by ensuring these items are used promptly or discarded if necessary.
  • Ordering Efficiency: Restaurant managers can use closing inventory data to place accurate and efficient orders for the next day or week. This prevents shortages of essential ingredients and avoids the cost of emergency deliveries.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Many health and safety regulations require restaurants to maintain accurate inventory records. Having this information readily available during inspections or audits ensures compliance with legal requirements.
  • Menu Planning: An up-to-date inventory count informs menu planning decisions. It helps chefs and kitchen staff decide which dishes can be offered based on the ingredients available.
  • Reduction of Theft: Regular inventory checks, including closing counts, can help detect any discrepancies or theft. It encourages accountability among staff and discourages unauthorized removal of inventory.
  • Efficient Operations: Knowing the exact stock levels of ingredients, beverages, and supplies ensures that the kitchen and bar opening goes smoothly during service hours. It minimizes the risk of running out of key items during busy periods.
  • Financial Reporting: Accurate inventory data is crucial for financial reporting and budgeting. It provides insights into the restaurant’s cost of goods sold (COGS) and helps with profit margin analysis.

5. Security

Make sure doing a security check is on your closing duties checklist.

Security is an essential element of a restaurant closing checklist because it safeguards assets, prevents unauthorized access, ensures employee and customer safety, and helps with legal compliance and reputation management. It is a proactive approach to:

  • Asset Protection: The restaurant likely has valuable assets, including cash, equipment, and inventory. Security measures, such as locking doors and windows, help protect these assets from theft or damage during non-operational hours.
  • Preventing Unauthorized Access: Ensuring that all entry points are securely locked prevents unauthorized individuals from entering the restaurant premises after closing. This helps maintain a safe environment and reduces the risk of theft or vandalism.
  • Employee Safety: Security procedures also consider the safety of employees who may be responsible for closing duties. Knowing that security measures are in place can provide peace of mind to employees working late hours.
  • Preventing Break-Ins: Restaurants can be targets for break-ins, especially if it’s known that they carry cash on the premises. Adequate security measures, such as alarm systems and surveillance cameras, deter potential burglars.
  • Data Protection: In the age of digital technology, restaurants often store customer and financial data on computers or POS systems. Security protocols should include measures to protect this sensitive information from cyberattacks or breaches.
  • Legal Compliance: Depending on local regulations, restaurants may have specific security requirements they must meet to remain in compliance. Regularly scheduled security checks can help ensure that these requirements are met.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Part of restaurant security is having plans and protocols in place for emergencies such as fires, natural disasters, or accidents. This includes checking that emergency exits are accessible and that fire suppression systems are functioning correctly.
  • Insurance Requirements: Some insurance policies may require restaurants to have specific security measures in place. Compliance with these requirements is essential to maintaining insurance coverage.

6. Staff Review

At the end of the day, make sure to conduct a staff review (which should be on your daily checklist for restaurant businesses).

Conducting a staff review as part of a restaurant closing checklist is essential for maintaining cleanliness, efficiency, safety, and consistency in restaurant operations. It also contributes to

  • Accountability: Conducting a staff review ensures that every team member is held accountable for their assigned closing tasks and tasks from throughout the day. It helps identify any discrepancies or incomplete tasks and allows for timely corrections.
  • Quality Control: A review provides an opportunity to assess the quality of work performed during closing. Managers can check if cleaning and sanitation standards are met and if items are stored properly, ensuring the restaurant is in optimal condition for the next day.
  • Training and Feedback: It serves as a training tool for staff members who may be new or need additional guidance on closing procedures. Managers can provide feedback and suggestions for improvement to enhance team performance.
  • Identifying Issues: During the review, any issues or maintenance needs that require attention can be identified and addressed promptly. This proactive approach helps prevent potential problems from becoming major issues.
  • Efficiency: Staff reviews can help identify bottlenecks or inefficiencies in the closing process. Managers can make necessary adjustments to streamline tasks and improve efficiency.

7. POS and Financials

Your restaurant closing checklist template should include a section for POS and financial reviews.

Including POS and financials in the restaurant closing checklist is essential for maintaining financial accuracy, preventing fraud, complying with regulations, and preparing for the next day’s operations.

  • Accurate Financial Records: Closing out the POS system and reconciling financial transactions at the end of the day ensures that all sales, payments, and expenses are accurately recorded. 
  • Cash Handling: Closing the cash register or POS system involves counting and reconciling cash payments received during the day. Proper cash handling procedures help prevent discrepancies and potential cash shortages or overages.
  • Accountability: A closing checklist for POS and financials includes assigning responsibility to specific staff members for tasks like cash reconciliation. This accountability helps ensure that all financial transactions are properly recorded and any discrepancies are addressed promptly.
  • Fraud Prevention: Regularly reconciling financial transactions can help detect and prevent fraud or unauthorized transactions. It ensures that all sales and payments align with the restaurant’s records.
  • Inventory Control: Some POS systems are integrated with inventory management, allowing restaurants to track inventory levels in real-time. Closing the POS system often involves updating inventory records to reflect items sold during the day, helping with inventory control and preventing shortages or overstock.
  • Data Backup: Many POS systems store critical data, including sales reports, customer information, and transaction history. A closing checklist may include procedures for backing up this data to prevent data loss in case of system failures.

Key Takeaways

  • Using a checklist ensures every shift starts and ends the same way, establishing a consistent routine that guarantees no essential tasks are overlooked.
  • Opening and closing checklists prioritize the safety of both the employees and customers. From inspecting kitchen equipment to ensuring all exits are properly secured, safety protocols are embedded in these lists.
  • Checklists help in ensuring that all financial transactions, cash handling, and point of sale operations are correctly processed and documented, reducing discrepancies and potential losses.
  • With cleanliness being top of mind, especially in the food industry, these checklists make sure that all areas, including often overlooked ones like restrooms, are clean and sanitary.
  • Regular checks on equipment at the start and end of the day can prolong the lifespan of these tools and highlight any issues before they become major problems.
  • Having a documented list means that staff members have clear responsibilities. Knowing who’s responsible for which task can enhance accountability and efficiency.
  • When restaurants are well-prepared and organized, it directly translates to a smoother, more pleasant experience for the customer.
  • By checking stock levels during opening and closing, restaurants can avoid running out of key ingredients and can plan their inventory more effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A restaurant checklist is a detailed document that outlines various tasks, responsibilities, and procedures to be followed in the daily operations of a restaurant. It serves as a comprehensive guide for restaurant managers and staff to ensure that all essential tasks are completed consistently and efficiently.   Restaurant checklists cover a wide range of areas within the restaurant, including:
  • Opening Procedures: These include tasks like turning on lights, unlocking doors, checking equipment, and preparing the dining area.
  • Kitchen and Food Preparation: This section includes tasks related to food preparation, cooking, and plating, such as checking inventory, prepping ingredients, and ensuring kitchen equipment is in working order.
  • Front of House: This part of the checklist focuses on the dining area and guest service. It may include setting up tables, checking reservations, and ensuring that the front-of-house staff is well-prepared.
  • Cleaning and Sanitation: Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene is crucial in a restaurant. This section outlines tasks for cleaning various areas, sanitizing surfaces, and restocking cleaning supplies.
  • Inventory Management: Managing inventory efficiently is essential for cost control. Inventory checklists help track stock levels, order supplies, and reduce waste.
  • Safety and Security: This includes tasks related to ensuring the safety of both employees and customers, such as checking fire exits, fire alarms, and first aid supplies.
  • Cash Management: Managing the restaurant’s finances is crucial. Cash register reconciliation and handling cash securely are typically part of this section.
  • Staff Training and Communication: Ensuring that staff members are well-trained and informed is essential. This may include pre-shift meetings and training sessions.
  • Customer Service: A checklist may include reminders about providing excellent customer service, such as greeting guests, taking orders accurately, and handling customer complaints.
  • Closing Procedures: Tasks for closing the restaurant at the end of the day are outlined, including cleaning, shutting down equipment, and securing the premises.

An opening checklist is a detailed document used in various industries, including restaurants, to ensure that specific tasks and procedures are completed systematically and efficiently when starting a new shift, business day, or operation. In the context of a restaurant, a detailed checklist is typically used to prepare the restaurant for service, whether it’s the beginning of the day or a shift change.

Here are some common elements that may be included in an opening checklist:

  • Unlocking and Security: Ensure that the restaurant’s doors and entryways are unlocked, and security systems are disarmed if applicable.
  • Lighting and HVAC: Turn on lights, check and adjust thermostat settings, and ensure the restaurant’s interior is comfortable for guests and staff.
  • Kitchen Setup: Ensure that kitchen equipment is functioning correctly, verify ingredient and food supplies, and set up workstations.
  • Dining Area Preparation: Set up tables, chairs, and place settings in the dining area. Make sure the dining area is clean and organized.
  • Staff Assignments: Assign roles and responsibilities to staff members, including servers, kitchen staff, and hosts/hostesses to service a host stand.
  • Inventory Check: Verify inventory levels for ingredients, beverages, and other supplies. Order any necessary items to restock inventory.
  • Menu Specials: Review and communicate any daily specials or menu changes to staff.
  • Cleaning and Sanitization: Ensure that all areas, including the kitchen, dining room, and restrooms, are clean and sanitized.
  • Cash Handling: Prepare cash registers, point-of-sale (POS) systems, and change funds. Confirm that these systems are functioning correctly.
  • Reservations and Waiting Lists: Check reservations and waiting lists if applicable, and prepare for incoming guests.
  • Marketing and Promotion: If there are any ongoing marketing campaigns or promotions, ensure that they are set up and ready to launch.

Checklists are essential tools for restaurant owners and staff to ensure your business runs smoothly from opening shift to closing. Here’s why they are crucial:

1. Before Opening:

  • Consistency: Checklists help maintain consistency in restaurant operations. They ensure that every task, from setting up tables and restocking salt and pepper shakers, to verifying inventory levels, is completed in the same manner every day.
  • Efficiency: Having a checklist ensures that each responsible staff member knows what tasks need to be completed and can efficiently divide and conquer responsibilities. This reduces downtime and delays in opening for service.
  • Compliance: Checklists can include items related to health and safety regulations, such as food safety checks and equipment inspections. By following these checklists, restaurants can ensure they are compliant with local health codes.
  • Communication: Checklists serve as a communication tool for staff. They can be used to share important information, such as daily specials or safety reminders, during pre-shift meetings.
  • Customer Experience: A well-prepared restaurant is more likely to provide a positive dining experience for customers. A checklist helps ensure that tables are set, the kitchen is ready, and staff are briefed on any special offerings.
  • Inventory Control: Checklists can include inventory checks, helping the restaurant manage stock levels and prevent running out of critical ingredients during service.

2. When Closing:

  • Security: A closing checklist ensures that all doors are locked, alarms are set, and security measures are in place to protect the restaurant from potential intruders.
  • Preventing Waste: Tasks like properly storing perishable items, turning off equipment, and covering food can reduce food waste and energy consumption, ultimately saving the restaurant money.
  • Cleaning: Closing checklists include cleaning tasks that are essential for maintaining hygiene and sanitation standards. Proper cleaning ensures that the restaurant is ready for the next day’s service.
  • Financial Control: Closing checklists often involve cash handling procedures, reconciling sales, and securing cash in safes or bank deposits. This helps prevent theft or errors in financial transactions.
  • Preparation for the Next Day: Closing checklists can include tasks like setting up the coffee maker or restocking items for the morning shift, ensuring a smooth start to the next business day.
  • Health and Safety: Closing checklists can include safety checks to ensure that fire exits are clear, fire extinguishers are in place, and the restaurant is secure.

Creating a closing checklist for your restaurant is crucial to ensure that all necessary tasks are completed at the end of the day. Here are the steps to make a closing checklist:

Step 1: Identify Key Areas

  • Determine which areas of your restaurant need to be addressed during closing. Common areas include the kitchen, dining area, bar, restrooms, and storage spaces.

Step 2: List Closing Tasks

  • For each area, create a detailed list of tasks that need to be completed during closing. Consider the following for each area:

  • Kitchen: Cleaning and sanitizing equipment, storing food properly, turning off appliances, etc.
  • Dining Area: Clearing and cleaning tables, vacuuming or sweeping floors, restocking condiments, etc.
  • Bar: Cleaning bar equipment, disposing of empty bottles, restocking supplies, etc.
  • Restrooms: Cleaning and sanitizing sinks, toilets, and mirrors, restocking paper towels and toilet paper, etc.
  • Storage Spaces: Checking inventory, securing valuable items, locking storage areas, etc.

Step 3: Organize Tasks by Priority

  • Arrange tasks in the order they need to be completed. Identify critical tasks that must be done first, such as shutting off kitchen equipment.

Step 4: Assign Responsibilities

  • Determine which staff members are responsible for each task. Make sure everyone knows their roles in the closing process.

Step 5: Include Safety Checks

  • Add safety-related tasks to your checklist, such as checking fire extinguishers, locking doors, and setting alarms.

Step 6: Add Inventory Checks

  • If applicable, include inventory-related tasks, such as checking stock levels and placing orders for necessary supplies.

Step 7: Review and Customize

  • Review the checklist with your management team and staff to ensure that it covers all necessary tasks. Customize it to fit your restaurant’s specific needs and procedures.
Juliusz Dzierlatka

Juliusz Dzierlatka

Digital content creator with +7 years experience in marketing, helping restaurants streamline daily operations.

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