Running a successful restaurant requires a lot of hard work, planning, and preparation. It also requires a smart restaurant business plan and strategies for keeping the restaurant running smoothly.

One of the best ways to ensure that the restaurant runs smoothly is use checklists. You can use a checklist for everything from customer service and purchasing through to closing and opening your restaurant.

Having a checklist available makes it simple to see what has been done. You can assign tasks to specific workers and bring some order to the chaotic environment of a busy restaurant! You won’t be left wondering if food deliveries have arrived or if the cutlery has been appropriately cleaned. Here is a list of items to add to your restaurant opening and closing checklists.

Restaurant Opening Checklist

On arrival check the exterior of the restaurant

It is important to ensure the exterior of your restaurant is clean, free of rubbish, and broken glass. You may have to sweep or wash the pavement. The front windows of your restaurant may also need to be cleaned.

Set air conditioners

Switch on the air conditioners, placing them at a temperature that is appropriate for the weather outside. If it is going to be a very cold day, consider increasing the temperature a few degrees to make the restaurant a comfortable and inviting space.

Check your refrigerators and freezers

Check that your refrigerators and freezers are in good working order. Check their temperatures and the condition of the food, ice, and drinks they hold. If you have drinks fridges, make sure they are fully stocked.

Test the lights and other appliances

Turn the lights on and look for any blown globes. Check any other important appliances to ensure they are in good working order.

Check the reservation book for group bookings

If you have a large group of guests coming into the restaurant, you may need to change the seating layout or organise additional resources. If you take online bookings, check your email account and add them to the reservation list.

Check that the premises is clean

Perform a quick walk through of the bathrooms, dining room and kitchen to all ensure rubbish has been removed. Check the condition of the carpets, benches and tables. Make sure everything has been wiped down and your restaurant is ready to open. Take a look at the condition of the light fittings, curtains, and walls.

Perform a safety check

You can perform this step when checking that the premises is clean. Look for any hazards like electrical cables running across the floor and other trip hazards.

Check point of sale systems

Run a cash-out report to ensure the daily readings are set to zero. Check the register tape in the cash registers and any printing systems you use in the kitchen. Check that you have enough cash on hand and note the cash totals in the manager’s log book.

Check in with the chef

One of the most important parts of opening a restaurant is maintaining a close relationship with the chef. Check in with them to ensure they have all of the supplies and staff they require for the day. Discuss the upcoming reservations to let them know if there will be a heavy traffic period. Discuss any alterations to the menu or special requirements that any group bookings have. Check that there are no equipment issues in the kitchen and that the chef has received any deliveries that were scheduled. Discuss any restaurant ideas that your chef has.

Check with other staff members

Make sure the rest of your team has punched in and is ready to work. Check that they are correctly dressed and groomed. Brief the staff on the current reservations so they are ready handle any sudden influx of customers. Let them know about any changes to the menu and items that they should mention to customers.

Check the cutlery, plates and glasses

The next step for opening a restaurant for the day involves checking the cutlery, plates, and glasses. Look closely at each piece and discard any items that are chipped or heavily stained. Check each piece is clean and ready to be used.

Make sure your telephones are working

There’s no point starting a restaurant if customers can’t make bookings! Check your phones are working by calling them with your mobile phone.

Restaurant Closing Checklist

Debrief all service staff and assign closing duties

Talk to your staff about any issues that arose during service. Was there an unhappy customer? Did they run out of clean cutlery? Your service staff is a great source of restaurant ideas, so keep your ears open. Record all observations in the manager’s log book.

Have staff wash, wipe and stack all cutlery, crockery, and glassware

Check that items are being appropriately cleaned and are ready to be used the next day. Make sure all items are stored properly.

Check that the floor, tables, and benches are being cleaned appropriately

If your own staff is cleaning the restaurant, check that they are doing so correctly.

Ensure garbage is removed

It is important to remove all rubbish before closing so vermin does not become a problem.

Report any breakage

If glasses, crockery or other items were broken during the shift, note it in the manager’s log. You may have to also order replacement items.

Check stock

Check stock levels and create requisition orders.

Turn off appliances

Ensure the air conditioning and appliance are turned off for the night.

Collect any items left by customers

Place any items left by customers into the lost and found.

Collect soiled linen for washing

Prepare soiled linen for washing to ensure it does not get re-used.

Check the financials

Check the takings for the night, empty the cash register, look for any discrepancy in checks, and lock cash in safe.

Close the restaurant

Your final step for the day will be to turn off the lights and lock the restaurant.

Thanks for reading Restaurant Good Practices: Opening and Closing Checklist! If you want to learn more about opening a restaurant or creating a restaurant business plan, subscribe to our blog or follow on social media.