Opening a restaurant can be a very profitable venture, but it isn’t a simple business to run. Operating a restaurant has more nuances than simply providing meals to customers. Managing a restaurant can be complicated and challenging.
Plenty of management goes on behind daily operations, and it’s essential to ensure everything runs smoothly. For this reason, creating a restaurant management checklist is an effective solution for keeping track of daily activities and ensuring long-term operations run smoothly.
The Importance of a Restaurant Management Checklist
An effective restaurant management checklist does much more than keep you organized. It can help your restaurant stand out from the competition and succeed. Below are several notable benefits of a management checklist:
- Tracks activities - At its core, a checklist helps you keep track of the activities you need to complete at every shift. It may seem simple, but some vital activities can be forgotten during a hectic shift without a tracking system.
- Maintains standards – Oversights can happen during restaurant shifts, especially rush hours. A checklist holds the management and staff accountable for completing tasks to the restaurant’s standards.
- Eases and streamlines workload – It eases work on your management team. During shifts, a checklist allows an incoming manager to analyze the previous shift’s activities to better prepare for their shift. This eases communication and ensures your team is on the same page.
- Simplifies training – If you have hired a new manager or staff, your restaurant management checklist will help with the onboarding process.
- Sets your business up for success - A restaurant management checklist ensures that your entire team has everything they need to handle their responsibilities.
Checklist for Managing the Daily Operations of Your Restaurant
1. Managerial Responsibilities Checklist
General or shift managers are pivotal to the operational integrity of your restaurant. Managerial responsibilities can be divided into three phases – opening, shift change, and closing.
A manager has to be present when a restaurant opens. The opening checklist for a restaurant manager will include:
- Opening the cash register and checking if the correct amount is therein.
- Consulting the kitchen staff to ensure there is sufficient inventory to start the day.
- Making necessary purchases from suppliers.
- Checking customer reservations.
- Checking and replying to emails.
- Projecting sales and formulating an agenda for the day.
- Inspecting the restaurant amenities, including the restrooms.
Shift Change Checklist
Managers must coordinate with each other at the end of every shift to ensure a smooth transition. The outgoing manager has to complete all their tasks and provide the necessary information to the incoming manager. A shift change checklist may cover the following aspects:
- Explain the tasks that have been completed.
- Share information about any unusual activities or developments, including missing stock, staff shortages, etc.
- Discuss necessary actions to be taken to ensure the remainder of the day is successful.
At the closing hour, you will need your manager to cover the following tasks in the checklist:
- Check the register.
- Analyze end-of-day sales reports to ensure accounts are in order.
- Count tips and distribute them accordingly based on company policy.
- Review staff schedules for the following day.
- Confirm stock used and stock available for the next day.
2. Side Work Checklist
Side work encompasses the tasks that your restaurant staff members have to perform during the slow hours, idle hours, or when the restaurant is preparing for the next shift. Side work can slip in the cracks if you don’t include it in your checklist. You can divide side work into front-of-house and back-end operations.
Front of House Checklist
These may include:
- Folding napkins, rearranging tablecloths, and cleaning cutlery
- Rearranging the tables
- Ensuring tables have menus
- Spot cleaning throughout the workday
Back End Checklist
The checklist should cover:
- Organizing fridges, freezers, and storage rooms.
- Refilling salad stations and spice containers, etc.
- Sharpening knives, arranging work stations, cleaning out appliances.
- Checking expiry dates and labels.
- Running addition inventory checks where applicable.
3. Kitchen and Cleaning Staff Checklist
The main focus of your back-of-house workflow is on the important tasks for your kitchen and cleaning staff. After all, the bulk of daily restaurant operations falls upon these departments.
A daily checklist for kitchen operations is essential for organization purposes and smooth running. You can divide the checklist into two parts – the kitchen prep checklist and the kitchen cleaning checklist.
Kitchen Prep Checklist
Considerable pressure goes into ensuring your kitchen is well prepared for the day. Prep work helps save time and reduces kitchen wastage. Kitchen prep tasks may vary depending on the nature of your restaurant. Nonetheless, the main tasks that your kitchen manager will supervise include:
- Shelving and storing incoming stock.
- Cleaning, chopping, and prepping ingredients for every station.
- Making sauces in advance.
- Prepping and marinating meats and fish.
- Preparing broths in advance
- Running inventory checks.
Kitchen hygiene is critical for any restaurant. You must ensure that the kitchen is cleaned at regular intervals. This responsibility falls on all members of the kitchen staff, even if you have a dedicated cleaning team. Kitchen cleaning tasks that need to be completed include:
- Cleaning each workstation.
- Putting away extra food.
- Cleaning and organizing utensils and cutlery.
- Cleaning kitchen equipment.
- Cleaning floors and surfaces.
- Cleaning and organizing the walk-in.
4. Servers Checklist
A server checklist is crucial since your servers are the face of your restaurant. Your front-of-house staff is responsible for presenting your business in the best possible light to your customers. You can divide your server checklist into three parts – opening, shift change, and closing.
Server Opening Checklist
You want to make a great first impression from the moment the restaurant opens. The servers can start the day by covering these tasks:
- Check that the floors are clean.
- Ensure the tables and surfaces are clean.
- Set the tables
- Restock front of house inventory
Server Shift Change Checklist
A server shift change checklist is vital for ensuring front-of-house operations transition smoothly during shift changes. The checklist should cover the following tasks:
- Communicate important information to the incoming team.
- Leave workstation clean and tidy.
- List and missing items.
- Restock drinks, desserts, condiments, and so on.
Server Closing Checklist
At the end of the day, the servers will need to assist the manager with the following tasks:
- Checking counting cash in the register.
- Running end-of-day reports.
- Write down notes for the incoming team (stock shortages, maintenance issues).
- Help close down the business.
5. Restaurant Marketing Checklist
Marketing is an essential component of your restaurant’s operations. While you may have a specialized marketing manager, formulating a marketing checklist for your in-house marketing team is crucial. The marketing responsibilities for your restaurant will include:
- Creating an online social media presence for your restaurant.
- Monitoring customer sentiment regarding your restaurant.
- Checking and replying to reviews on various online platforms.
- Posting videos and photos showcasing your restaurant activities, dishes, etc.
- Promote events online.
- Promote special services like delivery, catering
- Search for service providers and vendors
Overall, a well-formulated restaurant management checklist is an essential aspect of running a successful restaurant business. The inclusions in your checklists may vary depending on the nature of your business and the amount of responsibility you seek to delegate to every team member. Checklists may be considered a hassle, but they can keep your restaurant's operations organized, improve the quality of your services and ensure your business thrives.