How to write a great restaurant shift report (with an example)

Editorial Team

4 min read
Restaurant manager looking at papers
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So much of restaurant work revolves around the present. Someone needs their drink right now, or we’re running out of chicken right now, or the bathroom needs attention right now—the pressure piles on during operating hours. But with all that in-the-moment problem-solving, it’s important that you allot time to log that day’s main events. Filling out a shift report after the last customer has left can actually help the next shift, and even the restaurant’s business plan, run more smoothly.

Read on to learn more on how to create an effective end of shift report.

Why use daily shift reports?

A shift report (or “shift log”) is an ongoing log that outlines key events and information from each shift. Each shift manager starts their day by reviewing the previous entry and ends the day by writing a new one. It typically includes details about inventory, equipment, important customer feedback, and any sticky situations that required extra attention. 

Completing a great shift report helps you share information with your team, whether everyone frequently sees each other at work or not. Depending on how many hours your restaurant is open per week, it may have several shift supervisors, some of whom may rarely see each other in person. But they can always pass along crucial information via the shift report. Plus, these valuable notes can inform pre-shift meetings with front-of-house workers at your restaurant.

With consistent entries, your daily shift reports can also help you document and recognize existing patterns. Does good weather indicate higher or lower sales for your restaurant? Does a particular bartender call out every other Sunday night? Once you’ve spotted the pattern, you’ll be better equipped to figure out a solution (or celebrate the win).

Your employees are regularly interacting with customers, which means they may have particular nuggets of qualitative feedback that you should be documenting in your shift report. As they’re doing cut work or closing, ask employees how their shift went or how a particular menu change went over, and incorporate the resulting customer and worker feedback into your shift log.

You can then compare this qualitative information from your shift reports with data compiled in your analytics program. For instance, Clover’s point-of-sale systems automatically track and analyze daily sales, payment data, and orders. So, if you want to log how many specials your restaurant sold or how many customers paid with credit card, you can easily find that data on your Clover dashboard. By comparing your on-the-ground reports with sales data, you’ll be able to make better-informed and more well-rounded decisions about adjustments and changes to your business.

Shift report template

To create a shift report template, open a new spreadsheet (in Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel) or a regular word processing file (in Google Docs or Microsoft Word). Set up fields for the following topics. Then personalize your template with any other areas that are relevant to your business.

Date and shift:
Food sales:
Alcohol sales:
Total sales:
Total discounts/comps:
Net sales:
Total tips:
Total cash in safe:
Number of covers or transactions:
Large parties:
Kitchen notes:
Staff notes (callouts, trainings, milestones):
Local happenings of note (nearby sports games or concerts, road construction):

Feel free to adjust the above categories where needed, deleting any that aren’t applicable or splitting them into more specific categories. Keep in mind that a thorough shift report can provide additional insights into the following:

1. Menu preferences

For example, if your restaurant has a stunning wine program or prides itself on serving craft beers, you may want to focus on wine or beer sales, respectively. If you frequently debut new desserts, study their impacts by tracking dessert sales on your shift reports.

2. Inventory

With perishable items always a key factor, there may be more nuanced patterns to discover from one shift to the next.

3. Employee accountability

When you include details about individual performance, you’ll be better equipped to provide support and/or praise to your employees. Either way, you are incentivizing your team to do their best.

4. Regulatory compliance

It’s always beneficial to have thorough documentation. Use it to double check that you’re in compliance with safety code, labor regulations, and/or any other matters of legal importance.

5. Holidays

If you ran a particular holiday program, what worked and what didn’t? Was there a particular feature that customers loved? This information can help you better prepare for the next year, or the next holiday.

Duplicate your version of the above end of shift report for future use, and your template is ready! Before you head out for the day, take a couple of minutes to jot down any salient information for the books. You’ll find yourself enjoying powerful insight and a deeper sense of closure as you head back into your free time.

Learn how Clover is helping restaurants simplify their daily operations, so they can serve up great food and standout experiences. Reach out to a Clover Business Consultant today. 

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