Restaurant checklists for daily operations

Editorial Team

4 min read
Waitress sweeping in restaurant

Running a restaurant requires owners and operators to look at the big picture while also maintaining a keen understanding of the tiniest details. We’ve developed a series of restaurant checklists that focus on four main areas of operations. Use them as is or tweak them to reflect your business’s needs. Either way, they may help you get a few steps closer to greater efficiency.

Daily restaurant opening checklist

This restaurant checklist runs through many of the tasks that should be accomplished at the start of each day. It could also double as a pre-shift list when the restaurant is switching from breakfast to lunch or lunch to dinner.

  1. Audit the interior and exterior of the restaurant, assessing general cleanliness and whether appliances and electronics (lights, sound system, A/C, etc.) are fully functional
  2. Prepare registers and restaurant POS system for service
  3. Clean and set tables as needed
  4. Review staffing and adjust according to call offs, last-minute reservations, etc.
  5. Conduct pre-shift meeting with front-of-house (FOH) staff and chefs
  6. Check reservations, noting any bookings that require extra attention (e.g., special occasions or large parties)
  7. Do a final walkthrough
  8. Open doors for customers

Daily restaurant closing checklist

At the end of a long day, use this restaurant daily checklist geared toward closing duties to button up your space and leave front and back-of-house areas ready for the following day’s opening crew.

  1. Clean and sanitize all high-touch surfaces, including chairs, tables, countertops, bar tops, and stools
  2. Clean floors, windows, walls, and doors as needed
  3. Clean bathrooms thoroughly and restock supplies such as toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, etc.
  4. Thoroughly clean the kitchen and all kitchen equipment
  5. Remove garbage and place in dumpster/outside receptacle
  6. Restock fridges, adhering to FIFO (first in, first out) and disposing of any expired goods
  7. Refill condiment containers, sugar caddies, and salt and pepper shakers
  8. Double-check inventory against par levels needed for the next shift/day
  9. Turn off any equipment that can and should be turned off
  10. Close out registers/POS system for the night
  11. Lock the restaurant and activate the security system

Daily restaurant inventory checklist

Your restaurant should have a system for inventory management. Complete these daily tasks to help you keep tabs on what you have on hand, what needs to be ordered, and whether your current approach works for your bottom line.

  1. Assess stock shelves, cleaning and organizing as necessary and ensuring contents are prioritized according to FIFO (first in, first out)
  2. Diligently count and/or measure stocked items and add to daily inventory log
  3. Double-check inventoried items to ensure everything is properly labeled and dated according to safety regulations
  4. Utilize in-house/custom inventory sheet that outlines par counts (levels at which items need to be restocked) and shows which items are being wasted; save data to use for calculating food costs and looking for ways to reduce food waste
  5. Dispose of any expired inventory – don’t forget to log losses
  6. Incorporate sales data with inventory records via your POS system

Daily restaurant equipment maintenance checklist

A restaurant equipment checklist that includes daily tasks can help keep your restaurant fully operational and ready to welcome guests.

  1. Check equipment to ensure all appliances are functioning properly – this includes flipping switches, trying handles and knobs, testing hinges, etc.
  2. Verify all equipment is plugged in properly to avoid losing power, tripping a circuit, or blowing a fuse
  3. Clean in, around, and on key appliances for buildup (dirt, grease, grime), focusing on ovens, fridges, and freezers that are prone to collecting debris
  4. Ensure all walk-ins, reach-ins, and other refrigerators and freezers are set to the appropriate temperatures
  5. Set up dishwashers for optimal efficiency, cleaning and removing debris that could interfere with ongoing functionality
  6. Clean, sanitize, and check functionality of ice machine(s)
  7. See to daily equipment cleaning tasks; schedule deep cleaning on weekly/monthly rotations

Print these restaurant daily checklists, and then post copies in shared spaces and in employee handbooks. It’s important to make sure your staff is on the same page regarding maintenance, cleaning, opening and closing tasks, and other key operational duties. This can help improve your chances for stress-free shifts and positive experiences for your team and your guests.

Interested in other ways you can streamline your business operations? Reach out to a Clover Business Consultant today.


Popular Topics

Recent Stories

Please share your contact information
to access our premium content.