If you are reading this article, you are already ahead — because you understand the importance of creating SOPs and checklists to increase the efficiency of your restaurant operations. But what types of checklists do you need to open a restaurant, and what should be on them?
In this article we will cover the top 9 opening-a-restaurant checklists, and why they matter. Let's dig in.
In a restaurant, there are checklists for front of house, back of house, bar, kitchen, and more. Each one of these checklists will outline important SOPs to follow that will help your restaurant increase efficiency.
1. Opening and closing checklists
2. Equipment management checklist
3. Inventory checklist
4. Standard operating procedure checklists
5. People management checklist
6. Prep checklist
7. Side work checklist
8. ADA compliance checklist
9. Financial audit checklist
Opening and closing checklists are important checklists that restaurant staff in each position will have to go through daily. Bartenders, waitstaff, hosts, kitchen, bar backs and managers will all have a different opening and closing checklist, and each will vary based on the restaurant itself. Here are some examples of what might be on those lists:
An opening checklist is a list of key tasks that restaurant staff must complete at the start of the workday, before the restaurant is ready to open for service.
An opening checklist may look like this:
At the end of the workday, staff should do as much preparation as possible to ensure the restaurant is ready for opening the next day. This is where a closing checklist comes in.
A closing checklist may include:
Don't wait for the soda machine to break down, stay on top of the game with equipment management checklists. These will ensure all equipment is in tiptop shape at all times. With equipment management checklists, you can prevent conditions arising that might damage your restaurant equipment, reducing your overall maintenance costs.
An equipment management checklist could include the following:
For any restaurant to run smoothly and profitably, inventory management is key. Inventory checklists allow for the monitoring of ingredients and supplies. This is key to making more economical food and supply orders, and ensuring nothing goes out of stock mid shift.
A daily restaurant inventory management checklist could cover the following tasks:
Restaurant standard operating procedures (SOPs) are pre-set lists of rules and norms that describe how restaurant staff should complete routine tasks. With the right SOP checklists, front of house and back of house staff have a guide on how to fulfil their work requirements safely, efficiently, and professionally.
There are four major areas for which restaurant managers can create SOP checklists, and they are listed below:
The focus here is on how to properly handle the restaurant building and its equipment. The checklist should cover:
These SOPs guide staff on maintaining good personal hygiene and ensuring food safety. This checklist may include:
These SOPs contain detailed instructions to ensure the safe and proper preparation and handling of food. This checklist might cover:
Communications SOPs facilitate dialogue between restaurant management, staff, and customers to keep the restaurant running smoothly. The checklist could cover:
Managing a restaurant is a people-intensive process. Customers expect great food and great service from hospitable people. So, for a restaurant manager, curating the right kind of people management checklists to onboard, train, and retain the best employees is important, but highly involved.
This is why most successful restaurant businesses use people management software to integrate their recruitment, onboarding, and training into one easy-to-use platform.
People management checklists usually cover:
A daily prep checklist is a list of food items and the required quantities that must be prepared for each line station for the workday. It is a great way of ensuring your kitchen personnel do not prep too much or too little, resulting in efficiency and reduced costs from reductions in food overproduction and waste.
Prep checklists usually come as spreadsheet forms, and many of the current POS systems and management tools actually offer pre-set prep lists that integrate with inventory.
When creating prep checklists for your restaurant, here are some things you should include:
Side work is restaurant jargon for tasks outside the waitstaff’s main work of serving food and waiting tables. This may include wiping down counters, cleaning the doors and windows, stocking paper products in restrooms, folding napkins, refilling salt and pepper shakers, and running laundry.
Generally, these tasks are divided up among all the waitstaff at the end of their shift, and completing them can make the difference between having a great or mediocre next shift. However, some of these tasks may be done during the shift too.
Here are some examples to include on your side work checklist:
To protect your business from legal repercussions while also ensuring that the restaurant is accessible to everyone, it should be ADA compliant. This includes not only the building layout and accessibility, but also menu creation and hiring processes.
With a comprehensive ADA compliance checklist, you can identify and address areas where your restaurant falls short of ADA requirements.
Here are some items to include to ensure ADA compliance:
A restaurant financial audit is the process of ensuring all your important financial reports are in order. According to the National Restaurant Association, the typical independent restaurant loses up to 5% of its sales each year to fraud and theft, most of which is committed by employees.
This is why every restaurant should have a comprehensive financial audit checklist to ensure the continued financial health of the business. These may include the following options:
Opening a restaurant or expanding one may seem like a nearly impossible task, but it doesn't have to be. With this comprehensive guide on restaurant checklists, your staff can focus on important tasks to ensure your restaurant runs smoothly, maximizing customer satisfaction and profits.
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-Tara Hardie, ZZA Hospitality Group, 16 locations