Do you have a closing and opening a restaurant checklist? We’re not talking about incorporating or dissolving your eatery. Instead, we’re discussing your opening and closing procedures.

Every business owner should have processes for their operation that allow them – or anyone else – to open and close the business properly.

If you ever want to take a vacation or need a manager to open and close, your opening and closing checklist template will ensure that customers have a consistent experience. You'll also have peace of mind that every critical task has been performed properly.

opening and closing checklist template

Opening and Closing Checklist for Restaurant Management

If you’ve been opening and closing on your own for so long that everything is second nature, you should take the time to document everything you do. Your commitment to your eatery is very hard to replicate, but it’s possible if you document every action you take to open and close properly. 

Opening a Restaurant Checklist

Creating a well-planned checklist is easier if you follow the step-by-step process below:

Step 1: List Every Task

Your list needs to be filled in, and one way to do this is to:

  • Document every opening task you do
  • Ask managers to document every opening task

Create a list online with the help of Google Docs and allow managers to add to it. You want to go through an entire week of opening to ensure that you add every item that you can think of to the list.

You may also want to have the following employees do the same:

  • Managers
  • Head chef
  • Line cook
  • Servers

Anyone who is a part of opening the restaurant needs to have their processes documented.

Step 2: Categorize Your Lists

Opening as a manager is going to be different than a chef who opens the kitchen. Be sure to separate these lists into categories, such as:

  • Manager's opening list
  • Chef's opening list
  • Owner’s opening list
  • Etc.

If you create opening lists for everyone, you can allow each lead to take hold of their key tasks. Delegating these tasks instead of the owner doing everything on their own is always a good idea.

Step 3: Organize the Lists 

Now, you need to ensure the lists are in logical order. You’ll need to have all of the stakeholders above join in on the process and sort each list by number. For example:

  1. Unlock the door
  2. Shut the alarm off
  3. Preheat the oven
  4. Etc.

You want to consider any inefficiencies that may exist in the list, too. While the person is in the kitchen preheating the oven, it makes sense to set out the utensils and other items now instead of five steps later when it’s less efficient.

Since you’re creating your checklist now, it makes the most sense for you to ensure that every opening task is performed in a streamlined manner.

You can use this information for your bar opening and closing checklist or any type of eatery. Even food trucks are known for having an in-depth checklist that they follow to keep operations running smoothly.

kitchen closing checklist

Closing Duties Checklist Template

You’ve finished half of your checklists, and now it’s time to do the same thing for your closing checklist. 

Step 1: List Every Task

Work alongside your employees to list every task that you complete before closing the restaurant for the night. You need to be very diligent when closing because you need to adhere to local and federal requirements.

Sanitation is crucial to keeping a restaurant operational.

If you’re a new owner, it’s worth talking to a legal professional to help you understand every legal requirement you need to meet to avoid health violations. A single violation can cause you to damage your restaurant’s brand image beyond repair.

Items to add to your checklist include:

  • Cleaning floors
  • Cleaning bathrooms
  • Cleaning utensils
  • Wrapping and storing food items
  • Cleaning tables
  • Cleaning appliances
  • Wiping down menus and any screens
  • Cleaning furniture
  • Sanitizing surfaces
  • Trash pickup and takeout
  • Putting chairs up
  • Turning off appliances
  • Etc.

The list above is just a starting point that you can work through and add to in the future. Feel free to omit any items on the list that do not pertain to your operation’s closing.

Step 2: Review the List with Your Team

Go through the list with your team and be sure to do the same thing as you did with your opening list in ordering each point with a number. You should order each item logically, so you can close fast and efficiently each and every time.

If you want to break down closing even further, you may want to consider:

  • Kitchen closing checklist 
  • Bar closing checklist

In addition to your closing and opening a restaurant checklist, you’ll want to create a restaurant daily checklist. You may have someone review inventory every Tuesday or follow specific procedures not on the lists above.

Note: Your lists are only helpful if people know about them and follow them. You need to post these rules somewhere so that everyone can follow them.

Why Every Owner Needs to Take Time to Create a Checklist

Creating checklists is time-consuming and it can be challenging to justify spending the time and resources on your list. However, there are a lot of hidden benefits that are easy to overlook, such as:

    1. Accountability: Checklists keep everyone accountable. If there is a checklist, there’s no excuse for any task to be overlooked.
    2. Cost-saving: Streamlining tasks will improve your bottom line. Faster opening and close means less money is spent on these tasks.
  • Safety: Checklists help you adhere to regulations and requirements. Food safety is a serious aspect of running an eatery. You can ensure that your restaurant is as safe as possible by using checklists.

Posting your opening and closing checklist doesn’t mean that your work is done. You want to revise this list any time changes need to be made. You may even find some items you need to remove from your checklist in the future. A monthly review will keep your eatery running as efficiently as possible.