How To Manage A Restaurant: Daily Checklist

How to manage a restaurant with a daily checklist

Merely starting a restaurant will not ensure that you will have a booming restaurant business. This is exactly the reason why almost 60% of the restaurants close within the 1st year of operations. Hence, the answer to your eternal question of how to manage a restaurant will be the key deciding factor for the success of your restaurant business. You must create a detailed checklist that must be followed diligently in your restaurant every day; this includes right from when your restaurant opens to when the shutters of your restaurant come down at the end of the day. This will ensure that all the operations are done, which will keep your restaurant healthy and profitable.

A Daily Checklist Of How To Manage A Restaurant

There are a few duties, that need to be done in a restaurant on a daily basis. These will keep your restaurant on track and always ready to deliver the best services to all your customers. The list must be checked off, which will indicate that the work has been done and the manager should then review them to ensure proper operations.

Samir Mandal of Molecule Air Bar on how to manage a restaurant by following the checklist religiously.

1. Manager’s Checklist

A manager plays an important role in managing a restaurant. It is imperative that the manager is present when the restaurant opens and closes for specific reasons. A manager’s daily checklist can be divided into three parts, they are:

(i) Manager’s Opening Checklist

The manager who opens the restaurant will be responsible to open the cash register and for the adding of the opening cash. He should also check the reservations made by the customer for the day and reply to all the emails that the restaurant has received. Checking inventory is another very important activity that a manager must venture into. A manager must coordinate with the executive chef to know about the available stock and whether it would suffice for the entire day, similarly the same thing must be done with the bartender as well. According to the previous day’s sales report, the manager must also project the sales of the particular day. In addition to this, a manager should always check the restrooms personally before opening the restaurant.

(ii) Shift Change Checklist

 During the shift change of the manager, the previous manager should complete all his tasks so that the next manager can take up the operations of the restaurant smoothly. The first manager should also deliver all the necessary information to the next manager, for example if there is any reservation of 10 plus heads in the restaurant in later in the day, or if the kitchen ran out of a particular item or if, a  particular staff has resigned suddenly or is not on floor or some personal reasons. Once all these information is delivered, it will help the next manager in line to make the appropriate decisions that will ensure that the restaurant runs smoothly during the rush hours of the day.

(iii) Manager’s Closing Checklist

Just like managers have to perform certain duties at the starting of the day, they have some likewise duties that they must perform at the end of the day as well. These duties precisely include counting the register, looking at the detailed sales report at the end of the day, counting tips and allocating them appropriately. Before closing down, the manager should again reach out to the executive chef and the bartender to know about the stock used and the stock available, if the stock available is less and a reorder needs to be requested for the next day. Moreover, since the opening manager has already recorded the opening stock, the closing manager can easily analyze if there are any misappropriations happening in the restaurant from the closing stock and the sales that happened in that particular day.

Manager's daily checklist on how to manage a restaurant seamlessly. 2. Side Work Checklist

There are certain tasks that need to be done by the restaurant staff when the restaurant is in the low hours of the day, or when the restaurant is closed after the lunch and is prepping up for the evening shift. During these times, the staff who are idle are generally assigned some tasks both at the back and in the front of the restaurant. These tasks include:

(i) Front of the Restaurant Checklist

The idle staff is generally asked to check if any of the tablecloths are spoiled, if yes then they replace them. They fold the napkins, clean the cutlery, arrange the tables in accordance with the table arrangement technique, place fresh flowers in the table vase if your restaurant provides one, checks if there are a menu on all the tables and the like.

(ii) Back End Checklist

During the idle hours, there is generally not much to do. This is a great time to refill all the stations, sharpen knives, organize storage rooms and fridges, check the temperatures of the refrigerators, refill spices and prep and check the inventory critical food items and inform appropriate people about them.

3. Kitchen Prep Work and Cleaning Checklist

The kitchen is not merely the place from where food comes out. In order to ensure that the dishes keep coming out without any delay it should be arranged accordingly and in order to ensure that the kitchen operations is on the mark, you can create two different checklists for kitchen prep work and kitchen cleaning.
A daily checklist on how to manage a restaurant seamlessly.

(i) Kitchen Prep Work Checklist

In order to get the food ready and get them placed on the serving or plating tables a lot of preparation needs to be done. There are various types of sauces that go into the making of the dishes, these sauces must be made in advance, vegetables need to be cleaned, at times also chopped, broth needs to be prepared in advance, the fish or the meat needs to be broken down or put in marination.  Considering the pressure that goes into preparing the kitchen for the day, many of the restaurants have special staff who comes early in the day, to ensure that the kitchen is ready for the hours ahead. Prep work is essentially important since if the preparations are not done in time, it has the power to slow down the entire operations of your kitchen and it can also increase the generation of kitchen waste. Hence, make this checklist as comprehensive as possible and keep changing it as per the changes in the menu of your restaurant.

(ii) Cleaning Checklist

The kitchen needs to be cleaned at regular intervals, not only to maintain hygiene but also to make the kitchen tables look less confusing. Cleaning of the kitchen includes cleaning every station, putting the extra food away, organizing the walk in, keeping the knives and other utensils in the right place, wiping the stations and the chopping area. Every staff in the kitchen must be responsible to keep the kitchen clean. They should be instilled with the idea, that whenever they are done working in a particular station, they should leave it clean enough to be immediately used by someone else.

4. Servers Checklist

Considering that your servers will be the face of your kitchen, how can you possibly not make a checklist for them as well? Just like the managers, you should make three different checklists for the servers, that will help them to perform better. These checklists include:

(i) Servers Opening Checklist

Before opening the restaurant, your servers must look with a vigilant eye, to see that everything is right in place. They should check that the floor is clean and dry, the tables are clean with crisp tablecloths and napkins are in place (if your restaurant is a fine dine one, this becomes all the more important), the menu is placed on every table and everything that is required that will leave a great impression on your customers.

(ii) Servers Shift Change Checklist

This is especially important if your restaurant has more than one shift. In such an instance, it becomes necessary to ensure that your servers are leaving after performing certain tasks that will help the incoming servers to start off with ease. The outgoing servers must also inform the incoming servers about the important happenings at the restaurant, for example, if a restaurant has run out of a particular dish, it should be clearly delivered to the incoming servers, so that he can inform the customers who order the same dish. The incoming servers must also, check if anything is missing on the front end of the restaurant before the restaurant opens up for the next shift.

(iii) Servers Closing Checklist

The servers closing checklist will make sure that everything is set for the following day and the day servers won’t have too many tasks before they open the restaurant. Make sure that your servers tick off each item on the checklist as they go through it so they don’t miss anything. Also, leave a space where evening servers can add a note for those opening so that if there is any information they need to pass on, they are able to communicate it.

5. Bartender Checklist

Restaurant bartenders and servers must also have a restaurant checklist which will ensure that they never miss out on any of their tasks.Managing a bar is a part of your how to manage a restaurant question. Hence, if you have a bar, then you must have a checklist pertaining to the bar activities. The checklist should include, the total sales, the number of bottles taken out from the stock if any bottle was broken, the stock available for the next day. Since the internal theft in the bar is the most, the bar checklist should be so comprehensive that all misappropriation with the liquor bottles can be easily traced. A proper checklist will help you control liquor cost to a great extent.

6. Marketing Checklist

Considering that marketing is a very integral part of the restaurant operations, that plays a major role in forging the future of your restaurant, you must create a checklist for the in-house marketing officials as well. These officials need to monitor what is being said about your restaurant on the social media. They must check the reviews your customers leave on these platforms and respond immediately. You must inform your officials to be grateful to the ones who praised your restaurant and apologize to the one who did not have such a good experience. Since making your presence felt on the social media pages is important, these officials must religiously post photos and videos of your restaurant ad the dishes. They must also search online for new products, services, equipment or vendors. Your marketing officials must try and find new strategies that will help you be ahead of your competitors. For example, they can come up with ideas like, giving out samples of brand new menu items to create smiles and hear feedback, or to look for and read the advertisements in the local newspaper with the question: “Who can be collaborated with?”

Having a daily restaurant checklist for different sections and roles will keep your restaurant organized, up to date, and efficient. Your staff won’t have to guess what needs to be done, they can easily refer to the checklists to understand what is expected of them. A daily restaurant checklist should create a clean and steady workflow so that your business runs smoothly, everything is in order and your staff works as a team. A comprehensive checklist has the potential to solve all your ‘how to manage a restaurant’ queries. 

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