Restaurant Management Checklist: The Ultimate Solution To All Your Management Problems

How to manage a restaurant with a daily checklist

Merely starting a restaurant will not ensure that you will have a booming restaurant business. Almost 60% of the restaurants close within the 1st year of operations because the owners do not understand how to manage them effectively. The fact that nearly every operation of a restaurant runs side by side and needs to be handled not just individually but also as synchronized units also do not help the cause. Hence, you need to develop a system through which you can take care of daily operations and ensure the smooth functioning of long-term operations. Our solution to this is creating a ‘Restaurant Management Checklist’ and adhering to it.

You may think that checklists are a hassle, especially the ones that run daily, but they can make performing day-to-day restaurant operations a lot easier for you. According to Hartford Business, maintaining checklists is the most effective method to track tasks, especially recurring tasks. You must create a detailed daily checklist that must be followed diligently in your restaurant without fail; this includes the duties of different staff members right from when your restaurant opens to when the shutters of your restaurant come down at the end of the day. This restaurant checklist will ensure that you do not miss any operation necessary to keep your restaurant healthy and profitable. 

Understanding A Daily Restaurant Management Checklist 

Some functions need to be performed daily in a restaurant. 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.

This daily restaurant management checklist includes six parts based on the employees who are to perform the tasks mentioned. Different duties that come under a well-structured restaurant management checklist are:-

  1.  Manager’s Duties: This will include a checklist of responsibilities that the manager must perform as the restaurant opens, before service begins, during the rush hour, and shift change in the middle of the day and while closing the restaurant.
  2. Side Work Checklist: This part of the checklist includes tasks to be performed by restaurant staff during low hours of the day or when the restaurant closes for lunch.
  3. Kitchen Prep Work and Cleaning Checklist: These will include prep work tasks for the kitchen staff and cleaning tasks at different times of the day to ensure an excellent customer experience.
  4. Server’s Checklist: Like the manager’s checklist, this checklist will also include duties to be performed before the service begins, during a shift change, and while closing the restaurant.
  5. Bartender’s Checklist: This will be only for restaurants that have an in-house bar and include duties of the bartender at different times of the day.
  6. Marketing Checklist: This checklist will not have anything to do with your long-term marketing goals or current marketing strategies but will focus on marketing, which happens within the restaurant like upselling dishes, the information provided to the customers regarding the restaurant, etc.

Here is the detailed checklist for managing daily restaurant operations.

1. Restaurant Management Checklist: Manager’s Duties

A manager plays a vital role in maintaining a restaurant. The manager must be present when the restaurant opens and closes since he/she is responsible for all activities that happen in the restaurant. Thus a manager’s daily checklist is one of the most crucial parts of a restaurant management checklist. The checklist regarding the daily duties of the manager contains three sections; they are: 

(i) Manager’s Opening Checklist

The manager who opens the restaurant is responsible for unlocking the cash register and adding the first 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 significant activity that a manager must perform.

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 and his duties as mentioned in the restaurant management checklist 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 later in the day, the kitchen ran out of a particular item, a specific staff member has resigned suddenly or is not on the floor, etc. Delivering all this information will help the next manager in line to make appropriate decisions that will ensure that the restaurant runs smoothly during the rush hours of the day.

(iii) Manager’s Closing Checklist

Next on the restaurant checklist for the manager’s duties are the closing tasks. Just as managers have to perform specific duties at the start of the day, they have some similar 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, the manager must confirm the amount of stock used and the stock available from the executive chef and the bartender to deduce if the available stock is sufficient or not.

In case the inventory is insufficient, he must reorder the required amount for the coming day. Moreover, since the opening manager would have already recorded the opening stock, the closing manager can quickly analyze if any misappropriations are happening in the restaurant by comparing the closing stock to the sales for the day.

Download this ready-made Restaurant Manager Opening and Closing Checklist that will help you manage your daily operations better.

Download Restaurant Manager Duties Checklist 

2. Restaurant Management Checklist For Side Work 

Certain tasks need to be performed by the restaurant staff when the restaurant is in the slow hours of the day or when the restaurant is closed after lunch and is prepping up for the evening shift. At these hours, managers may assign some duties to idle staff members both at the back and at the front end of the restaurant. These tasks must be put on the daily checklist to make sure that they are not missed. These include:

(i) Restaurant Management Checklist For Front Of The House Operations

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 per the table arrangement technique, place fresh flowers in the table vase if your restaurant provides one, checks if there is a menu on all the tables, and the like.

(ii) Restaurant Management Checklist For Back End Operations

During 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. Restaurant Management Checklist: Kitchen and Cleaning Staff

The kitchen is not merely a place where food comes out. It needs to be arranged accordingly and to ensure that the kitchen operations are on point, you need to create a daily checklist for your kitchen staff as well. This checklist will be a part of your restaurant management checklist but will deal with tasks exclusive to your kitchen staff. This checklist will have two parts, the first dealing with kitchen prep work and the other with kitchen cleaning.

(i) Kitchen Prep Work Checklist

Various types of sauces go into making the dishes, and 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 the marination.

Considering the pressure that goes into preparing the kitchen for the day, many restaurants employee staff members who come early 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 will slow down all the operations of your kitchen and increase the generation of kitchen waste.

Kitchen waste generation is not something that you should take lightly. To understand the seriousness of the issue and why it must not be ignored, read Why Ignoring Kitchen Waste Management In Your Restaurant Can Be Your Biggest Mistake! Thus, you must make this daily checklist as comprehensive as possible and keep updating 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 member in the kitchen must be responsible for keeping the kitchen clean. 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 that must be instilled in them.

4. Restaurant Management Checklist: 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, which will help them to perform better. These checklists include: 

(i) Servers Opening Checklist

The first thing on your server’s daily restaurant management checklist should be to check with a vigilant eye that everything is right in place before the restaurant opens. 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). 

(ii) Servers Shift Change Checklist

This is especially important if your restaurant has more than one shift. In such a scenario, it becomes necessary to ensure that your restaurant checklist includes all the tasks in which servers that are leaving should perform so that the incoming servers can start 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 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 server’s daily 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 that 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 can communicate it.

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5. Restaurant Management Checklist: Bartender’s Duties

Managing a bar is a part of how to manage a restaurant question. Hence, if you have a bar, then you must have a checklist of 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 daily management checklist should be so comprehensive that all misappropriation with the liquor bottles can be easily traced. A proper checklist will help you control liquor costs to a great extent.

6. Marketing Checklist For Daily Restaurant Management

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 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 ones 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 dishes and restaurant.

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, distributing free samples of new menu items to win the hearts of customers and gather feedback at the same time. 

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, and 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 restaurant management checklist is what you need to ensure that all your daily tasks are done on time for effective restaurant management. 

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Prachi is the Marketing Manager at Restroworks. In her current capacity, she establishes connections with key stakeholders in the F&B industry and serves as the host of The Restaurant Times talk show, "F&B Talks," tailored for the restaurant sector. With hands-on experience in international sales and marketing, Prachi has led initiatives in the LATAM and USA regions, contributing to the platform's global outreach.


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