Every morning, managers have to kickstart their restaurant for a long day of work to make sure that the day goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible. This involves making sure that every nook and corner of the restaurant is in working order, any issues have been identified and handled, and the staff is ready to go. All this has to be done before the doors of the restaurant open for the day.
Opening the restaurant correctly is one of the most important tasks that define how the operations will take place for the rest of the day. A poor opening can lead to a multitude of problems and issues that can derail operations and lead to loss of revenue and unsatisfied customers. For instance, an early check of all the equipment can help the staff find anything that might not be working properly and quickly send it for repairs. However, if the morning check is missed out, you will end up with a fridge that isn’t working, food that is spoiled, and dishes that can no longer be served to customers, all in the middle of a busy shift.
The best way to ensure that all the opening procedures and checks are being done in an orderly manner is to add a daily opening checklist to your restaurant’s opening routine.
A daily opening checklist is a document that lists down all the important tasks that need to be completed before the restaurant opens for the day to ensure that everything is in order.
Usually, there are three types of opening checklists used at a restaurant, for different areas of the restaurant: front of house checklist, back of house checklist, and restaurant manager’s checklist.
For maximum success and accountability, one member of the staff should be given the responsibility of making sure that every task on their designated opening checklist has been completed before the first shift starts. For the front of house, this can be the head server or the host, for the back of house, the head chef, and the restaurant manager would be responsible for his/her own checklist.
Advantages Of Daily Opening Checklists For A Restaurant
1. Increased accountability
Having regular checklists in place increases your staff’s accountability for finishing the tasks assigned to them. It gives the designated employees a sense of responsibility for ensuring that all the tasks on their checklists have been completed.
It also helps easily recognize where the shortcoming is when tasks are not being completed properly. For instance, if you notice a continuous shortage of inventory, it means that your BOH (back of house) employees need more training on inventory management.
2. Reduced error
With set checklists in place that define all the necessary tasks, there is less chance of your staff missing out on any important ones. The checklists clearly describe what the employees should aim at after each check, for instance, “the temperature of the refrigerator should be -20 degrees on every morning check”. This ensures that your employees know what to look out for and easily identify any errors and report them immediately.
3. Increased efficiency in operations
The checklists ensure that everything is working smoothly before the restaurant opens for the day. This allows restaurant staff to identify any issues before people start walking in through the doors and fix them as quickly as possible. With everything taken care of before the shift begins, restaurant operations tend to be a lot more streamlined and efficient as all the possible hitches have been identified and taken care of beforehand.
4. More safety
Every restaurant includes various hazardous equipment that can possibly cause health and fire risks if not checked properly and regularly. The daily opening checklist makes sure that all the equipment like the oven, meat slicer, stovetops, etc. are in working order which helps minimize the risk of injury.
Types Of Restaurant Daily Opening Checklists
1. Front of house opening checklist
The front of house opening checklist makes sure that the main dining area of your restaurant is ready for guests and the front of house team is prepared for the day. This checklist includes tasks like checking the tables and chairs, glassware and silverware, checking the cleanliness of the space, preparing the staff with specials for the day, etc.
The front of house checklist is usually handled by the head server or the host, who ensures that all the tasks in the checklist have been completed before the restaurant opens.
A few examples of tasks that can be added to a front of house opening checklist:
- Set all the tables in the correct layout as designated in the floor plan
- Clean and sanitize all the tables and chairs
- Add table linen, flowers, and tableware to each table
- Make sure each chair is in a good condition
- Clean the bathroom
2. Back of house opening checklist
The “back of house” opening checklist lists down all the kitchen and inventory tasks that should be completed before the start of the day. This includes tasks like checking inventory levels, checking the condition of each piece of equipment, setting up mise en place in the kitchen, stocking the bar, putting kitchenware in the right place, etc.
The back of house opening checklist is usually handled by the head chef, who ensures that the kitchen is set and ready for action for the day.
A few examples of tasks that can be added to a back of house opening checklist:
- Inventory check
- Equipment check
- Check tools and kitchenware
- Put everything in the right place
- Mise en place for the kitchen - chop and prepare ingredients for the day
3. Restaurant manager’s opening checklist
The manager’s opening checklist involves administrative and managerial tasks to ensure that all the operations are running smoothly. These tasks include starting all the systems like table management system, POS system, etc., opening the cash counter, making staff schedules, checking up on staff, briefing staff for the day, making sure that the front of house and back of house opening checklists are completed, etc.
The restaurant manager is responsible for ensuring that all the tasks have been completed and the restaurant is ready to open for the day.
A few examples of tasks that can be added to a restaurant manager’s opening checklist:
- Open the cash counter
- Set up the POS system
- Brief staff
- Check and prepare the reservations for the day
- Check on front of house opening checklist
- Check on back of house opening checklist
Adding these simple and quick checklists to your restaurant’s opening routine can make a huge difference and significantly improve your restaurant’s efficiency and minimize errors by making sure no important tasks are missed or forgotten.
Not sure how to create opening checklists for your restaurant? Download our free restaurant opening checklist template to help you get started!