Request Demo Try for free

Your Daily Restaurant Opening Checklists - Free PDF Included

March 22, 2023 4 min
Senior Content Manager at Eat App
Reviewed by
Co-founder and CEO of Eat App

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.

>>Create daily opening checklists for your restaurant with our free PDF 

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.

restaurant checklist

>> Download our printable opening checklist PDF to create a checklist for your restaurant

A restaurant opening checklist is also necessary for your wait staff. A restaurant daily opening checklist can help kitchen staff ensure that food preparation areas are clean, kitchen stations are stocked, and incoming inventory is properly stored.

We've created a handy restaurant daily opening checklist PDF for your front-of-house and back-of-house staff to help you ensure your early-morning teams never miss a beat. This checklist includes a list of all the necessary tasks that must be completed prior to service, as well as blank sections for you to fill in any additional tasks. We've also included a separate restaurant opening checklist for the entire staff, so managers can ensure that critical tasks, such as reviewing the daily specials, are never overlooked.

The best part is that these opening checklists are in PDF format, so you can easily print or save them for future use.

Checklist 1: Front of House Opening Checklist 

Server duties are no laughing matter. Your employees already have a lot on their plates, so use this opening checklist to keep things in order. Make it a group effort by including your host and bartenders. This will give all of your front-of-house employees a sense of what it takes to run a busy restaurant. Assume you're opening a bar in New York City. Here are some preparation tasks for your staff:

  • Empty the trash
  • Vacuum and clean the floor
  • Take the money out of the register 
  • Turn on the POS
  • Make sure to adjust the tables
  • Switch on the lights and music
  • Refill the salt and pepper shakers
  • Etc.

Here's an example of what a front-of-house opening checklist will look like: 

Manager: __________                                                                       Date: ___________

Done Action Comments
  Example: Exterior - look for any visible signs of dirt, trash, or debris.   

Free Restaurant Daily Opening Checklists PDF Create your restaurant's opening checklists using our free PDF Download the Free PDF Now

Checklist 2: Back of House Opening Checklist

While you may depend on your kitchen crew for their culinary expertise, you also rely on them to keep your restaurant spotless and free of infractions of the health code. Employ this opening checklist for back-of-house staff to keep your restaurant spotless, your inventory in check, your food outstanding, and your customers satisfied right from the start. The list can include tasks like: 

  • Swipe the counter before you prep food
  • Chop onions and garlic 
  • Make sure to restock the inventory
  • Take stock of new products/items
  • Etc.

Here's an example of the checklist below:

Manager: __________                                                                       Date: ___________

Done Action Comments
  Example: Equipment - check if coolers, refrigerators, and other equipment are working properly.   

>>Download our printable opening checklist PDF to create a checklist for your restaurant

Checklist 3: Manager's Opening Checklist

The restaurant managers serve as your on-site eyes and ears. They assist you in maintaining a tight ship by regularly measuring the satisfaction levels of your personnel and visitors. Make their lives easier by providing them with a restaurant opening checklist that will always help them finish their most important tasks and won't ever leave them wondering what to do next. Their checklist will include items like: 

  • Examine the employee schedule and make any required alterations
  • Develop a meeting schedule for the staff
  • Set daily objectives and review the daily specials
  • Review the menu items
  • Staff members sample new menu items

Manager: __________                                                                       Date: ___________

Done Action Comments
  Example: Equipment - check if coolers, refrigerators, and other equipment are working properly.   


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 in inventory management.

2. Reduced mistakes

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 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.Free Restaurant Daily Opening Checklists PDF Create your restaurant's opening checklists using our free PDF Download the Free PDF Now



Senior Content Manager at Eat App

Elana Kroon used to work in restaurants before becoming a journalist and expert restaurant industry content creator at Eat App.

Reviewed by

Nezar Kadhem

Nezar Kadhem

Co-founder and CEO of Eat App

He is a regular speaker and panelist at industry events, contributing on topics such as digital transformation in the hospitality industry, revenue channel optimization and dine-in experience.

Join restaurants in 70+
countries using Eat App

Get Started
Request demo