Published 31 Jan 2023
What is a Restaurant Checklist?
A restaurant checklist is an evaluation tool used by restaurateurs or restaurant managers to quickly identify and resolve issues that may impact the business. This tool includes all restaurant activities and procedures and ensures compliance. Restaurant checklists can help improve daily operations, employee training, store cleanliness, food safety, and customer satisfaction standards, especially because working in the fast-paced world of the food service industry can be challenging. Stay on top of everything that is happening in your restaurant by utilizing restaurant checklist templates across topics including restaurant procedures, kitchen cleaning, food hygiene inspections, management site visits, customer satisfaction surveys, and more.
Restaurant Checklists are used by managers or quality inspectors to conduct site audits of all areas of the restaurant. Use this checklist to prepare the restaurant before opening:
- set dining chairs and tables
- clean and sanitize the windows and table tops
- clean dirty floors
- check lighting, switches, and electrical components working properly
- check food preparation and cooking area
- ensure safe working practices
This checklist also covers the assessment of workers’ execution of safe practices.
In this article
- What is a Restaurant Procedures Checklist?
- How do I Make a Checklist for a Restaurant?
- How to Conduct Daily Restaurant Opening Checks
- How Do You Write a Restaurant SOP Checklist?
- Top 3 Benefits of Using a Digital Restaurant Checklist
- Use SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) to maximize your restaurant’s potential
- Essential Restaurant Checklists
What is a Restaurant Procedures Checklist?
A restaurant procedures checklist is a tool used to ensure that all restaurant SOPs and tasks involved in operating a restaurant and providing exceptional customer service are delivered across all shifts from opening to closing. Also called a restaurant daily checklist, it helps managers perform regular walkthroughs before opening, during operations, and before closing to make sure that the establishment is at par with the restaurant’s standards.
How do I Make a Checklist for a Restaurant?
Using the right restaurant checklist can greatly improve the overall dining experience of your customers. Follow these steps on how you can make a checklist that is ideal for your restaurant:
- There are plenty of checklists to choose from so begin by knowing what the checklist is going to be used for.
- Once you have determined what the checklist is for, use a reliable restaurant checklist template that is readily available and can be edited to fit the unique needs of your restaurant.
- Make sure that your checklist items are easy to read and understand.
- Include photos as references to help the person doing the checks better identify what to look for.
- Test the completeness of your checklist by checking the restaurant using it. Involve the person who will be doing the checks as this will help make sure everything is covered. This activity can also help reinforce accountability.
- Use the checklist and see how the checks impacted the operation of the restaurant. Revise the checklist as needed before providing the person in charge of doing the checks with a copy of the checklist.
- Revisit the checklist to make sure that it remains up-to-date especially when there are changes in the restaurant.
Take a look at this sample restaurant checklist report to have a better idea of what it can look like. This is a result of using this restaurant opening checklist.
How to Conduct Daily Restaurant Opening Checks
Daily restaurant checks can be routinary, but they are vital to proactively catch issues before they become problematic. Here are some steps to follow when conducting daily restaurant checks:
- Begin with the right checklist
With all the things to check during restaurant opening and closing, it is best to have a reliable restaurant daily checklist. Use restaurant checklists as a guide so that you do not miss anything when checking all areas of the restaurant at opening or closing.
- Do a visual check
Look at the overall setup of the restaurant and ensure that what you see is indeed the intended look, ambiance, or seating arrangement for the day. Rearrange the setup of tables, chairs, and decorations, when appropriate, to fit any special occasions such as booked events.
- Look closely
After you have checked the overview of the restaurant’s setup, it is time to look closely at the minute but important details in different areas of the restaurant. Check for wobbling tables and chairs and inspect the cleanliness of the table linens. Check the condition of the glassware, cutlery, and other items that customers are going to see. Anything that is not at par with the restaurant’s standards must be corrected.
- Check the restaurant’s equipment
Is the cooler functioning? Are all the light bulbs working? Is the HVAC providing the desired temperature? Is the POS system working properly? Make sure that all the equipment used at the restaurant is in good working condition.
- Ensure cleanliness
Maintaining the cleanliness of the restaurant is vital to maintaining the business. From the restaurant’s entrance to the floor, walls, curtains, linens, equipment, and utensils, as well as the staff’s attire—everything should be checked for cleanliness.
- Brief the staff and make notes
Record observations and corrections made during the restaurant check. Note not only the areas for improvement found but also record those deemed worthy of commendation. Good recordkeeping can be a good source of determining the most common errors and corrections made as well as a basis for periodic announcements of best workers.
How Do You Write a Restaurant SOP Checklist?
Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are mandatory for many industries, especially for those that handle food and beverages like restaurants and cafes. An organized and efficient restaurant SOP checklist will help make your restaurant an establishment that people will talk about with their friends, family, and colleagues. Restaurant managers and head chefs know to create an SOP for both the customer-facing and back areas of a restaurant to ensure top-notch, enjoyable service that will make customers come back for more.
A fast-paced business that could lead to lost customers in a matter of a few wasted minutes, restaurants require a checklist solution that adapts to their needs instead of the other way around. A digital solution is ideal for most restaurants as it eliminates the need to go through piles of paper documents and folders just to complete a restaurant inspection.
Below are a few items that need to be covered in a restaurant SOP checklist:
- Ensure safety measures
- Check equipment handling and maintenance
- Comply with health and hygiene regulations
- Check food preparation and handling
- Look at the food presentation
- Check menu creation
- Examine food storage
- Review customer service standards
- Check front-of-the-house greeting and seating
- Check order-taking and service
- Focus on customer complaint management
- Ensure take-out and delivery standards
- Check billing and final settlement
No restaurant SOP checklist can work without constant and effective communication, so communication lines should always be open between staff, management, and vendors. This will also help create a set of best practices that could then be the basis of restaurant SOP. Coupled with regular restaurant inspections, SOPs will help any establishment improve its operational efficiency and customer service.
It’s also vital to align the objectives and expectations from both the front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house to ensure that the restaurant provides a seamless customer experience from the moment they enter the restaurant to the time they leave.
Top 3 Benefits of Using a Digital Restaurant Checklist
Typical restaurant inspections are done manually with pen and paper checklists. Paper inspections, however, have multiple disadvantages that can be avoided by switching to a good digital checklist.
Here are the top 3 benefits of using a digital restaurant operation checklist:
Save time, money, and space
Inspections are much faster through a digital restaurant checklist since they can easily be customized for efficiency; whereas paper restaurant checklists are rigid and require numerous steps to update, communicate, and rollout to staff. Digital restaurant checklists also help restaurants save money by eliminating paper printing. Paper inspection checklists also take up a lot of space for filing and storage; while digital restaurant checklist reports are stored and automatically sorted in safe and secure cloud storage for easy access.
Inspection reporting is easier than ever
After an inspection, restaurant auditors have to compile their findings to write a comprehensive report. Using a digital restaurant operation checklist makes auditing more efficient by combining inspection and reporting into one task; automatically generating a comprehensive report after an inspection is completed. Revisions and editing are also easier with digital reports, compared to messy and at times illegible on paper reports.
Limitless opportunities for collaboration
Collaboration is limited with traditional paper reports since information is often only shared with an inspector’s direct supervisor or manager. A good digital restaurant checklist operates through a shared platform that encourages collaboration through in-app communication; making assignment allocation and tracking faster and easier.
Use SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) to maximize your restaurant’s potential
By using SafetyCulture as your digital restaurant checklist maker, you can take advantage of the following features to ensure that you achieve and maintain high quality and safety standards in your daily restaurant operations:
- Download pre-made digital restaurant checklists, convert your existing paper checklist into our digital format, or create checklists and templates from scratch with our drag-and-drop Smartform builder
- Perform restaurant inspections on your mobile phone or tablet anytime, anywhere, even when offline
- Automatically generate and share comprehensive reports after finishing your inspection minus the extra work
- Take advantage of powerful data analytics through our web app so you can gain new insights into what your restaurant is doing well, and which areas can be improved
- Unlimited cloud storage to ensure your inspection data is safe, organized, and secure
Essential Restaurant Checklists
Restaurant Opening Checklists can be used daily by the store manager or shift supervisor before the commencement of operations. Gather and brief your staff regarding the operational responsibilities. Ensure everyone has service kits and is properly groomed. Use SafetyCulture's camera feature to take photos of areas that need improvement.
You can download this restaurant opening checklist as PDF if you prefer but we do encourage you to use the digital checklist on the SafetyCulture mobile app to reap the full benefits of conducting daily restaurant checks with a powerful inspection software used worldwide.
With this restaurant opening checklist, you can check the following:
- Chairs and seating arrangements
- Cleanliness and layout of tables and linens
- Quality of glassware
- Cleanliness of curtains, walls, and floors
- Good working condition of lights and air-conditioning
- Equipment such as the POS system and telephone are working properly
- Staff is briefed and in their respective areas
Before closing the restaurant doors, it is important to quickly inspect all items and create a report of any issues you had for the day. Start by evaluating cutlery, glassware, and crockery which need to be washed and shifted to dish wash. Next, check counters, tables, chairs, and appliances. Record any breakages that have occurred. Deposit items left by guests in the Lost & Found section. Determine any discrepancies in checks. Turn off lights and powered electrical equipment. Lock doors and windows. Use SafetyCulture to replace your daily paper form, perform all inspections on your mobile, automatically save all reports online in the cloud.
Use this Daily Restaurant Cleaning Checklist to inspect the front and back of the house every day. This will help to make sure your restaurant is clean, sanitized, and in order. Use SafetyCulture, the world’s most powerful inspection app, to capture photo evidence of dirty areas and facilities.
Kitchen Cleaning Checklists can help to maintain a clean and sanitized restaurant. Conduct your inspections using this checklist to evaluate if employees wear hygienic clothing and if food is properly handled. Check if kitchen facilities are cleaned and sanitized properly after use, and waste materials are segregated and properly disposed of. End your inspection by providing your recommendations and overall assessment.
Restaurant Food Safety Checklists are used to ensure all staff, equipment, and storage facilities are handling food in a hygienic and safe manner. This comprehensive template includes checks for personal hygiene across staff, food preparation methods, refrigerator and food storage standards, utensils and work surfaces, dishwashing, garbage storage, and pest control. The auditor should include detailed comments on areas that need to be rectified immediately as well as commendations on best practices followed.
This food premises assessment report was converted using SafetyCulture by the City of Canada Bay. It is used by environmental health officers to assess if food businesses follow COVID-19 precautionary standards, including those related to staff hygiene, cleanliness, and business operations. This assessment report is based on guidance in the Safe Food Australia (2001) publication A Guide to the Food Safety Standards.
This Restaurant Customer Satisfaction Survey template captures customer feedback on the restaurant premise, ambiance, service staff, food quality, and overall customer experience. This digital survey template can be used on a tablet device on a kiosk stand inside your restaurant establishment. Alternatively, it can be used by staff to enter feedback from paper forms and stored securely in the cloud. Find more customer satisfaction survey templates here.
This checklist is a comprehensive guide that can be used by startup businesses to ensure that all requirements are met and help confirm that the restaurant is ready to operate. Identify which items have not been accomplished and which items need focus and priority. Use SafetyCulture to monitor the progress of all tasks that need to be accomplished before opening a new restaurant.
The food and beverage industry can utilize this pre-existing checklist to perform daily, weekly, monthly, or other regular audits and inspections. This can be used as a guide in reviewing essential industry-specific areas such as food safety plus quality, service, and cleanliness of the kitchen, dining, dry storage, and other facilities. In addition, this audit checklist is downloadable and easily customizable.