Restaurant Checklists

restaurant checks

Published 9 Sep 2022

Restaurant Online Forms & Checklists

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.

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This article will briefly discuss:

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:

  1. There are plenty of checklists to choose from so begin by knowing what the checklist is going to be used for.
  2. 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.
  3. Make sure that your checklist items are easy to read and understand.
  4. Include photos as references to help the person doing the checks better identify what to look for.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 a copy of the checklist.
  7. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 topnotch, 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, SOP’s 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 iAuditor by SafetyCulture to maximize your restaurant’s potential

By using iAuditor by 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 while 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
safetyculture content specialist shine colcol

SafetyCulture Content Specialist

Shine Colcol

Shine Colcol is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2019, mostly covering topics about health and safety, environmental, and operations management. She is passionate in empowering teams to build a culture of continuous improvement through well-researched and engaging content. Her experience in cross-industry digital publishing helps enrich the quality of information in her articles.

Shine Colcol is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2019, mostly covering topics about health and safety, environmental, and operations management. She is passionate in empowering teams to build a culture of continuous improvement through well-researched and engaging content. Her experience in cross-industry digital publishing helps enrich the quality of information in her articles.