Full Restaurant Operations Checklist + How To Improve Safety & Productivity By Going Mobile

Last Updated: July 20, 2022
Waitress talking to customers​

From preparing garnishes to setting up tables and ensuring your waiters are briefed on the daily specials, a comprehensive restaurant operations checklist is a crucial element in keeping your customers satisfied, receiving positive restaurant reviews and ultimately, preserving your brand image.

We’ll share what a restaurant operations checklist is, what it should include and how to simplify your own restaurant operations checklist to improve safety, save money and more using mobile forms.

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What Is A Restaurant Operations Checklist?

A restaurant operations checklist is a document that contains a list of tasks that your staff must complete at the start and end of their day.

When a task is completed, an employee places a checkmark next to the task. Traditionally, restaurant operations checklists are paper-based, filled out and replaced each day.

Restaurant opening and closing checklists are grouped by restaurant departments, such as the front of house and back of house.

  • Front of house: The area of the restaurant that customers see. Front of house positions include hosts, waiters and bartenders.
  • Back of house: The area of the restaurant that customers don’t see. Back of house positions include chefs, line cooks and dishwashers.
Manager talking to the staff​

                                      A restaurant operations checklist caters to both the front of house and back of house departments​

Benefits Of A Restaurant Operations Checklist

A restaurant operations checklist ensures that your establishment is ready to go before customers start arriving, and properly set up for success for the next day when it’s time to close up shop.

A restaurant operations checklist helps you:

1. Increase Safety

Restaurant closing checklists include turning off ovens, heaters and gas stoves, and ensuring that doors and windows are locked.

When you lock up the restaurant, arm the security system and make sure all appliances are turned off before your staff leaves, you ensure that your employees, business and belongings are safe.

2. Save Money

Restaurant violations can lead to hefty fines. In New York City, for example, kitchen surfaces that aren’t properly cleaned and sanitized after every use can result in a $350 fine alone.

A checklist helps ensure that your restaurant is clean and safe for customers, which in turn saves you money and upholds a respectable brand reputation.

3. Improve Productivity

A restaurant operations checklist allows your staff to focus on the tasks that need to be completed so nothing important is forgotten, whether opening or closing the restaurant. Tasks listed on checklists should be followed in order of priority, and initialed when completed. 

4. Boost Service

A daily restaurant operations checklist allows your staff to provide consistent service.

From opening on time and having garnishes ready to go, to mopping up spills and disinfecting surfaces at the end of the night, customers can expect a positive, clean, safe and friendly experience each and every time they visit your restaurant.

Ready to build your custom checklist?
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What Should Your Restaurant Opening Checklist Include?

A comprehensive restaurant opening checklist streamlines your restaurant operations and ensures your team is set up for the day.

Here’s what your restaurant opening checklist should include:

Front Of House

  • Turn on lights and background music
  • Turn on your Point of Sale (POS) system
  • Check if there’s debris, trash, broken windows or glass in the restaurant’s exterior
  • Remove chairs from tabletops and neatly place them around the table
  • Set tables
  • Wipe down tables and chairs
  • Fold napkins
  • Place table settings
  • Restock tabletop necessities such as napkins, ketchup and salt and pepper
  • Check table and chair arrangements
  • Replace water and refill water pitches
  • Ensure all tables and chairs are sturdy
  • Ensure the light bulbs are working and replace them if needed
  • Ensure bathrooms are clean and equipped with toiletries
  • Ensure trash bins are empty
  • Check ventilation, air conditioning and heating
  • Clean menu and bill folders
  • Check receiving file for all deliveries scheduled for the day
  • Review the reservations list and special requests
  • Change the door sign from “Closed” to “Open”

Back Of House

  • Check kitchen equipment to ensure it’s working properly
  • Ensure the cash register has been cleared from the previous shift
  • Create a list for kitchen staff about which ingredients to prep
  • Wipe down countertops
  • Chop ingredients
  • Chop and prepare bar garnishes
  • Place tools in each station
  • Restock incoming inventory
  • Place incoming inventory in its proper location


  • Ensure staff have punched in properly
  • Address an agenda for the staff meeting
  • Set goals for the day
  • Set a meeting with the chef on duty
  • Review menu items
  • Check if there are changes to the menu
  • Explain daily specials to the staff
  • Ask staff to taste new menu items

What Should Your Restaurant Closing Checklist Include?

A restaurant closing checklist ensures your restaurant is properly cleaned after a day of operation and ready for the next day.

Here’s what your restaurant closing checklist should include:

Front Of House

  • Change the door sign from “Open” to “Closed”
  • Empty trashcans and replace trash bags
  • Sweep or vacuum floors
  • Mop the floors
  • Wipe down tables and chairs
  • Clean all windows
  • Clean silverware and glassware
  • Disinfect menus, check books, wine lists and the POS system
  • Organize menus and wine lists
  • Place chairs on top of tables
  • Refill napkin dispensers
  • Restock salt and pepper shakers
  • Clean and replace floor mats
  • Switch off lights

Back Of House

  • Clean pots and pans
  • Clean coffee and soda machines
  • Clean beer taps
  • Clean grates behind the bar
  • Ensure wine bottles are corked
  • Equip bar with clean glassware
  • Restock liquor bottles, canned drinks and bottled mixers
  • Refill bar garnishes
  • Restock kicked beer kegs
  • Restock receipt paper
  • Clean and disinfect all areas of the bathroom
  • Restock bathrooms with toiletries such as handwashing soap and toilet paper
  • Count money from the register
  • Store cash in a safe place
  • Lock doors and cabinets
  • Ensure all refrigerators are set to 40°F to prevent food spoilage
  • Ensure that no food is left out
  • Properly store kitchen tools
  • Turn off gas stoves, ovens and heaters
  • Switch off lights
Manager and staff talking behind the counter​

            A restaurant operations checklist ensures that every step is taken to provide the best service and experience for your customers​

Digitize Your Restaurant Operations Checklist Using doForms

With doForms, paper checklists thumbtacked to walls or taped to doors are a thing of the past.

This pen and paper approach is inefficient, time-consuming, messy and costly — in fact, the average business spends as much as $8,000 per year on paper alone!

So, how can doForms help?

doForms is a mobile forms solution that moves your restaurant operations towards a paperless approach by allowing you to build detailed checklists and post-restaurant operations reports for improved organization, easy access and ultimately, streamlined management.

With more than 30 drag-and-drop features and a user-friendly dashboard, our mobile forms are the most effective and secure method for creating, storing and sending reports and checklists for your restaurant.

Whether you choose to work with templated forms or create your own, both options offer the same customization and flexibility for your checklists.

With doForms, you can easily customize your mobile forms at any time, gather data in real-time and deliver comprehensive reports.

While your employees are filing in their restaurant checklists with or without an internet connection, you can easily manage timesheets, payroll, inventory and more — keeping all of your forms in a secure, centralized location.

Along with restaurant opening and closing checklists, which you can customize and easily adjust when a new task arises, going paperless allows you to:

  • Communicate kitchen equipment or restaurant operation issues in real-time
  • Manage kitchen inventory, menu performance, expense, restaurant sales and staff performance reports
  • Manage your staff no matter where you are
  • Edit templates and export employee payroll forms
  • Access employee time sheets and employee schedules at any time, from any device
  • Reduce the risk of sharing sensitive information such as payroll and performance reviews, thanks to features such as encrypted security through HIPAA compliancy and multi-factor authentication

Say goodbye to paper-based checklists.
Try doForms for free!

Simplify Restaurant Operations By Going Mobile

A restaurant operations checklist serves as a reminder for restaurant staff, to ensure each important task is completed, whether it’s refilling salt and pepper shakers, sanitizing kitchen equipment or making sure the bathroom is spotless at all times.

Traditional paper checklists are costly and time-consuming for a business that requires employees and management to be quick on their feet. It’s time to say goodbye to paper checklists and say hello to mobile forms!

doForms allows you to improve restaurant operations by cutting costs, improving productivity and more. Build, customize, edit, save and send your restaurant operations checklists whether online or offline, at any time, from anywhere!

Track timesheets, manage payroll, oversee inventory and further streamline your restaurant with smart and secure mobile forms.


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