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Restaurant Opening and Closing Checklist

Restaurant opening & closing are two essential tasks. After opening, there is constantly cleaning to do before customers arrive. And after closing, you have to make sure everything is closed up tight for the night.

There is an extensive list of tasks that need to be completed during each shift, so it’s helpful for staff members to have checklists, so they don’t miss anything.


What Is A Restaurant Opening and Closing Checklist?

restaurant opening & closing

Many tasks need to be completed when opening or closing a restaurant. To make sure these critical steps get done, employees who work the morning and evening shifts will check off each task as they complete it on their lists.

Most restaurants have checklists for opening and closing specific to each team’s tasks. There’s also a checklist for the management team. The front-of-house (FOH) is responsible for customer service, while back-of-house (BOH) handles food preparation.


Benefits of a Restaurant Opening and Closing Checklist

Setting up a system for cleaning the store before and after opening is both to your benefit and that of customers, employees, owners. Click To Tweet

Here are some of the benefits you can expect when opening and closing a restaurant:

Helpful reminder

Running a restaurant requires everyone to work together towards the same goal. The more people you have and tasks there are, the easier it is for small things like cleaning door handles to be forgotten because they don’t seem important enough.

Staff accountability

Using checklists for restaurant staff can be a way to hold them accountable. If something goes wrong or an important task is not completed, the employee will have signed off on it, and you know who needs to fix things.

This way, you can easily see who is responsible for each task.

If you notice that your restaurant always runs out of inventory whenever Jack is working, then perhaps he needs to be retrained on how to count and order merchandise.

Cost savings

When you close your restaurant, many simple tasks need to be done. One of the most important is turning off lights and reducing air conditioning or heating. This saves money on utility bills by cutting down on energy use.

Increased safety

At the end of a restaurant’s day, a critical task is to lock up, arm security, and make sure large appliances are turned off. These tasks could protect staff and customers from danger or unexpected expenses that might lead to bankruptcy.

Now you know why having a list of things to do before and after opening or closing the restaurant is essential. Include these checklists in your employee handbook for easy access.

restaurant opening & closing


Tips for Implementing the Restaurant Opening and Closing Checklist

One way to improve restaurant closing and opening procedures is by creating a checklist. Here are some tips for implementing your list:

  • Brainstorm tasks: Come up with the functions on the checklist. Shadow the FOH, BOH, and management team members. Write down their routine tasks at the start and end of the day. 
  • Create your restaurant checklists: Create the list based on these tasks. Place a check box next to each item. Have employees check the tasks off as they do them. To increase accountability, ask staff to place their initials next to things they have completed. Create checklists for opening and closing shifts.
  • Share checklists with the team: Discuss the list in a staff meeting or using a communication tool. 
  • Stay organized: Keep copies of the checklist in a binder or an area relevant to each function (host stand, kitchen entrance, and office).

These steps will make creating an opening and closing checklist protocol easy.


3 Types of Restaurant Opening Checklists

Restaurant opening checklists are vital to the success of your restaurant. Here are three lists for opening shifts:

1. Front of house (FOH) and bar opening checklist

To ensure the restaurant is ready for customers, FOH team members need to check off a list of tasks before opening. 


  • Set tables 
  • Put fresh flowers
  • Clean and sanitize tables, windows, and all surfaces
  • Make sure that the trash bins are empty
  • Clean the bathroom


  • Place table settings and fold napkins


  • Restock tabletop necessities (ketchup, butter, sugar packets, etc.)
  • Set up mis en place at the bar
  • Restock liquor at the bar
  • Stock bar with glassware

If your restaurant is primarily takeout and delivery, customize this opening checklist to focus on tasks related to deliveries.

2. Back of house (BOH) opening checklist

The BOH team is responsible for closing down and preparing for the opening shift.


  • Wipe food preparation surfaces

Mise en place

  • Chop ingredients for the kitchen stations
  • Put tools at each station


  • Restock incoming inventory
  • Put food in the proper places
  • Take stock of incoming items


  • Put tools in appropriate places
  • Put incoming list in their right places

3. Restaurant manager opening checklist

A restaurant manager’s day consists of organizing daily specials, leading staff meetings, and ensuring the finances are in order. The sales reports need to be analyzed as well.

Staff meeting

  • Set agenda for a staff meeting
  • Establish goals for the day 

Menu education

  • Explain daily specials to staff
  • Review the menu items
  • Staff tasting of new menu items


  • Pay bills
  • Address payroll questions
  • Set daily sales goals


  • Answer emails, social media posts, respond to reviews
  • Organize incoming inventory deliveries
  • Coordinate maintenance appointments for the premise or equipment 


restaurant opening & closing

3 Types of Restaurant Closing Checklists

These three restaurant closing checklists will guide your team to ensure that tasks are completed.

We’ve listed some examples of tasks that could be included in your restaurant closing checklist, but the key is to customize it for what works best for you.

1. Front of house (FOH) and bar closing checklist

The front-of-house and bar teams are responsible for stocking, cleaning, locking up the restaurant at night.


  • Wipe and sanitize all surfaces
  • Sweep entryway
  • Tuck chairs back into place
  • Wipe down and sanitize menus


  • Take inventory
  • Restock liquor


  • Set security systems
  • Lock doors
  • Close windows


  • Put equipment and tools back in their designated spot


  • Count cash in the register
  • Make sure cash matches what is registered in the point of sale (POS) system 

2. Back of house (BOH) closing checklist

Here are some tasks that the kitchen team should do when cleaning up.


  • Wash dishes
  • Wipe and sanitize all surfaces
  • Throw out trash

Food safety

  • Disinfect food preparation surfaces
  • Put food back in proper places
  • Check if tools and appliances are working properly
  • Make sure the fridge and freezer doors are closed
  • Check for bugs and rodents


  • Take stock of inventory 
  • If there are no longer usable ingredients, donate them to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.


  • Place tools in proper places


  • Check that stoves, fryers, ovens, and other kitchen appliances are turned off
  • Make sure the back door is closed

3. Restaurant manager closing checklist

Managers are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a restaurant and its finances and staff needs. 


  • Check staff schedule
  • Check clock-in and clock-out times
  • Evaluate staff performance


  • Tidy up office
  • Put things back in their proper places


  • Make sure payroll is paid
  • Make certain bills are paid
  • Keep track of overtime scheduling
  • Ensure that cash registers are balanced 


  • Lock point of sale (POS) systems
  • Log off computers
  • Activate alarm systems
  • Lock doors


Final Thoughts on Restaurant Opening and Closing

It is crucial to have an organized, clean, and well-stocked restaurant.

It’s also essential for staff members to know what they are responsible for as part of their daily duties to ensure that these tasks get done. Click To Tweet

It is essential to create custom checklists for employees. Use our examples as templates, then customize them according to the needs of your restaurant.