Those in the food service industry know that running a restaurant is far from easy. In fact, it’s downright difficult. One of the hardest parts, of course, is closing the place down for the night. You’re coming off of a full day of cooking or serving, and now it’s time for the cleaning and closing.
To close your restaurant right, you have to remember dozens of tasks. Even if you have the ultimate ability to remember customer orders, you’re bound to forget part of the restaurant closing checklist — that is, unless you have a physical restaurant closing checklist right in front of you.
Honestly, the only way to remember everything is to have it written down. We’re here to help, and that’s why we have put together the free closing checklist available for download below. To learn more about constructing the ultimate restaurant closing checklist, keep reading.
The Purpose of a Restaurant Closing Checklist
Why even bother with a restaurant closing procedures checklist in the first place? You’re already busy, and you might have even made it for years without one if you’re running a relatively small operation.
But a closing checklist is meant to make your life easier. When it correctly serves its purpose, your checklist will help every member of your staff be on the same page every night. That way, your restaurant returns to its sparkling clean baseline at the end of each day, ready for a new day of serving great food and bringing in high revenue.
Benefits of a Restaurant Closing Procedures Checklist
Getting your front-of-house and back-of-house staff members on the same page is one major benefit of having a restaurant closing checklist, but it’s far from the only benefit. Here are some of the other benefits of working with a closing checklist template:
Stay in Compliance
As a restaurant owner or manager, you’re under immense pressure to keep every aspect of the restaurant in compliance with local and state health codes and related regulations. The last thing you want is a surprise inspection that lowers your health score, which is available to the public.
We don’t bring this up to increase your stress; we bring it up to point out that a complete closing procedures checklist will reduce your inspection-related stress. You can include all kinds of important tasks and procedures, such as food labeling, storage and cleaning tasks, on the checklist, and that helps ensure that they actually get done every single day.
Cleanliness is important to restaurant patrons. In fact, one past poll of more than 2,000 adults found that 85% would not eat at a restaurant that had negative reviews that mentioned problems with cleanliness.
No restaurant owner can afford to alienate 85% of their potential customer base. That means you have to do everything in your power to promote cleanliness, and a detailed restaurant closing checklist is a critical part of that.
Save on Labor Costs
If your whole staff is trying to do all of the closing procedures from memory every night, it’s going to be chaos. People will get in each other’s way, and someone will inevitably forget something, and they’ll have to take extra time to go back and do it. That means more time on the clock for them and higher labor costs for you.
Especially when you consider that many of your closing procedures will take place after closing, when there’s no revenue coming in, your labor is going to skyrocket if it’s taking hours to close every night. But a detailed closing checklist template can speed up the whole process by keeping everyone on task and on time.
A closing checklist promotes food safety. Small mistakes with food handling can result in serious risks to consumer and staff member health, and any such incidents tied to your restaurant is going to harm your reputation. Plus, you don’t want anyone in or near your restaurant getting food poisoning.
There’s a great way to help prevent those kinds of problems: your closing checklist. If you add the right food safety procedures to the list, they’ll get done every day. That promotes better food safety standards.
One of the biggest benefits of a seamless restaurant closing procedures checklist is that it forces you to write everything down. And when you write everything down, you can hold staff members accountable when the items don’t get done.
To run a restaurant, you need some measure of staff accountability, and a restaurant closing checklist can give that to you.
Back-of-House Restaurant Closing Checklist
The following are some of the key tasks to include on a closing checklist for restaurant back-of-house staff:
- Complete nightly food prep tasks
- Consolidate food containers
- Adjust food labels to reflect new dates
- Restock line stations and prep tables
- Rotate inventory for first-in, first-out (FIFO) organization
- Clean the line station and prep tables
- Scrub flat-top grills and similar cooking appliances
- Remove and clean the non-slip mats
- Sanitize and/or wash all cooking utensils and tools
- Change the oil in the fryers
- Empty the kitchen trash cans
- Sweep and mop the back-of-house floors and walk-in freezer
- Put the cleaned non-slip mats back in their designated places
- Turn off all non-critical equipment
- Verify temperatures of fridges, freezers, and prep tables
Front-of-House Restaurant Closing Checklist
You need a closing checklist, but what should be on it? Below we cover some of the key items that should be on a closing checklist for restaurant front-of-house staff:
- Clean all dining tables
- Wipe down chairs and place them on top of tables
- Sweep and mop the dining room floor
- Wipe down the checkbooks
- Clean the bathrooms and restock them
- Break down and clean the tea and coffee makers
- Break down and clean fountain drink nozzles
- Roll silverware
- Refill condiments and salt and pepper shakers
- Return all menus to the menu holder
- Report tips and tip-out
Perfect Your Closing Procedures and Your Staffing Protocols
Closing a restaurant takes practice and a whole lot of planning, but if you have a handy, personalized restaurant closing checklist built directly from a complete closing checklist template, it’s going to be a lot easier.
That’s what we’re all about here at Qwick — making things easier for restaurant owners and managers. Another huge way we make your life easier is by connecting you with the most talented food service professionals in your area.
The process is simple: You post open shifts that need servers or back-of-house staff, and top area professionals claim them and show up ready to work. No more scrambling to move the schedule around, and no more filling in on shifts yourself.