Restaurant Night Closing Checklist

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Restaurant closing checklists help manage your restaurant daily. They ensure staff completes tasks and clarify procedures. 

You can divide closing duties into three lists: front-of-house (managed by a floor manager or senior server), back-of-house (managed by a chef or sous chef), and a manager’s list (handled by the general manager). Like opening checklists, closing checklists sets the next shift up for success. 

Closing Checklist for Restaurant- What is it?

A checklist for restaurants is made to check off tasks after your establishment is closed. It includes marking tasks with the person’s name or initials. It’s important to have weekly, monthly, and daily checklists for all the tasks that need to be done.

Reasons To Have A Daily Closing Checklist in a Restaurant

A daily restaurant closing checklist makes running your business easier for these reasons:

  1. Daily Accountability: The checklist promotes accountability by allowing team members to sign off on completed tasks. This fosters a sense of responsibility within the team. It also provides a clear record of who did what, which can be useful in case of issues.
  2. Improved Coordination: Visualizing each shift’s responsibilities improves coordination between opening and closing teams. Opening staff can see the previous night’s tasks, and closing staff can provide feedback on any challenges or special circumstances.
  3. Error Reduction: Daily closing checklists help prevent errors and oversights in the rush of closing shifts. Following a structured list ensures that important tasks are not overlooked during closing restaurants. The use of initials allows easy identification of areas where staff may need assistance.
  4. Efficiency Boost: Time is important during closing shifts. Streamlining the closing process with a checklist optimizes efficiency. Staff can focus on important tasks rather than guessing or engaging in irrelevant activities. The checklist ensures that everyone is on the same page and minimizes late departures and labor costs associated with overtime.

A Quick Guide for Planning A Daily Restaurant Checklist

If you are confused about what to include in a daily Restaurant closing checklist, you first have to differentiate between front-of-house and back-of-house tasks. Here’s a quick guide for you to make sure employees follow the checklists.

Front-of-House Closing Restaurant Checklist

The front-of-house in a restaurant includes different areas like the entrance, waiting area, seating section, drink stations, POS system stations, and restrooms. Outdoor seating is also part of the front-of-house. If there’s a bar, it might be seen as part of the front-of-house, but for cleaning, it’s better to consider it separately. 

When it’s time to clean during closing restaurant, here’s what to include in your checklist:

  1. Clean all tables and chairs.
  2. Flip chairs onto tables.
  3. Clean non-slip mats behind the bar.
  4. Pull up the great and clean the spills underneath.
  5. Sweep and mop the floor.
  6. Ensure non-slip mats are placed back.
  7. Arrange tables according to the floor plan.
  8. Empty rag buckets at the server station.
  9. Wipe down checkbooks.
  10. Empty and clean coffee and iced tea makers.
  11. Disassemble the soda machine and clean the bottom well.
  12. Clean and plug beer taps.
  13. Clean and restock the guest bathroom.
  14. Empty trash cans, including the bathroom, and dispose of garbage.
  15. Wipe down the bar, host stand, and POS tablets and stations.
  16. Polish glasses and roll silverware.
  17. Shine glass surfaces and windows.
  18. Turn off the dining room lights.
  19. Turn off all bar lights.

For Drink Station and Refrigerators

  1. Wipe down and dry soda fountains.
  2. Empty and clean tea and coffee urns, water bottles, or other drink canisters.
  3. Restock water glasses, coffee mugs, and cups while wiping for fingerprints or watermarks.

Safety and Security

  1. Lock doors to restricted areas.
  2. Follow safety and security system procedures, including alarms and locks.

Restocking

  1. Wipe down and return menus to holders.
  2. Refill napkin dispensers.
  3. Refill salt and pepper shakers.
  4. Refill sauces or condiments.

Financial Procedures

  1. Ensure all reported tips are accounted for, and tip-out is distributed.
  2. Close out the floor register and store it securely.

Closing Bar Checklist

  1. Clean pouring spouts from liquor bottles and close them.
  2. Seal any open wine bottles.
  3. Restock fridges with canned drinks.
  4. Replenish inventory of liquor bottles and mixers.
  5. Burn ice and ensure proper drainage.
  6. Refill bar garnishes.
  7. Restock all beer kegs.
  8. Lock bar cash register and store cash securely.
  9. Lock alcohol cabinets if used.

Back-of-house closing checklist

The back-of-house can become messy due to food preparation and debris. Having a thorough cleaning and closing kitchen checklist is essential for maintaining a restaurant’s cleanliness. 

Here’s a breakdown of the cleaning tasks your back-of-house staff should expect at the end of every service.

  1. Remove and clean non-slip mats.
  2. Sweep and mop the kitchen floor.
  3. Reinstall non-slip mats.
  4. Empty kitchen trash cans into the dumpster.
  5. Wash and sanitize cooking utensils, cutting boards, and hotel pans.
  6. Clean prep areas and line stations.
  7. Scrub kitchen equipment, including flattop, grill, and ovens.
  8. Change fryer oil.
  9. Clean and restock the employee bathroom.
  10. Tidy up the break room.

Food Safety Procedures

  1. Double-check inventory and adjust orders.
  2. Consolidate containers of the same foods.
  3. Put away any leftover deliveries received during the day.
  4. Date and label all food items.
  5. Discard contents of containers older than five days in the walk-in fridge.
  6. Restock all line stations.
  7. Ensure perishable foods are stored in the walk-in fridge or freezer.
  8. Ensure proper closure of walk-ins, fridges, and freezers.
  9. Create a prep list for the next day’s prep cook.

Organizational Best Practices

  1. Organize walk-in and dry storage areas according to food safety standards.
  2. Rotate inventory in the fridge using the FIFO (first in, first out) rule.
  3. Empty the dishwasher and return items to their designated places.

Safety Procedures

  1. Verify the temperature of the freezer and fridge.
  2. Turn off heaters, ovens, and gas stoves.
  3. Properly store sharp kitchen tools.
  4. Turn off all equipment.
  5. Ensure employee lockers are securely locked.

Closing Restaurant Checklist- Defining General Manager’s Duty

General managers have various closing duties to manage. Here are some general closing tasks that they may include on their checklist for restaurant:

Overall Restaurant Management

  1. Walk through the entire restaurant to ensure cleanliness.
  2. Collect linens and prepare them for washing.

Employee Engagement

  1. Express gratitude and bid farewell to each employee.
  2. Verify employee clock-in and clock-out times.
  3. Fill out the manager logbook for any notable incidents during the shift.
  4. Build and post the staff schedule (in the break room, online, or in scheduling software).
  5. Show appreciation by posting excellent job postings on job sites.

Managerial Organization

  1. Respond to emails, Yelp reviews, and social media posts.
  2. Tidy up the back office.
  3. Organize incoming deliveries.
  4. Attend any outstanding paperwork.
  5. Plan for upcoming equipment maintenance.

Financial Tasks

  1. Compare sales reports from the POS system with cash in the register and credit card receipts.
  2. Generate a report on the day’s sales data.
  3. Address any outstanding checks or orders.
  4. Make deposits.
  5. Review voids or comps.
  6. Pay any due bills.

Safety Procedures

  1. Ensure the office is locked, the computer is off, and password protection is active.
  2. Double-check that all exits are locked.
  3. Set the building alarm before leaving.

Conclusion

Indeed, closing down a restaurant involves numerous tasks, and without a well-organized list, it can be challenging to manage everything effectively. Closing the restaurant involves a blend of managerial oversight, employee engagement, organizational tasks, financial responsibilities, and safety protocols. 

Incorporating these tasks into a comprehensive restaurant closing checklist helps general managers maintain a smooth operation and ensures a positive transition between shifts. It ensures that every supervising staff member is aware of their responsibilities, facilitating a smoother and more efficient closing process before heading home.

Lastly, each restaurant is unique and deserves insurance coverage to address the specific risks that a food business may face. If you’re looking for a quote for restaurant insurance, reach out to the Exceed Insurance Agency and get the best policy tailored to your specific needs. 

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Frequently Asked Questions 

  • What is a restaurant checklist?

A restaurant checklist is a document used to ensure that all necessary tasks are completed before, during, and after service. It generally includes a list of items and assigns responsibility for each task.

  • What are the basic responsibilities of staff at the closing time of a bar?

Staff responsibilities at closing time include ensuring all customers leave, cleaning the bar area, restocking supplies for the next day, and, in some cases, securing the premises.

  • What are end-of-service procedures in the kitchen?

End-of-service procedures in the kitchen involve turning off and cleaning equipment, properly storing food, and preparing the kitchen for the next day’s operations.

  • Why are checklists important for a restaurant?

Checklists are essential for a restaurant as they ensure tasks are completed efficiently, help track responsibilities, and maintain organization in daily operations. A restaurant closing checklist facilitates smoother processes and better overall management.

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