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What’s on Your Eatery’s Closing Checklist?

02.03.24 | Digital Checklists, Restaurant Management

You may think your eatery’s current end-of-day routine is thorough, but have you considered every detail?

A closing checklist keeps your restaurant clean, organized, and efficient. It helps your team know their responsibilities and prevents wasteful practices, saving you money.

So, what should be on that list? A good closing checklist includes:

  • Cleaning all surfaces, including tables, counters, and kitchen equipment.
  • Check and store all perishable ingredients properly to avoid spoilage.
  • Securely locking all doors and windows.
  • Count the cash and store it safely.
  • Turning off all appliances and lights to save energy.
  • A final walk-through to make sure nothing has been missed.

Involve your team in creating the checklist, rotate responsibilities regularly, use clear and specific language, and make it a habit to apply the checklist regularly.

The Essentials of a Closing Procedures Checklist

Eatery's Closing Checklist

To effectively end your business day, follow a closing checklist. Properly close the kitchen and bar areas, manage stock, maintain cleanliness, and apply safety measures.

A digital checklist tool is recommended to cater to front-of-house (FOH) and back-of-house (BOH) needs, ensuring all areas are properly managed, clean, and secure.

Here are the steps you should include:

  1. Safety First: Double-check that all appliances are turned off and the premises are secure. Ensure all doors and windows are locked, alarms are set, and cash is stored safely.
  2. Cleanliness Matters: Clean and sanitize all surfaces to prevent contamination and ensure a welcoming environment for customers and staff.
  3. Stock Take: Check inventory regularly to avoid stock shortages and ensure smooth business operations.
  4. Kitchen and Bar Shutdown: Clean and turn off kitchen equipment. Cover open bottles in the bar to maintain freshness and prevent spills.
  5. Make a checklist: A simple, clear list of closing tasks helps everyone stay on track.
  6. Assign clear roles: Let each team member know what they’re responsible for to avoid confusion.
  7. Prioritize customer satisfaction: Happy customers are the best advertisement for your business.
  8. Value feedback: Ask and listen to what customers and employees suggest.
  9. Review the day: Discuss the day’s events with your team after closing.
  10. Final walk-through: Itensures safety, equipment shutdown, and task completion, preventing risks and promoting accountability

Leaving your space clean and gathering customer feedback at the end of the day will help you prepare for a successful tomorrow.

Safety Protocols: Securing the Establishment

Closing time at your restaurant is about protecting your investment and ensuring safety for BOH and FOH. Implementing strict safety protocols in your nightly checklist is mandatory.

Here’s what needs your attention:

Obstruction-Free Exits

Ensure all emergency exits are clear, well-lit, and ready for unforeseen events.

Alarm Systems

Test and set your alarm system without fail. This is your silent guardian once the lights go out.

Surveillance Setup

Position your security cameras strategically for optimal coverage, deterring misconduct and recording any possible threats.

Locking Up

Create a systematic lock-up routine. Every door, window, and possible entry point must be thoroughly secured—no exceptions.

Vandalism Prevention

Bright, motion-activated exterior lights are your first line of defense against vandalism. Consider budgeting for security patrols for heightened vigilance.

Safety and security are critical for protecting your assets and reputation as a responsible business owner. It sets a worry-free tone for the next day.

Sanitation and Clean-Up: Maintaining Hygiene Standards

Maintaining high standards of cleanliness and detailed sanitation is crucial for both the front-of-house and back-of-house areas. It’s important to uphold hygiene standards for the well-being of your patrons and staff.

Here’s a practical checklist to ensure your space remains hygienically sound:

Sanitizing FOH: Ensure that all customer-facing areas are pristine. This involves disinfecting tables, chairs, and menus and sanitizing high-touch surfaces like door handles and service counters.

Clean-Up in BOH: Cleanliness is key to kitchen safety. Deep clean all surfaces and utensils. Sweep and mop floors to remove spills and debris.

Stocking Cleaning Supplies: Have enough cleaning supplies and protective gear available for your staff to maintain cleanliness throughout their shift.

Personal Hygiene Practices: Remind employees to wash hands, use gloves, and follow sick policy to prevent pathogen spread.

Waste Management System: Have a systematic refuse disposal process to maintain cleanliness in the back of house area and discourage pests.

Pest Prevention Plan: Regular pest control keeps your spaces hygienic and free from infestations, especially in storage and disposal areas.

Deep Cleaning Schedule: Plan for thorough cleanings in hard-to-reach areas like under shelves, inside refrigerators, and between kitchen equipment.

Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene is crucial for your restaurant’s success. Keep both FOH and BOH spotless for high standards and safety.

Inventory Management: Stock and Supply Audits

Efficient inventory management is an integral piece of the puzzle when closing down your restaurant for the night.

It ensures that your stock is methodically accounted for, minimizing waste and optimizing your supply chain.

Inventory Software: Your Ally in Stock Management

Inventory management software like QuickBooks Commerce can give you real-time visibility into your stock levels, helping you make better purchasing decisions.

Communication with Suppliers: A Balancing Act

Keep in touch with your suppliers to avoid overordering and unnecessary waste/expenses.

Seasonal Adjustments: Adapt and Thrive

Adjust inventory orders based on seasonal demand. For example, if your cafe sells more iced coffee in the summer, adjust milk and coffee bean orders to match the increased demand.

In short, good inventory management means being adaptive, staying informed, and working smarter, not harder, to make your eatery a success.

Kitchen and Bar Shutdown: Ensuring Proper Equipment Care

Closing down the kitchen and bar involves more than just switching off appliances; it’s about safeguarding your investments through diligent care.

Here’s a list of must-dos:

  • Clean and sanitize cooking/serving tools daily.
  • Set a regular maintenance schedule for all appliances.
  • Monitor the condition of bar equipment rigorously.
  • Perform frequent quality inspections on all machinery.
  • Document and promptly address any equipment issues.

Financial Procedures: Cash Handling and Reports

At the close of each day, the restaurant manager oversees accurate cash management and financial reporting, which is crucial for maintaining the establishment’s fiscal health.

Manager’s Responsibilities:

  • Ensure all cash transactions are logged and receipts issued.
  • Cross-check card payment totals with terminal reports.
  • Address discrepancies immediately to maintain financial integrity.

Being thorough with these end-of-day tasks is a protective measure for your business’s financial well-being.

Benefits of Implementing a Digital Closing Checklist

Digital closing checklists can streamline restaurant operations by ensuring accurate and uniform task completion. Managers can oversee the closing process remotely and ensure everything is ready for the next day.

Key advantages of a digital closing checklist include:

Operational Efficiency

  • Ensures precise and uniform task completion.
  • Real-time updates keep staff informed and coordinate efforts.
  • Digital format saves time and reduces errors compared to paper checklists.
  • Managers can oversee closing remotely, enhancing readiness for the next day.

Accountability and Communication

  • Digital logs provide clear records of who completed tasks and when.
  • Built-in communication tools promote swift and clear team interactions.
  • Feedback and notes enhance the clarity and follow-up on tasks.

Streamlined Processes

  • Compatible with various devices for easy access to checklists.
  • Allows immediate task check-offs and adjustments.
  • Facilitates updates when introducing new menus or procedures.

Implementing Your Digital Checklist

Choose a digital platform that integrates smoothly with your current systems and enhances team communication.

Update your checklist regularly and use subheadings to organize sections logically.

Choosing the Right Digital Checklist Tool

  • Look for a digital platform that fits your restaurant’s specific needs.
  • Features should include task customization, user-friendly interfaces, staff scheduling, customer feedback, marketing, and analytics.
  • Regularly update the checklist to keep up with operational changes.

Smoothly transition to a new digital checklist tool by providing training, integrating it into daily routines, and using it for performance reviews to foster an organized and efficient team.


Perform a final check of the restaurant, ensuring that each item on the checklist has been completed. Once done, sign off on the list and rest easy, knowing that the venue is ready for tomorrow.

This final walkthrough is crucial for the general manager to ensure no details have been overlooked. From polished cutlery to a spotless kitchen, every aspect is checked off in both front-of-house (FOH) and back-of-house (BOH) areas.

Here, a digital checklist can save time, reduce errors, and ensure nothing is missed. Introduce it to your team, train them on its use, and provide support as they get used to the new system.

This ritual of closure is not just about ending the day—it’s about setting up tomorrow for success and greeting it with the restaurant at its best.

Will Jocson

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