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Make it a good morning with our restaurant opening checklist [FREE TEMPLATE]


Are you a "jump out of bed and go for a morning run" person, or are you a "don't talk to me until I've had my coffee" person? Just as each of us has our own routine for getting ready in the morning, so too does every restaurant need a procedure for opening each day. And while you can probably get by without documenting your morning routine, your restaurant could benefit from a little more structure. Here are some ways you can make every morning a good one by establishing an opening routine, as well as a checklist that your employees can use in your restaurant.

Start with the basics

Ever leave home without your wallet and not notice until you need to pay for something? Forgetting the basics is not uncommon for a sleep-addled mind. These steps to opening a restaurant in the morning are no-brainers, but they make a great starting point for a checklist.

  1. Turn on the computers and clock in
  2. Turn on lights, music, and ovens/grills/other machinery
  3. Set up the dining area—arrange tables and chairs
  4. Count the cash in the tills and set up the registers
  5. Check the refillables—napkins, ketchup, sugar, toilet paper in the bathrooms, etc.

An opening routine that begins with the basics helps make sure your opening employees have a chance to wake up and get into "work mode" before the day begins.

Next, the not-so-basics

After the store has been set up, check for the little things that might not come up every day, but that would be hard to address in the middle of a shift.

  1. Check inventory. Are you running low on any items? Send someone to pick up more, or be prepared to let your cashiers know when you run out.
  2. Check cleanliness. Did the closing shift wash the dishes and sweep/mop the floors? A clean store is just as important as clean food.
  3. Check the dishes. Are any of the trays, plates, bowls, or glasses cracked or broken? Remove them from the stack before a customer gets one.

A little validation goes a long way, especially when you can address potential problems before customers arrive.

Finish by looking backward

By now, your opener has been all over the store getting ready. It's time to have them take a seat in the office and look over the reports from the day before. Look for notes from the closing team that you might need to be aware of. Review the data and insights from your back-of-house systems. Should you expect a slow morning? A crazy day? Is someone out sick? Is there a new LTO? Your systems can tell you all this and more, so there won't be any surprises.

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