Why Do You Need a Restaurant Operations Checklist?

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When it comes to running a restaurant, a restaurant operations checklist is vital to the success of your business. While you may know everything about running a restaurant, chances are that those you will hire � those who are looking for operations employment � will not. In order to ensure that those you hire for restaurant operations are adequately prepared for the job, you will need a clear outline for all of the operations jobs that must be taken care of in the course of the business day.

In addition to a checklist that outlines various operations jobs that must be completed on a daily basis, a good checklist will also outline long term tasks and steps that should be taken in certain emergency and contingency situations. While you may think that this is a matter of common sense, many who are new to operations employment rely heavily on a written guide to help them complete the tasks they undertake.

A good basic restaurant operations checklist will include a list of daily tasks. Often, these are broken down into the opening routine, daily operations, and tasks that should be completed at closing time.

Every restaurant does things a bit differently, and as a small business owner, you should feel free to structure the day's work in whatever way seems to work best for you. However, there are some basic tasks that are common to all restaurants that should be included in the checklist. The most basic of these are cleaning, prep work, and stocking. This could include cleaning the waitress station, prepping salads, and ensuring that bread and other appetizers are thoroughly stocked before opening. Again, it will vary from one restaurant to the next, but a thorough, well thought-out checklist is key.

Apart from this basic checklist, you are likely to want a checklist for each shift - in most cases these shifts are defined by overlapping time frames for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Each shift is likely to have different responsibilities, so you'll need a detailed list of what ought to be done and by whom at different points during the business day. The closing shift, of course, should include details on end-of-day cleaning and organizing that should be done to minimize the work for the opening crew the next morning. Make sure to balance the workload so that one shift isn't taking on more of the work than another.

In addition to these daily operations, you'll want to create an "always" checklist of things that should continually be done. For example, employee behavior, dress code, temperature, music, and lighting settings for the restaurant, company policies and procedures, and other things that your employees should know and observe at all times.

Special checklists may be necessary for circumstances that may arise from time to time. For example, you may want to outline what to do in case of an unexpectedly large party (include things like seating arrangements, mandatory gratuities, and so on). This also applies in case a party has reserved your restaurant in advance for a special occasion.

The most important thing to remember is to create the checklists in such a way that someone new to restaurant operations career can easily follow the instructions. This will ensure maximum efficiency and minimum stress on both your part, and the part of your employees.
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