Optimize workflow at your Restaurant:  a Daily Restaurant Manager Checklist

October 28, 2019


Any restaurant manager needs to perform some functions in his restaurant on a daily basis, in order to offset the chaos, track the performance of employees, and deliver the best customer service. Thus, comes the need for a daily restaurant management checklist that helps managers make sure that the work has been done and ensure proper restaurants’ operations.

What Is a Daily Restaurant Manager Checklist?

A daily restaurant manager checklist is a document that managers use to ensure essential management tasks are accomplished from opening to closing and to check off daily staff change and operational tasks. You could simply build it in Microsoft Excel, then print and place it on a clipboard.

A manager has to be present when opening and closing the restaurant because he/she is responsible for all activities that occur in the restaurant. Thus, a manager has to create a simple restaurant manager checklist related to his/her daily duties that cover three sections; opening, shift change, and closing.


Restaurant Manager’s Opening Checklist:

The purpose of the restaurant manager’s checklist is to make sure that the restaurant has everything it needs to work during the day. The manager must show up at the restaurant before anyone else and begin to open the business before the rest of the staff arrives.

Restaurant manager’s checklist could include:

  • Equipment Inspection: Walk inside and out of the restaurant to check for any damage or equipment failure during the closing hours.
  • Reservations: Check the reservations the customer made for the day.
  • Restrooms: Personally check restrooms to ensure that they are clean and fully stocked before opening the restaurant.
  • Reception:  Ensure that the reception area is clean.
  • Menus: Make sure the menus are cleared, cleaned and ready in the host stand. If you offer digital menus on guests’ portable tablets, make sure the tablets are clean and placed at the bar.
  • POS & the cash register: Unlock the cash register and add the opening cash. Turn on POS and verify that no transactions have happened since closing the previous day. Check with the kitchen and enter any daily specials in the POS.
  • Sales Reports: Review cash flows and manager’s notes from the previous day. According to the previous day’s sales report, project sales for that specific day.
  • Inventory inspection: Coordinate with the executive chef and the bartender to review inventory evaluating reports and find out the available stock of food and beverage, and whether it is enough for a whole day or not. Order additional inventory if necessary.
  • Messages: Check the restaurant’s voicemail and emails to see if any require an immediate response. Your restaurant manager checklist should include a specific person to make follow up calls for reservations or orders (it could be the manager or another staff member). reply to all the emails that the restaurant has received.
  • Messages & Emails: Check restaurant voicemail and emails to immediately respond when needed. There should be a particular person to reply to the calls for reservations or orders and this person may be the manager or another employee.
  • Kitchen Prep Sheet: Ensure that all employees are on duty and that kitchen staff is completing their kitchen prep sheet for the day.
  • Staff Uniforms & Appearance: Make sure that every employee follows your uniform policy, particularly those from front-of-the-house staff.


Restaurant Manager’s Shift Change Checklist:

Often, shift change is the toughest part of the restaurant manager’s day. The staff come and go while customers are still ordering. Accordingly, the restaurant manager’s shift changes checklist ensures that employees’ transition goes smoothly. It usually combines some elements from opening and closing checklists; however, it should be separated from them.

If there are two managers of your restaurant, then, when they change shifts, the first manager must complete all his duties so that the next manager would be able to run the restaurant’s operations and perform his tasks as mentioned in the restaurant management checklist smoothly. Moreover, the first manager must also provide the next manager with all the necessary information. For instance, he shall notify him if there are any tables’ reservations in the restaurant later in the day, if the inventory runs out of a particular item, or if a particular employee had left the floor for any reason.

Providing all this information will help the next manager in making the right decisions so that the restaurant will run smoothly during peak hours of the day.

Restaurant manager’s shift change checklist could include:

  • Arrival times: Make sure that all employees arrive on time for the second shift
  • Messages & Emails: Assign 5 minutes to check email and voicemail of your restaurant.
  • Kitchen Prep Sheet: Ensure that the first shift kitchen staff have finished their daily food prep list. Check these lists at every station.
  • Cleanliness Check: Assign another 5 minutes to check the restrooms, reception area, and the bar to make sure that everything is cleaned and well-stocked.


Restaurant Manager’s Closing Checklist:

Managers shall complete specific tasks at the start of the day; similarly, they have some tasks that they must complete at the end of the day as well. The restaurant manager’s closing checklist helps you make sure that all closing tasks are done before the doors are closed.

Restaurant manager’s closing checklist could include:

  • Inventory Inspection: Check the inventory to ensure that the kitchen and bar are fully stocked for the next day. Review with the kitchen staff to make sure that food is stored due to the instructions in the food prep sheet. Follow up with the executive chef and the bartender to Check the amount of stock used and the stock available to determine if the stock available is enough or not. If the inventory is not enough, order the required amount for the next day.
  • Cleanliness Check: Follow a cleaning tasks list so that cleaning would end quickly and smoothly in order to reduce labor costs.
  • Sales Report & Analysis: look at the detailed sales report at the end of the day. You shall also compare the closing stock to the sales for the day to find if there are any misappropriations happening in the restaurant, given that you have already recorded the opening stock.
  • Safety: Make sure that all equipment (ovens, gas stoves, and heaters) is turned off. In addition, lock all the doors.
  • Financial Review: Review the details of previous sales and address any outstanding checks or orders. Save money in a safe place. Count the register. In addition, count tips and allocate them appropriately.


You shall know that every restaurant differs from the others. This checklist is a good start; nevertheless, you have to conduct a comprehensive analysis of your restaurant’s daily duties and tasks to customize the daily restaurant manager checklist that suits your business.