restaurant closing checklist
by Laura-Andreea Voicu

If you haven’t created a restaurant closing checklist yet, you’re missing out. Instead of chaotically delegating tasks and having to stay overtime to close the restaurant, organize closing tasks based on responsibilities and the people in charge of them.

This will streamline your operations, increase customer satisfaction, and keep employees happy. Below, we’ve prepared a closing restaurant checklist that can keep you focused and organized.

Restaurant Closing Checklist

Clear closing procedures for a restaurant can help get yourself and your team more organized, so that everybody knows what their responsibilities are, and everything is ready to go for the next day.

Typically, you would delegate separate restaurant closing checklists to different people in the team, including yourself as the manager and other staff members. However, it all depends on how large your team is and how many tasks you have to accomplish at the end of the day.

Without further ado, let’s look at the main areas that need attention when closing a restaurant for the evening, as well as some tasks that would typically fall on the managers’ shoulders.

Restaurant kitchen closing checklist

  • Clean, disinfect, and store all pots and pans, smallware, glassware, cooking utensils, etc.
  • Wash uniforms, aprons, towels, and rags
  • Empty the dishwasher and washing machine
  • Clean and sanitize cooking surfaces, prep areas, grills, flattops, cutting boards, ranges, line stations, and walls
  • Change fryer oil
  • Empty, clean, and disinfect the trash cans and recycling bins
  • Check the temperature of the fridges and freezers, and make sure they’re shut and locked
  • Ensure all appliances and equipment are turned off
  • Prepare the workstations for the next day
  • Vacuum and mop the floors
  • Clean and replace non-slip mats
  • Create the prep list for the next day’s prep cook
  • Turn off the lights

Front-of-house checklist

  • Clean, sanitize, and organize tables and chairs
  • Wash table linens if applicable
  • Flip the chairs on top of the tables
  • Wipe down the menus, wine lists, and checkbooks
  • Empty, clean, and disinfect trashcans if available to dining customers
  • Wipe down the host stand and POS
  • Refill the salt and pepper shakers, sauces, condiments, and napkin dispensers
  • Return equipment, tools, and supplies to their rightful storage area
  • Vacuum and mop the floors
  • Turn off the air conditioning or heating
  • Turn off music
  • Make sure all the lights are turned off

Restrooms closing checklist

  • Clean and disinfect the toilets, sinks, and counters
  • Empty, clean, and disinfect all trashcans
  • Restock the hand soap, toilet paper, and paper towels
  • Clean, disinfect, and restock the staff bathroom
  • Turn off air conditioning, heating, and lights

Bar closing checklist

  • Clean pouring spouts and seal any opened liquor or wine bottles
  • Dispose of the leftover ice
  • Throw away spoiled items
  • Empty, clean, and disinfect the trashcans
  • Wipe down and disinfect the bar
  • Clean and disinfect non-slip mats
  • Clean, polish, and put away the glassware and utensils
  • Wash and sanitize cutting boards
  • Restock drink supplies like sodas, mixers, juices, beer kegs, etc.
  • Replenish canned drinks in the fridge
  • Restock alcohol supplies
  • Restock garnishes for cocktails
  • Organize the bottle display
  • Turn off the bar lights

Restaurant safety checklist

  • Ensure that the kitchen, dining area, bar area, restrooms, and pathways are free of obstacles and hazards to reduce the risk of accidents
  • Inspect fire safety equipment such as sprinklers and fire extinguishers
  • Put away cleaners, chemicals, and sharp objects
  • Fully stock first aid kits
  • Ensure the exit signs are visible and the emergency exits are clear
  • Make sure all the windows are closed
  • Do a final walkthrough to double-check that there are no appliances still running, windows open, and so on
  • Turn off all the lights
  • Lock the doors and make sure the alarm is set and functioning properly

End-of-day finances checklist

  • Count the cash in the cash register and close it
  • Reconcile credit card transactions
  • Check your restaurant analytics for online orders
  • Ensure the daily sales match those recorded in the POS
  • Make sure you have all the receipts and paperwork filed away
  • Store the money in a safe location or prepare a bank deposit for the day’s earnings
  • Make sure the tips are properly distributed
  • Pay bills if any are due
  • Accept any pending table bookings or scheduled online orders for the next day

End-of-day inventory checklist

  • Take inventory of all your stock and supplies in the kitchen and bar
  • Reorder supplies that are running out
  • Restock the kitchen and bar area
  • Restock line stations
  • Store perishables in the fridge or freezer
  • Rotate inventory in the fridge using the first in, first out (FIFO) method
  • Dispose of any spoiled or expired ingredients
  • Make sure the ingredients are all properly labeled and dated
  • Restock kitchen supplies such as parchment paper, foil, and plastic wrap
  • Update your inventory records

Restaurant manager closing checklist

As opposed to a restaurant server closing checklist, which is more or less made up of the tasks mentioned above, a manager’s duties are slightly different:

  • Check that everything is stored properly and all surfaces are cleaned and sanitized
  • Ensure everyone clocked out
  • Create and post staff schedules
  • Answer reviews, emails, and social media posts if you don’t have a dedicated social media person
  • Take care of outstanding paperwork and organize the back office
  • Keep track of your staff’s performance
  • Fill in the manager logbook
  • Shut down any computers and electronics
  • Take care of the financial tasks mentioned above (typically, these fall on the restaurant manager)
  • Schedule any repairs or maintenance work

Closing Time

That concludes our closing checklist for a restaurant. The restaurant manager is typically in charge of delegating these tasks to the team as they see fit while supervising and taking care of their own end-of-day tasks.

Having a detailed, organized restaurant closing checklist ensures your restaurant is up to code, and you and your employees can go home in time and come in the next day knowing everything is in its place.

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Laura-Andreea Voicu
Laura-Andreea Voicu

Laura-Andreea Voicu is an experienced content writer with a knack for marketing and SEO. She creates guides and resources designed to help restaurants grow their presence online and boost sales.

She has been featured on the Oracle Food and Beverage Blog and wrote for Search Engine Journal, Clutch, Sender, Venngage, Quickbooks, and many more.

Find me on LinkedIn.