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How to use an Opening and Closing Checklist template?

Every business in the restaurant industry has its own specifics and items to put on its opening and closing checklist. At FoodDocs, we have created this basic checklist template for you so you can use it as a checklist sample template. 

Follow these steps to use the checklist template:

  1. Familiarize your team with the key areas of your food business. 
  2. List opening and closing tasks under each heading.
  3. Review and add more tasks to the existing template.
  4. Add more rows as needed.
  5. Download the checklist. Enter a valid email address and click on "Download." The checklist will be automatically saved in your downloads folder.

To find more similar templates, check our free HACCP plan template hub, where we have listed all the most needed food safety templates for our customers, including kitchen cleaning checklist, pest management plan, etc.

Make your monitoring tasks more intuitive and smarter using FoodDocs' smart Food Safety Management System. With the help of our innovative software, you can get automatically generated Opening and Closing checklists and more. 

Opening and Closing Checklist

Opening and closing a food business requires comprehensive preparation to ensure preparedness in terms of customer and food safety. 

Your opening and closing routines for your cafe, restaurant, pub, or retail shop are critical jobs of the day. A part of a food business manager's job is to distribute opening and closing tasks to responsible employees and ensure that every task is done accordingly. 

Each section of a food establishment would have significant tasks to be done before and after the operation. The most efficient way to remember every single task is to use a checklist. These documents are considered vital parts of any food safety system, for both documentation and compliance.

In this article, we will introduce our free Opening and Closing Checklist and a more intuitive solution to remembering every task every day

Key points covered:

  1. The opening and closing checklist template is a great document to organize your daily operations, like keeping your food business establishment always clean, organized, and ready for the next day.
  2. This type of checklist is most useful for food service establishments but can be customized for food production and retail operations. 
  3. Our default template contains some of the most common yet important food safety tasks you need to do before and after operations.
  4. Some tasks range from wiping down the working area, sanitizing the bench and all utensils, throwing away the garbage, and setting the alarm before leaving.
  5. Checklist sample tasks are here to prevent human error and ensure food safety compliance. 
  6. FoodDocs' smart Food Safety Management System can generate a digital Opening and Closing Checklist that can be used to monitor the pre- and post-operational duties of your business. 


We have created a free template for an opening and closing duties checklist that is fully customizable. Just replace the words when needed and download them for printing. You can also add or remove the rows before downloading.


What is an opening and closing checklist template?

An opening and closing checklist is a helpful tool containing a list of duties your staff needs to do before opening or after closing the restaurant business.

The list of tasks in this checklist are considered pre-opening and post-operational tasks to keep your food business secured and free of any food safety issues before and after operating. The checklist can be used to achieve the following objectives:

  • For double-checking all the needed activities to ensure a smooth operation.
  • Promote an efficient workday for all the staff and to be fully ready for the customer experience.
  • Opening and closing checklists can also keep staff accountable for their designated tasks

You can use our free opening and closing checklist template by downloading it and distributing it to your food safety team. 

Get a more intuitive solution to ensure your team checks out all the boxes for opening and closing operations with the help of FoodDocs' smart Food Safety Management System. Our intuitive software can generate a digital monitoring checklist for opening and closing your food business. 

You can access this monitoring task through our food safety app, which is compatible with any mobile device. Pair this monitoring task with our intuitive notification system, which alerts food handlers, reminding them of critical food safety tasks. 

In addition, our system can accommodate customizations to help you make checklists for food handlers, managers, kitchen staff, and food servers.

Who needs opening and closing checklists?

A proper daily closing checklist and a daily opening checklist are always useful for your company. It reminds your establishment staff of their responsibilities around the business operations area.

An opening and closing checklist would be useful for food businesses, such as the following:

  • Food service (e.g., restaurants, bars, and cloud kitchens)
  • Food retail
  • Food manufacturing
  • Food institutions
  • Mobile food service

A larger food business team focuses more on concrete working processes and has its operations guide compiled in an operations manual. In larger businesses, like restaurant chains or retail businesses, opening and closing checklists are often standardized. It means the checklists are exactly the same for all locations to maintain a consistent brand image.

A checklist with procedures is not meant only for waitresses or hostesses; it's as useful for your restaurant manager, house staff, chef, kitchen and bar manager, cooks, and cleaning team.

Checklists are an essential tool to motivate and keep good staff accountability. Checklist items are concrete forms to show the expectations to your whole team. With this, there will be no misunderstandings between your staff members about daily tasks. 

What are the benefits of having an opening and closing procedures checklist?

No matter the size of the business or the type of business model, opening and closing checklists are always useful and have several benefits.

1. Training your employees. Clear and well-prepared opening and closing checklist templates present a great help in training food handlers. They provide a clear outline of daily tasks and procedures, helping new hires learn their responsibilities quickly.

2. Promotes consistency and efficiency. A checklist ensures that essential tasks are consistently performed, reducing the risk of errors and oversights. Having an opening and closing checklist ensures that standard restaurant operations are performed every day. Staff can complete tasks more quickly, saving time and resources.

3. Cost saving. Checklists can help businesses ensure cost effectiveness by optimizing equipment and fixtures. Switching off the lights, heating, ensuring clean faucets, or doing routine security procedures like turning on the security alarm system can be more important than you can imagine.

4. Helps to ensure food safety. Having a proper opening and closing checklist template helps to ensure food safety and prevent foodborne illnesses. Following procedures on a checklist can help reduce or control food safety hazard risks

5. Compliance with regulations. Checklists help ensure all regulatory and safety requirements are met, reducing the risk of violations, fines, or legal issues. A checklist can help food businesses maintain compliance and prepare for food safety audits

6. Documentation and accountability. Checklists provide a documented record of tasks completed during opening and closing. This documentation can be useful for internal audits, compliance checks, and health inspections. They can also be used to trace sources of food safety concerns and facilitate coordination among team members.

For start-up businesses, start a culture of good handling practices. This can be done by adding business startup checklists with simple tasks such as bar cleaning duties, a routine for cleaning surfaces and maintaining clean floors, and inventory for essential materials such as paper towels, clean containers, clean towels, and safety equipment.

Create a flexible opening and closing checklist with FoodDocs. With the help of our smart Food Safety Software, you can get an automatically generated monitoring checklist that you can further customize to fit your operations. Create checklists that specifically cater to kitchen areas, service sections, bars, and food sanitation with the help of our customizable system. 

What should an opening and closing checklist include?

An opening and closing checklist is a simple tool that can be tailored to a particular section of a food business. For food service, sections such as the kitchen, service area, bars, and offices would all have different opening and closing tasks. 

Below, we list down some of the most common opening and closing tasks for the different sections and employees of a food business:
  1. Opening and closing checklist for restaurant templates
  2. Restaurant manager opening and closing checklist
  3. Kitchen opening and closing checklist template
  4. Opening and closing checklist for restaurant servers

Use the tasks we listed to improve your opening and closing checklist using our customizable free template. 

Opening and closing checklist for restaurant templates

A restaurant is a type of food service establishment that consists of several day-to-day operations. Some of these tasks are specific to food service and require attention to detail to ensure accurate execution. 

Below is a general guideline for what a common restaurant checklist should include. Keep in mind that you should adapt it to your restaurant's unique requirements:

Restaurant opening checklist:
  • Check the exterior for cleanliness.
  • Ensure outdoor signage and lighting are working.
  • Check the cleanliness of the dining area, including tables, chairs, and floors.
  • Confirm that the lighting and music systems are working.
  • Ensure proper temperature and ventilation.
  • Replenish consumables and tabletop necessities, such as tissues and toothpicks. 
  • Assign specific tasks to staff members (e.g., opening bartender, host/hostess, servers).
  • Ensure staff uniforms are clean and presentable.
  • Check for any maintenance issues.
  • Double-check security measures, such as security cameras. 
Restaurant closing checklist:
  • Clear and clean tables.
  • Vacuum or sweep floors.
  • Reset tables for the next day.
  • Clean and sanitize restrooms.
  • Restock supplies.
  • Clean and sanitize the bar area.
  • Secure outdoor seating and equipment.
  • Lock doors and windows.
  • Assign closing tasks to staff members.
  • Ensure all staff members have completed their tasks before leaving.

Restaurant manager opening and closing checklist

Opening and closing checklist is not always only for restaurant employees. It's also a perfect tool for a restaurant manager to keep all operational tasks organized.

Some important items in a Restaurant Manager Duties Checklist include:

Restaurant manager opening checklist:
  • Set an agenda and arrange a staff meeting.
  • Review menu items with the kitchen team.
  • Explain daily specials to staff and explain allergens.
  • Taste menu items with the staff to ensure the highest food quality.
  • Answer emails and respond to reviews and social media posts.
  • Review reservations.
  • Ensure your team has all checklists, like the restaurant kitchen cleaning checklist.
  • Make sure the dining room, together with the guest and employee bathrooms, is tidy, filled with toilet paper, and ready for the customers.
  • Make sure restaurant cleaning supplies are away from the dining area.
  • Check the table settings and the cleanness of table linens.
  • Check if there are any other critical tasks.
  • Assign specific tasks to staff members (opening bartender, host/hostess, servers, etc.).
  • Confirm that staff uniforms are clean, presentable, and compliant with dress code policies.
Restaurant manager closing checklist:
  • Review staff schedule for the next day.
  • Review the sales reports and daily sales goals.
  • Review the cash register drawers.
  • Check the food safety task fulfillment.
  • Check restaurant cleaning checklists have been completed.
  • Make sure all equipment is switched off.
  • Double-check inventory for food and cleaning materials.
  • Perform security procedures.
  • Make a list of tomorrow's tasks in the manager log book.
  • Include notes on staff performance.
  • Document any issues or incidents that occurred during the shift.
  • Complete any required paperwork.

This checklist provides a foundation for restaurant managers to ensure the smooth and efficient operation of their establishments. Restaurant manager tasks focus more on administrative tasks and the distribution of effective operations. 

Kitchen opening and closing checklist template

Kitchen operations also need a document to remember all the needed simple tasks. The kitchen team is usually the first to arrive in the morning for all the preparations that need to be done in the kitchen before the day starts. That's why kitchen opening tasks are important to list and make available for the whole team.

Below are some of the tasks for your kitchen checklist.

Kitchen opening checklist:
  • Check if food preparations are according to the prep list.
  • Perform staff tasting.
  • Fill the ingredients for kitchen stations.
  • Confirm that refrigerators and freezers are at the correct temperatures.
  • Follow food safety standards in all your activities.
  • Complete all needed safety measures.
  • Clean all food contact surfaces and cooking equipment.
  • Keep away all cleaning materials from the working station.
  • Ensure that all cooking utensils are sanitized before use.
  • Review and enforce proper food safety and hygiene practices among kitchen staff. This includes the proper dress code. 
  • Ensure the availability of handwashing supplies.
Kitchen closing checklist:
  • Put perishable food items inside the fridge.
  • Properly label and store all leftover ingredients and prepared food.
  • Confirm that refrigerators and freezers are securely closed and set at the correct temperatures.
  • Put all cooking utensils back on their respective racks.
  • Clean glassware and other kitchen tools.
  • Refill condiment bottles such as pepper shakers.
  • Clean and sanitize kitchen floors and all food contact surfaces.
  • Clean refrigerator coils.
  • Make sure that walk-in refrigerator doors are closed.
  • Make sure waste disposal is done properly, like kitchen trash bins have been emptied.
  • Confirm receipt of documents for incoming deliveries.
  • Assign closing tasks to kitchen staff and ensure they are completed.
  • Conduct a final walkthrough to verify task completion.

Kitchen opening and closing checklists mostly focus on maintaining cleanliness and sanitation in the working area. The checklist must also ensure that all ingredients are safe and well-stocked for the next shift. 

Opening and closing checklist for restaurant servers

Food servers refer to employees working at the front-of-the-house section of an establishment. Tasks assigned to food servers depend on their section, such as the dining area, which involves preparing the tables and reception. Opening and closing shifts require proper distribution of day-to-day tasks

Here is a list of tasks that should be included in a server checklist.

Opening checklist for restaurant servers:
  • Check your name tag and ensure it's visible.
  • Follow the proper dress code.
  • Verify that your designated section is clean and set up with clean utensils, napkins, and any necessary items.
  • Ensure tables are properly arranged and sanitized.
  • Review the menu to stay informed about daily specials, ingredients, and any changes.
  • Familiarize yourself with any allergy or dietary restriction information.
  • Complete any assigned side work or side duties (e.g., rolling silverware, restocking condiments).
  • Check and restock server stations with essentials like straws, napkins, and order forms.
  • Attend any pre-shift meetings or briefings.
  • Communicate with the kitchen and bartenders about any menu changes or customer requests.
  • Handle checks and payments accurately and efficiently.
  • Process credit card payments securely. 
Closing checklist for restaurant servers:
  • Remove dirty dishes and clear tables promptly.
  • Reset tables for the next guests.
  • Share any relevant feedback or special requests with the kitchen or management.
  • Document any incidents or issues in the server log.
  • Ensure your section is clean and orderly.
  • Restock any consumed supplies.
  • Attend any end-of-shift meetings or briefings.
  • Hand over any relevant information to the incoming shift.
  • Sign the closing checklist. 

The set of tasks we provided are basic operations for food servers. Use these tasks to improve your opening and closing checklists. 

How to digitize opening and closing checklist templates with FoodDocs?

Checklists are vital tools for any food business. The problem is using paper checklists increases the probability of tampering, lost files, required space, and other technical issues. The checklist information may be critical proof of food safety compliance in your business and must always be kept secure. 

Switch to a more intuitive and secure solution with FoodDocs' smart Food Safety Management System

Using our AI-powered software, you can get the following benefits and features:
  1. Opening and closing checklist for monitoring daily operations
  2. Customizable system for tailoring checks to operations
  3. Real-time overview for overviewing entire operations

Opening and closing checklist for monitoring daily operations

Elevate your monitoring standards and ensure uncompromised operations with our automatically generated Opening and Closing Checklist

Seamlessly monitor every aspect of your restaurant's opening and closing routines, from equipment checks to cleanliness protocols, in one digital checklist.


Opening and Closing Checklist from FoodDocs software

Use the pre-uploaded tasks on this monitoring checklist and add specific opening and closing operations based on your restaurant duties. You can create separate checklists for servers, kitchen staff, managers, and bartenders. 

Our Opening and Closing Checklist was created to provide a digital solution to using paper-based checklists, which are prone to errors. Access the checklist through any mobile device using our convenient Food Safety App. You can also attach photos to this checklist to make your reports more comprehensive and detailed. 

Customizable system for tailoring checks to operations

At FoodDocs, we understand the differences in operations of food service establishments, production companies, and retail stores. As such, we made our monitoring checks flexible and open to customizations

Take the Opening and Closing Checklist as an example. You can tailor or customize the operations for opening a production business and change the pre-uploaded tasks. Specify key areas in your business and list critical pre- and post-operational tasks using our smart solutions. 

Real-time overview for overviewing entire operations

Manage your operations with the help of our smart Food Safety Management System. When you use our smart software, you can get a real-time dashboard that gives you a quick overview of your food safety operations.


Real-time dashboard from FoodDocs software

The dashboard shows which food safety tasks are filled correctly and which ones had issues during execution. It will give you a clear report of checklist completions. This feature is a perfect tool for managers and their pre-and post-operational checks in their food businesses.

Immediately identify areas that need to be addressed before a shift starts and ensure that the business complies with regulations as you operate.

Save at least 20% of your time from supervising your team by using this feature. Optimize your management strategies for monitoring food safety compliance. 

Make opening and closing your business more efficient with the help of our digital solutions. Use our digital monitoring tasks and checks to streamline your processes and ensure food safety compliance without filling up several paper forms.

Switch to our smart solutions by answering a few basic questions about your operations. With the help of artificial intelligence, our system can generate a comprehensive monitoring program for you in just an average of 15 minutes. 

You can use all generated monitoring checks to ensure food safety before opening and closing your business. 

Book a free one-on-one demo call with our team to learn more how can FoodDocs help your food business.


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