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A Guide to the Most Effective Restaurant Closing Checklist

the zip checklist guide to closing your restaurant with a restaurant closing checklist
Daphne Blake

By Daphne Blake

How to Avoid Any Dips in Customer Service with Proper Hospitality Management

Even a high-quality restaurant with a sub-par closing checklist and system can quickly spiral out of control. Learn what makes closing such a critical component of your restaurant’s organization, and find that closing tasks become easier to manage with the Restaurant Closing Checklist.

Closing is the best time to circle back and solve any problems discovered or caused during the day, as the restaurant is winding down and the kitchen does not have to stay as ruthlessly efficient. As customers trickle out, your staff is free to take care of other responsibilities to return the restaurant to a clean state for the next day.

Why It’s Important

An ineffective restaurant closing checklist can result in starting each day with a list of things to fix, adding to the jobs of opening staff. If your closing system doesn’t include basic quality assurance standards tasks, necessary items can be accidentally skipped over if not double-checked at closing. With Zip Checklist, you will never lose track of the day-to-day responsibilities of your restaurant and can easily see who was negligent in completing their tasks. Closing tasks round out a long day of tiring work, so seeing which of your employees dutifully complete their assigned closing tasks, and which aren’t motivated enough to do so, can be a useful metric. With that information, you can assess employee performance, as well as who to give more important closing tasks to in the future.

Breaking Down Each Task

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Closing requires a carefully designed daily restaurant closing checklist, to make sure your restaurant is clean and ready for the next day without putting too much burden on any single employee. An especially important part of closing is handling money because closing is one of the most likely times for attempted robbery. Because of this, closing should always be a two-person job at minimum.

Regarding leaving a valuable establishment, safety is paramount. When all other closing tasks are done, all back exits and windows have been closed and locked, and your employees are ready to close the restaurant, the first employee exits through the front, checking for any obvious security threats, then drives or walks to a safe location in sight of the exit. Then the rest of the employees, whether one or a group, turn off any non-essential electronics, check that the alarm is set, and exit and lock the door securely, double-checking that the lock is not only applied but tightly shut. The first employee keeps careful watch over the second employee or group of employees to ensure they are not in any danger. If they are, the first employee calls the police and documents the incident. If not, the first employee rejoins the group, and they leave at the same time.

Money Handling

Money should be handled carefully inside the restaurant too. Your restaurant closing checklist should include settling your credit card machines and preparing any deposits for opening the next day. If your restaurant is in the realm of casual or quick-service and thus uses registers, close and count all registers with an employee and a manager. The manager makes sure the amount of money counted from the till balances with the amount that should be there. If it is not balanced, the manager should make a note, and Zip Checklist can provide information on who was assigned to work the registers so you can reconcile the issue.


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Another as important task is cleaning. The vast majority of closing tasks fall under this category, as a clean and tidy workplace is preparation for the next day’s opening. It is crucial to, among other things, mop the floors, empty the trash bins, clean and clear all the tables, clean and return all of the dishes to their proper place, and make sure the bathrooms are cleaned and restocked. While in the bathroom, have Zip Checklist alert your employee to check for any straggling customers, as locking someone in can cause all manner of problems.

Both front and back cleaning jobs are both important to complete, as one side’s neatness determines the comfort and satisfaction of the customer, while the sanitation of the other side determines the health of the customers. It is helpful, however, to batch related tasks with the same employee, so you don’t needlessly waste your staff’s time moving between places.

In the kitchen, make sure to thoroughly drain and sanitize the dishwashing area, as leftover bacteria can easily become a problem there. All prep stations should also be wiped down and sanitized for the same reason.

On the front side, customer needed items should be cleaned or replenished. This includes menus, the dirtiest surfaces in your restaurant. Condiment bottles, napkin holders, and saltshakers should all be wiped off and refilled as needed before being returned to their holding place overnight. The floors should also be mopped and swept to protect from any unsightly build-ups of waste in the dining area.

Inventory Checking

It is additionally imperative to include checking inventory in a restaurant closing checklist. The closing manager, whether you or a different manager, should make notes in Zip Checklist for vendor orders. With Zip Checklist, it is simple to communicate effectively between staff members and get the most accurate, needed order to vendors. While checking inventory, the employee should also ensure that all items that are properly refrigerated or frozen, as necessary. They should also check to confirm that all refrigerators and freezers are sealed tight.

Trying For Perfection

No restaurant closing checklist is perfect, but all should continue to strive for perfection. The tighter your cleanup procedure is, the more likely you are to retain momentum between closing and opening. Proper closing procedures managed through efficient systems, such as Zip Checklist, ensure that your restaurant stays organized and ready to provide customers with quality service. If your workplace isn’t completely cleaned and your items are not returned to their proper place at the end of the day, then your opening staff is not set up for success. The worst cases can turn into vicious cycles, with opening and closing teams always playing catch-up that can spell disaster for your restaurant. Avoid this with clean, simple organization in a system you can trust to automate these checklists, so you never need worry. With Zips Restaurant Closing Checklist, even closing can be a cinch.

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