The Top 8 Restaurant Checklists Your Team Needs

intelligent checklists help keep restaurants efficient, organized, and up to code

Staying organized is key to success in the restaurant business. Especially when you’re running multiple outlets and managers or franchisees to carry out tasks to your high standards every day.

Restaurant checklists help keep employees organized, focused, and motivated to stay on top of their daily tasks. But there’s more to restaurant checklists than ticking off daily chores. Intelligent checklists help keep restaurants efficient and up to code.

Let’s take a look at the different types of restaurant checklists and how they can help you exceed brand standards, stay compliant, and boost profitability.

The Essential Restaurant Checklists

The idea of implementing checklists in a restaurant is not new. But these days, digital checklists are allowing restaurants to take accountability, engagement, and reporting to a new level. 

They allow brands to use gamification with their checklists to make mundane tasks more interesting and improve restaurant employee engagement. And they offer real-time visibility across locations to ensure brand standards and consistency are rigorously maintained.

Let’s look at the most important checklists in each category and why they are essential in the modern restaurant.

Safety & Compliance 

Safety and compliance are non-negotiable in a restaurant. Restaurants must legally abide by local health standards, so meticulously organizing food safety procedures is a no-brainer. 

A foodborne illness outbreak could be the end of a restaurant brand with lives potentially at risk, or at best, a PR disaster.

Traditionally, pen and paper lists are used, but these can get dirty or lost in a busy kitchen and cooks have been known to “pencil whip” lists, making up the numbers and ticking boxes to quickly complete the paperwork.

A digital checklist makes the process easy and more likely to be completed correctly. It also gives managers the visibility to check the logs have been completed at any time, which avoids pencil-whipping.

Here are three essential checklists to ensure food safety standards and regulatory compliance:

1. Food Heating & Cooling Logs

The risk of an outbreak of foodborne illness is at its highest when food is being heated and cooled, as it goes through the temperature danger zone where bacteria multiply fastest. 

To ensure safe food handling, cooks are required to log the internal temperature of foods to confirm they get to a safe temperature before being served or stored.

2. Equipment Temperature Logs 

It is vital that fridges and freezers maintain a constant temperature within a safe range for proper food storage. Food that is out of a safe range may spoil or even pose a serious health risk. And a freezer breakdown could cost thousands of dollars in spoiled food. 

Taking temperatures regularly on temperature logs allows you to see if a piece of equipment has a problem before it's too late. These days, digital temperature sensors can be hooked up to your system to constantly monitor the temperature and alert you if a fridge or freezer goes out of a safe range. On a smart system, digital temperature logs are automatically filled out using data from the sensors.

3. Sanitation Procedures

Everyday sanitation procedures are essential for any well-run restaurant, yet they are some of the most tedious tasks for store-level employees. 

Checklists help ensure that sanitation procedures are followed on a schedule and completed every single day. With digital checklists, you can monitor the progress and allow employees to upload images of tasks to ensure brand standards are met. 

Digital checklists can also help the tasks feel less tedious and more interactive for the employees, facilitating gamification like creating store-by-store competitions for the best completion rate. The friendly sense of competition is a strong motivator to get employees more engaged in their everyday tasks.

Loss Prevention

It goes without saying that securing your cash is a priority at any restaurant. The unfortunate truth is that no matter how careful you are at vetting candidates, theft can happen. So you must put in measures to prevent it. You also want to know exactly what you have on-site to mitigate external security threats and for accountability.

If all your employees know that cash is counted, they are far less likely to risk pinching any of it. Make rigorous cash and drawer counts part of the daily routine to minimize the risk of losing your hard-earned cash.

4. Safe & Drawer Counts

Digital safe and drawer counts are foolproof and more interactive for employees. They take the employee through a series of tasks to ensure the count is accurate. 

Note: The temperature logs and automatic sensors are relevant to loss prevention too. They help to keep your inventory stored safely and ensure equipment is not being tampered with. 

Preventative Maintenance

Proactive maintenance of your facilities and equipment is essential to identify and fix issues before they become major problems that affect operations. The traditional approach is paper walkthrough lists and cleaning and maintenance schedules.

Modern restaurant systems keep all the maintenance and cleaning records and schedules on one central system so that they are easily accessible to those that need them. It’s easy to view when the last service or repair was carried out and to run reports on the equipment that needs to be looked at.

5. Facilities Walkthrough 

A regular facilities walkthrough ensures that any problems with equipment are picked up early so they can be dealt with. The problem though is that when employees are not engaged in the work, they get bored of the repetitive procedure and make mistakes.

Smarter digital walkthrough checklists make the process more engaging and easier to complete for the employee. Conditional logic and photos can be used to gamify the most mundane of tasks so that employees are focused with an eagle eye on the details.

6. Deep Cleaning & Maintenance Schedules

Regular cleaning and maintenance of facilities and equipment prevent a lot of common problems from occurring in the first place. Just like with sanitation procedures, a digital schedule adds accountability to the process as managers can easily see who performed the task and if it was carried out properly. 

Brand Standards

Every successful multi-unit restaurant brand is looking for consistency in food quality, service, and cleanliness across locations. Regional managers who can’t be present at every location all the time need to know that kitchens, dining rooms, and bathrooms are in compliance with brand standards every day.

Digital checklists enable visibility across locations not possible before. Managers can see if checklists have been completed remotely and even get a visual check when staff members add photos to tasks.

7. Brand Audits 

Regional managers carry out audits to check the restaurant is meeting brand standards. Tasks can be assigned to employees and tracked in real-time. Digital checklists even allow managers to review photos to visually confirm brand standards.

Brand audits are especially important when opening new stores to ensure they are up to scratch from the beginning. With digital brand audit checklists, you can track progress in the countdown to opening day with scheduled lists and tasks to ensure a successful opening.

8. Daily Operational Lists

Opening and closing checklists have long been essential to ensure restaurants are set up for success, and just as important, that everything is closed down and cleaned properly after service. Digital daily checklists add accountability as completion rates can be compared to see which locations are performing best and which locations may be underperforming.

In addition to opening and closing lists, sidework checklists tailored to each position help to codify the small jobs that are second nature to experienced staff. This is crucial for onboarding new staff, giving them a reference list to work from.

Restaurant Checklists Provide Visibility, Transparency, and Consistency at Every Location

Restaurant checklists have long been used to ensure tasks are completed every single day. Digital checklists offer even more accountability and consistency with features like the ability to add photos to tasks and compare completion rates at different locations.

Not only do digital checklists allow regional managers visibility to ensure brand standards are being maintained, but the ability to gamify tasks also keeps staff engaged for better completion rates throughout the business. 

To see how much of a difference digital checklists can make for your business, get started with Blanket today.

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