5 Things to Check Before Closing a Restaurant

By Brian Harris

sorry-we-re-closed.jpgPhoto by Nick Papakyriazis

What should be on your checklist before leaving? Here are five important things to remember every night before closing:

1. Clean up. No really...CLEAN IT

The first and most important part to closing up a restaurant is to make sure that all the kitchens, equipment, cutlery, and glassware are clean. If there’s a mishap in the morning—weather related or otherwise—and the opening shift doesn’t have time to clean up, your customers could walk into last night’s mess. Don’t just spot clean. A clean floor is indicative of a clean environment, so sweep, mop, and vacuum as needed.

 2. Stock up for tomorrow

Server stations quite easily become the messiest areas of your restaurant. In quick-service and fast-casual restaurants, server stations are self-serve stations. Customers don’t typically treat this area like their own kitchen counters. Whether it holds condiments like ketchup and mustard, or cups and other utensils, the server station should be fully stocked at the end of the night.

3. Check bathrooms

First off, this is a standard safety issue. You want to make sure everyone has exited the restaurant. You can’t be too careful to check your premises thoroughly before locking the door. Then make sure that the bathroom is re-stocked with toilet paper, paper towels, and soap. Customers often measure the cleanliness of a restaurant by the bathroom, and having a spotless bathroom can make a customer feel more “at home.” I’m more likely to remember extraordinarily clean bathrooms, but I definitely remember those that were gross.

4. Garbage

The garbage is the next thing to check before closing up shop. Clean up around the wastepaper basket, and make sure that all the trash bags have been removed to the dumpster. Remove the kitchen garbage for sanitation and to prevent odors.

5. Check entrance/exit points. When locked, audit cash.

Check that the building has been locked down properly. When it has, collect all cash and prepare all deposits. Click here for more on developing a proper cash auditing process. Before leaving, double check that all the doors and windows are locked.

Bonus tip: Monitor exceptions. It’s impossible to be everywhere at once, especially in franchised operations. When we talked about opening your restaurant for business, we included auditing for compliance. Now, we can take it a step further. With a tool like Zenput, you can actually receive a notification when one or more of these tasks is not being completed or is not being properly executed. Hold employees accountable for closing tasks. Address what’s not getting done and where. Also take the opportunity to reward employees for dedication at the end of a long night. It’s possible to gain this level of insight with the right tools.

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