A smoothly running restaurant requires great attention to detail. Restaurant management consulting firms advocate using checklists of opening and closing duties for the different restaurant personnel and food service departments. Daily tasks may vary according to the nature of the restaurant, but standard checklists should be adapted to fit the particular dining establishment. Efficient adherence to opening and closing procedures ensures that needed supplies are available, the atmosphere is pleasing to customers, and time and money are not wasted.

Opening Restaurant Manager's Responsibilities

Upon arrival, the restaurant manager should check for broken windows or other signs of burglary. If none is apparent, she unlocks doors, turns on the lights and disarms the alarm system. Next, she checks that closing tasks were completed and scans the manager's log for incidents and information from the night before. She makes sure all equipment is functioning, especially refrigerators, freezers and stoves.

Incoming food supply orders must be checked for accuracy, and inventory levels have to be assessed. She is responsible for overseeing arriving employees, ensuring that they are dressed properly, assigning side work duties for the shift and giving an informational and energizing pep talk before opening. After that, she unlocks the entrance and welcomes the first guests.

Closing Restaurant Manager's Responsibilities

In most establishments, opening and closing duties are performed by different managers. As closing time nears, the manager checks with the kitchen to ensure that all food orders have been completed and verify that all side work has been done satisfactorily. He locks the main door after all guests have departed.

Next, he counts the day's receipts, sends the credit card report, records daily sales information and locks all financial materials in the safe. After filling out the manager's log with information for the opening manager, he locks all doors, sets the alarm system and turns out the lights.

Servers' Side Work

In most restaurants, the wait staff has duties beyond serving food. This side work may include cleaning, restocking and even plating food in the kitchen. Before opening, all tables in a server's area must be inspected for cleanliness, function (no wobbling) and supplies. Condiment containers that are running low are refilled. Dishwashers and coffee machines must be turned on.

At the end of the early shift, some restaurants require the servers leaving to have their time cards initialed by the late shift to ensure that all the work is not left for the end. Those on duty at closing time must remove condiments from the tables and refrigerate them. Servers are expected to clean tables and chairs with appropriate chemicals, as well as wiping off menus and refrigerator shelves.