How to create a restaurant checklist in 8 easy steps

Want to create a restaurant checklist that ensures nothing is missed? Check out our guide that outlines 8 easy steps to create a comprehensive restaurant checklist for your team. Improve efficiency, productivity, and guest experience with a well-organised checklist.
Caroline Joyce
Apr 2023
4 min read

Working in the fast-paced food service industry can be challenging. With so much to do each day, it’s easy for something to slip through the cracks. That’s where checklists come in.

A restaurant checklist helps the work day run smoothly—teams know what to do and managers know its done.

What is a restaurant checklist?

A restaurant checklist is a tool used to define all the daily tasks and safety procedures that need to be completed during the workday.

Checklists can help improve daily operations, team training, food safety, cleanliness, and customer experience. Checklists can also be used by managers to quickly identify and resolve issues that may be impact the business.

How to create a restaurant checklist

  1. First things first, decide what your checklist is going to be used for. Do you need it for general purposes or do you have specific goals?
  2. Brainstorm a list of tasks to include in the checklist. Involve the person who will be doing the checks as this will help make sure nothing gets missed. And it can help reinforce accountability.
  3. Create your checklist items based on these tasks.
  4. Include photos as references to help the person doing the checks better identify what to look for.

    Top tip: Keep your checklist short and sweet—a general rule of thumb that many experts agree on is to limit your list to 6/10 items.
  5. Decide on the format of your checklist—for example, choose between a paper or digital checklist, PDF or excel.
  6. Use a restaurant checklist template to help you get started—you can edit it to meet your needs.

    Top tip: Make the checklist easy to use. A good user experience can help embed checklists into routine practice.
  7. Once you’ve created the checklist, test and iterate the list.

Make sure to keep updating the checklist, especially when there are changes in the restaurant.

Ready to create your restaurant checklist template? Let’s do this.

Restaurant checklist templates

Restaurant checklist pdf

Creating a restaurant checklist PDF is super easy. It will take you less than 5 minutes, simply carry out the following steps:

  1. Open Word/Google Docs
  2. Create a table with 3 columns
  3. The first column will be for your checklist items, the second for your checkbox, and the third for details (this is where your team members can note down if there were any problems with the task).
  4. Next, add your list of tasks into the first column.
  5. Then, export it as a PDF and print.

It’s that simple.

Here's an example of a checklist pdf:

How to create a restaurant checklist in excel

  1. Open excel/Google Sheets
  2. Add your checklist items into the first column (each item should appear on its separate cell)
  3. Next, you need to insert checkboxes into the second column. To do this, first, click on the cell you want the checkbox to appear. Next, go to the Developer tab, then at the controls click on the checkbox.
  4. Copy and paste the checkbox into your other cells by dragging your cursor (from top-left to bottom right) over the cells you wish to copy the checkbox to.
  5. Finally, expand the third column for your details section. To do this, click on top of the column, then hover the cursor over the right hand side of the cell and drag.

Alternatively, you could use a digital restaurant checklist. We have a whole library of digital checklist templates—from food safety to COVID health and safety procedures, check them out! 

The benefits of using a digital restaurant checklist

Make cost and paper savings

Switching to digital means cutting printing, paper and stationery costs. It might not sound like a lot, but all that paper and ink adds up—there’s an environmental cost too.

Digital checklists can also help you make savings on maintenance callouts and insurance premiums.

Discover where you could make savings with our calculator. 

Boost productivity

Too much time is taken up on site with repetitive admin. Digital tasks automate repetitive processes and help teams focus.

Improve compliance

Safety checklists are woven into your team's working day. Teams are prompted to do the right task at the right time, so safety checks become a habit.

Gain total visibility and control

​​Real-time insights and dashboards give head office visibility over multiple sites. Understand where standards are slipping and focus attention where it’s needed most.

“Trail gives me control. I can be certain that stores are doing the right checks and that they are up to date.” Sioned Hatcher, Safety & Risk Manager

Train teams

You can add training videos and materials to tasks, so new starters can get up to speed quickly, and everyone knows exactly what to do. Job satisfaction improves. Everyone’s happy.

Trail has 100s of best practise customisable templates created from over 100,000,000 tasks completed on Trail. Check them out!

What customers are saying

"I f****** love Trail, it's taking my businesses to the next level."
Josh Paterson
"We rarely provide training to our guys, they just bought into the idea straight away. I love that I have a full visual of everyone's activity in front of me."
Katrin Toots
Compliance Manager
“It’s not a paper diary that’s covered in barbecue sauce. We have clarity over what’s done in our sites and are confident going into our audits.”
Jay Brown
“The EHO visited almost every site last year and every store was given a five star rating."
Jay Brown
Operations Chef
"We turned our Costa Checks and various compliance forms into regular tasks on Trail, which has contributed to some of the best scores we have had."
Delroy Daniels
Operations Director
"Our teams love it, it gives our managers of all levels absolute clarity on what they need to achieve every day."
James Brown
Operations Director

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