See Trail in action
Book a demo

Kitchen Opening and Closing Checklist

Get this task
Kitchen Opening & Closing Checklists
Turn on the lights
Turn on equipment and make sure it's working
Unlock freezers
Unlock fridges
Unlock freezers
Check dates of food and dispose of anything needed
Check food has been stored correctly over night
Check all areas on the kitchen are clean
Record 1
Record 2
1 / 3

Keep track of critical tasks

Kitchen opening and closing checklists are essential to help your team keep track of critical tasks in a busy environment. A lot goes into prepping for a busy day and winding down from the final order. Our guide will provide you with kitchen checklists to ensure your operations are effective and your team is in the know and accountable.

Our guide will cover:

  • Kitchen daily opening checklist
  • Kitchen closing checklist
  • Why are kitchen checklists important?
  • How to create a kitchen opening and closing checklist
  • What’s the difference between an opening and closing checklist?

Kitchen daily opening checklist

The kitchen opening checklist is a vital tool that sets the tone for a successful day in any restaurant or food facility. It serves as a structured guide for kitchen staff to ensure the kitchen is prepared, organised, and compliant with safety and hygiene standards before the start of operations.

By following this checklist, your team can guarantee a smooth and efficient opening, minimise risks, maintain food quality, and provide a safe environment for your staff and customers. 

Kitchen opening procedures include:

Reviewing closing tasks

  • Inspecting the kitchen area to check if closing procedures were effectively carried out during the previous shift (e.g., cleanliness, equipment malfunctions, proper storage etc.).

Safety and hygiene checks

  • Check fire extinguishers are working and accessible.
  • Ensure all staff are equipped with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Verify that all cleaning chemicals are properly stored, full and labelled.

Temperature checks

  • Check and record temperatures of fridges, freezers, and storage areas to ensure they are within the safe range.
  • Calibrate food thermometers for accurate temperature readings.

Food storage

  • Check all food storage areas for organisation, cleanliness, and proper labelling (FIFO - First In, First Out).
  • Ensure that raw and cooked foods are stored separately to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Inspect and clean all preparation surfaces, cutting boards, and utensils.


  • Checking bookings and any special requirements (e.g. food allergies or intolerances).

Kitchen staff briefing:

  • Conduct a pre-shift meeting to review the day's menu, special instructions, and any procedure changes.
  • Discuss bookings
  • Reiterate health and safety guidelines and remind staff of their responsibilities.

Kitchen closing checklist

Kitchen closing tasks include:

Communicating staff duties

  • Delegate specific closing duties to kitchen staff to ensure a systematic and efficient closing process.
  • Communicate any outstanding issues, requirements, or special instructions to the next shift or management.

Temperature checks

  • Record and log the final temperatures of fridges and freezers to ensure they are operating within the recommended range.

Cleaning and sanitisation

  • Clean and sanitise all food preparation surfaces, equipment, and utensils, following the established cleaning protocols.
  • Ensure the dishwasher is cleaned and sanitised, and all filters are checked and emptied.

Waste management

  • Empty all waste bins, properly separate waste, and ensure bins are securely closed and ready for collection.
  • Break down and dispose of cardboard, plastic, and other recyclable materials in designated recycling bins.

Food storage and rotation

  • Label and rotate all leftover food items and store them appropriately following the "First In, First Out" (FIFO) principle.
  • Dispose of any food that is out of date.

Equipment shut down

  • Turn off and properly shut down all kitchen equipment, ensuring safety measures are followed.

Final walkthrough and security

  • Conduct a final walkthrough of the kitchen to ensure all tasks are completed and all equipment is turned off.
  • Secure all entry points, windows, and storage areas, and set the alarm system if applicable.

Why are kitchen checklists important?

Ensuring food safety and compliance

Kitchen checklists act as a safety net, ensuring that all necessary food safety protocols and compliance requirements are meticulously followed. Adherence to health and safety standards helps prevent contamination.

Structured workflow efficiency

By organising specific tasks and their order of completion, streamline the workflow. This results in reduced downtime, increased productivity, and a well-orchestrated kitchen operation.

Reducing errors and waste

A structured checklist ensures that no step is missed, minimising errors and preventing unnecessary wastage of resources. By providing clear instructions, it ensures that all crucial steps are completed accurately and in the correct sequence.

Empowering training and onboarding

Restaurants are known for experiencing frequent high staff turnovers, which poses a challenge for managers tasked with repeatedly training new employees. Using checklists proves to be an effective method for new hires to learn their responsibilities and understand the expectations placed upon them.

Saving costs 

Performing basic actions like switching off lights, heating, or air conditioning can noticeably cut down a restaurant's utility expenses. Adding these actions to a checklist guarantees they won't be overlooked.

Customer satisfaction through operations

A well-organised and efficiently run kitchen, facilitated by thorough checklists, means quicker service, fresher food and, ultimately, higher customer satisfaction. Meeting and exceeding customer expectations is at the core of what makes a successful restaurant, and checklists play a crucial role in achieving just that.

How to create a kitchen opening and closing checklist 

1. Identify what tasks need to be prioritised and completed

Take note of the tasks that should be prioritised. You should consider: 

  • Health and safety protocols and regulations 
  • Correct handling of food and beverages
  • What team members are responsible for and who has the proper training to complete the tasks in their respective roles

2. Organise your tasks 

Once you’ve identified the tasks, these should be broken down into subsections depending on where your staff are positioned in the kitchen. For example:

  • Cook, Line, Expo 
  • General, Safety, Cleaning 
  • AM, PM 

TIP! You may also want to have a section for who completed the task, so staff are held accountable and to offer support and training for those who may not have completed the task as it should be done. 

3. Create the checklist 

Once you have identified, organised and delegated the tasks, you can create the checklist and share it with your team. 

What’s the difference between an opening and closing checklist for the kitchen? 

The objective of an opening kitchen checklist is to help the kitchen staff organise their tasks seamlessly. In the mornings, food supplies are typically delivered, requiring proper storage. Additionally, some food items need to be gathered from storage for preparation throughout the day, particularly during busier periods. 

The checklist ensures that these essential activities are properly coordinated, setting a structured start for the day in the kitchen. Creating the kitchen closing checklist follows a similar approach to developing the opening checklist. However, the closing checklist places greater emphasis on health and safety measures.

Given that food is stored overnight and the establishment is unattended, even minor oversights could have significant consequences. Failing to turn off ovens or stoves or not securely closing fridge doors can lead to property damage or food spoilage. It's crucial to address these safety concerns during the closing routine to ensure a safe and efficient kitchen process.

Here’s how Trail can help

  • ‍Digitise all that paperwork. Save time by automating repetitive data entry. A digital record is quicker, safer and smarter.
  • Streamline processes. Guide your team through their day with simple bite-sized tasks, all in one app. Teams know what to do. Managers know it’s done. Never miss a check again.
  • Spot issues sooner.Trail automatically prompts your teams when something doesn’t look right. So you can take corrective action before issues become big.
  • Get performance insights. Dashboards and daily reports highlight issues in real-time, so they can be resolved quickly without the need for time-consuming and expensive audits.

Get this task