How To Develop Better Processes & Checklist For Cafe Employees

According to a small business leader, your procedures are as important as the food you serve and the brand you portray.

Your procedures and your processes ensure an efficient restaurant that runs consistently even when you have different employees working on different days.

Many new café owners spend so much time concentrating on creating the perfect atmosphere and developing an appealing menu, they forget to set up procedures.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to develop better processes and checklists for café employees so your restaurant operates efficiently every day of the week.

A Look at Processes

When it comes to your processes and procedures, you want to have everything in writing – including your checklists.

This ensures consistency in your café. Whether your employee has been with you one week or ten years, they’ll both do the job the same because you have your processes in writing.

This also helps when training new employees. You guarantee every staff member gets the same information so your processes are followed uniformly.

For example, you have a written process on how to set your dining tables. Customers are more comfortable when they know what to expect when they walk in the door. Your process enables your employees to provide this comfort through your processes.

What kinds of procedures should you have? Here are a few:

  • Kitchen procedures
  • Safety procedures
  • Reservation procedures
  • Take-out procedures
  • Dining room procedures

A Look at Checklists

Checklists ensure that tasks are done in sequential order. You should consider creating a checklist for each aspect of your café business from accounting to kitchen prep.

Include these checklists in your employee manual. A standard practice when handing out manuals is to have each employee sign it when they’ve read it. This is a good idea for your checklists.

It helps hold each employee accountable for their job according to the checklist.

The Hartford Business Journal tells us that checklists keep people organized, motivated and productive.

What kinds of checklists should you consider for your café employees? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Opening Checklist for Managers
  • Closing Checklist for Managers
  • Customer Service Checklist
  • Menu Prep Checklist
  • Purchasing Checklist
  • Receiving Checklist
  • Storage Checklist
  • Dishwashing and/or Cleaning Checklist (kitchen, bar and store room)
  • Bartender Checklist (opening, shift change, closing, stocking, cleaning)
  • Kitchen Checklist (opening, shift change, closing, stocking, cleaning)
  • Server Checklist (opening, shift change, closing, stocking/side-work, cleaning)
  • Server Training Checklist
  • New Hire Checklist
  • Orientation Checklist
  • Accounting Checklist


Better Processes Create Better Employees

Processes and checklists help your employees because they have a baseline to follow. They know how to do their job using your checklists so they are also empowered.

In addition, procedures bolster your café’s safety. You’ll find you have a smaller risk of food loss, injury and cleanliness problems if your employees know how to handle every situation.

Organization of your processes and checklists helps create an atmosphere of camaraderie. You’ll also have a better shot at cross training employees if everyone operates from the same processes.

Make Better Processes

Sometimes employees balk at written processes and checklists. How can you avoid this common problem?

Involve your employees in the creation of the written procedures. If you already have them in place, consider holding a staff meeting to review them and ask if anyone would like to make suggestions on amending them.

After all, they are the ones who know the job the best.

If you have an enthusiastic buy-in from your employees, they’ll be more apt to follow the guidelines.

A Case Study

Consider restaurant giant, McDonald’s. They are well-known for their consistency. You can walk into any McDonald’s in the country and get the exact same food in the exact same way every single time.
The founders of McDonald’s knew that the secret to a restaurant or café’s success was the system backing it up. This system includes the processes and the checklists.

Procedures, processes and checklists create uniformity. They free your employees to provide extraordinary service because they are secure in how to do their job.

Just reflect on the success of McDonald’s. Upwards of 50 million people go there every day, and it’s not for the fine food.

They go there because they know just what to expect each and every time. It’s consistent, and it’s predictable.

Processes and checklists in your café can provide the same affect for your business.

What’s more, once you have these items in place, your café can run without your direct supervision all the time.

Final Thoughts

Why procedures, processes and checklists?

Without them, your café is basically a free-for-all. Without processes in the kitchen, the menu isn’t prepared properly, safety procedures are ignored, and dishes don’t get washed.

Without a checklist, your wait staff has no idea how to provide excellent customer service or maintain their stations.

Checklists help everyone complete their job in a particular order. For example, the kitchen staff knows what ingredients to put in the pan first.

Physically documenting your processes and creating a checklist gets everyone on the same page. Managers and employees have a clear idea of what’s expected of them, and they know how to get their job done.

This ensures a smooth running café that brings diners back over and over because they have the same wonderful experience very time.

Do you have a favorite way to handle your café’s processes and checklists? Please comment below to share your tips with others. We’d love to hear them.