Prepare Your Restaurant for What’s Ahead


The next steps will be different for everyone, so here’s what to consider.

Business as usual has been anything but usual for weeks. COVID-19 forced your restaurant to make sudden changes to survive. There was little warning or time to plan. With the reopening of the economy on the horizon, things are different. You have time to plan how you’ll become a public gathering place again. Because there’s a lot of uncertainty about what reopening will look like, we asked our experts for ideas you should consider—including a checklist—as you work toward fully reopening:

Get a fresh perspective on what you want the future of your operation to be

  • Will you be opening with a full menu or start with a smaller menu?
  • What will be updating your menus—LTO, beverage, dessert, lunch, dinner, kids menus, meal kits, takeout/delivery etc.? 
  • Will you be making changes to takeout and delivery services?

Stay tuned in to what is happening 

  • What “social distancing” guidelines are still in place?
  • Are there restrictions on capacity? 
  • Are there extra safety precautions that need to be followed?
  • What will a public safety inspection require before opening?

Inform your customers

  • How will you tell them about what’s happening with your reopening? 
  • Do you need to update your website or sources such as Facebook, Instagram, Google?
  • What will be important for you to tell them (hours, menu, food safety, cleaning, etc.)? 

Take an assessment of your operation by looking over your equipment, inventory, supplies and building

  • Are there changes or improvements that need to be made?
  • Have you cleaned equipment and turned on coolers/freezers?
  • Do you need to restart subscriptions/services that you cancelled or put on hold? 
  • Do you need to print menus—LTO, beverage, dessert, lunch, dinner, kids menus, takeout/delivery, etc.? 

Get ready to restock

  • Have you discussed your opening order needs with your Sales Representative? 
  • Beyond food, do you have a list of other needed supplies, such as towels, tissues, takeout containers and cleaning supplies?

Bring back employees

  • If any staff was laid off do you know if they are planning to return (reach out to your top employees first)? 
  • How will you go about recruiting new staff if needed? 
  • What is the onboarding and training process of returned and new employees? 

Create a reopen checklist


  1. Pre-open training
  2. Build a schedule (including a start date for each person)  
  3. Organize hire/rehire documentation
  4. Set up payroll
  5. Order uniforms 

In All Areas:

  1. Thoroughly clean and sanitize all hard services  
  2. Wash all tableware, small wares, pots, pans, utensils and glasses 
  3. Take inventory of supplies needed and include as part of your open ordering plan 


Check, clean and restart equipment. 

  1. Compressors
  2. Hoods
  3. Coolers
  4. Freezers
  5. Ice machines
  6. Dishmachine


  1. Toss expired products
  2. Take inventory
  3. Update inventory software 
  4. Clean up inventory sheets


  1. Develop core menus, LTO menus, kids menu, drink menu and dessert menu
  2. Update recipe software
  3. Print new menus (or clean existing)

Dining Room

Check equipment (call service if needed)

  1. Coffee machine
  2. Tea machine
  3. Soda fountain 
  4. Ice machine


Check equipment (call service if needed) 

  1. Draft systems
  2. Blenders
  3. Beverage machines
  4. Dishmachine
  5. Ice machine

Bar Inventory

  1. Discard expired or compromised products
  2. Take inventory
  3. Clean up inventory sheets

Restart Operational Services

  1. TVs/cable
  2. Internet 
  3. POS system
  4. HVAC
  5. Linens and mats service
  6. Garbage/grease trap pickup
  7. Cleaning services
  8. Landscape services
  9. Accounting and payroll services
  10. Marketing services
  11. Delivery providers


  1. Update your website
  2. Update Facebook, Instagram, Google, etc.
  3. Start a social media campaign to promote your opening and changes 

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