Free Kitchen Operations Checklists | PDF | SafetyCulture (2024)

Published 28 Feb 2024

Article byJairus Andales

|4 min read

What is a Kitchen Operations Checklist?

A kitchen operations checklist is a valuable tool for executive chefs, duty managers, or anyone in the food service or hospitality industry. It is used to ensure that kitchen procedures are strictly followed by the staff and are completed across different shifts. Whether before opening, during service hours, or before closing, a kitchen operations checklist is helpful to any facility that prepares food. Regular kitchen walkthroughs help businesses cut down on expenses, improve food safety and quality, and deliver stellar customer service to their guests. Kitchen operations checklists are essential in preventing untoward incidents in the kitchen that can lead to food contamination and other public health risks.

What are Kitchen Operations?

Kitchen operations is the overall management of the kitchen. It covers areas such as kitchen safety, food quality, safe food handling, kitchen cleaning, staff hygiene, customer service, and inventory. Part of kitchen operations is the supervision of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for preparing menu items as well as for opening and closing the kitchen or restaurant.

Who is Responsible for All of the Kitchen Operations?

The executive chef is responsible for all of the kitchen operations. However, all members of the kitchen staff have a share in that responsibility. In some cases, the executive chef may also have an assistant who acts as the kitchen manager whenever the executive chef is busy with food quality and safety concerns.

What Does a Kitchen Manager Do?

A kitchen manager is tasked with overseeing the four crucial kitchen procedures: kitchen opening, food or kitchen service preparation, kitchen cleaning, and kitchen closing. Kitchen managers are also in charge of ensuring that the staff is following these procedures. Some additional duties may include ordering ingredients, storing food properly, and dividing other tasks among the staff.

Crucial Kitchen Procedures You Should Be Monitoring

Running a commercial kitchen can involve numerous procedures and hundreds of tasks that need to be regularly performed by staff. Knowing where to focus can be daunting. Here are the top 4 procedures you should prioritize to ensure a smooth kitchen operation:

1. Kitchen Opening

The kitchen opening is one of the most crucial procedures as it heavily affects how the other succeeding procedures are performed. Kitchen opening tasks include:

  • Turning on basic utilities (e.g., lights, ventilation, etc.)
  • Pre-heating kitchen equipment (e.g., ovens, broilers, griddles, etc.)
  • Checking and logging temperatures of refrigerator and freezer units
  • Inspecting the whole kitchen area to check if closing procedures were properly initiated during the previous shift. (e.g., cleanliness, equipment malfunctions, proper storage, and waste disposal)
  • Receiving and proper storage of food supplies (e.g., labeling, indicating dates, proper wrapping, and storage)

2. Food/ Kitchen Service Preparation

Food safety should be a top priority in every kitchen. Focusing on food safety protects consumers from foodborne illnesses and businesses from getting sued or shut down. Restaurants, hotels, and other commercial kitchens should take preventative procedures such as ensuring that kitchen staff adheres to all hygiene and safety procedures. Dishes should also be prepared according to standard recipes and served in a timely and appealing manner.

3. Kitchen Cleaning

Kitchen facilities should be clean and well maintained to pass health department requirements. Keeping a clean environment within the facility promotes food safety and boosts the productivity and efficiency for the kitchen staff. Cleaning should be conducted daily during opening and closing of the kitchen, and even in between shifts. Monitor all items and areas that need to be cleaned using a kitchen cleaning checklist and use it to implement a kitchen cleaning schedule.

4. Kitchen Closing

Similar to the kitchen opening procedure, kitchen closing is also crucial as it involves proper overnight storage of leftover food and ensures the security of the facility before leaving. Overlooking a simple step such as turning off ovens or stoves may lead to fire and other potential risks. Kitchen closing tasks include:

  • Double-checking if any perishable foods have been left out
  • Checking if all refrigeration equipment are working and locked
  • Locking of cabinets and proper storage of keys
  • Shutting off all heating equipment and other utilities
  • Activation of alarm system
  • Locking up the facility

Use a Kitchen Closing Checklist to easily monitor these tasks.

Kitchen Operations Checklist Example

To provide an idea on how a completed opening checklist for kitchen looks looks like, here’s a sample report in a PDF format.

Free Kitchen Operations Checklists | PDF | SafetyCulture (1)

Kitchen Operations Checklist Sample PDF Report

Standardized Kitchen Operations with SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor)

Easily keep track of kitchen operations by using a digital checklist. You can use SafetyCulture, a digital inspection solution, to deliver clear and concise instructions to your staff and also monitor if duties are being performed according to standard. Perform paperless kitchen inspections using your mobile device and:

  • Generate on-site reports
  • Take photo evidence of compliant and non-compliant items
  • Indicate corrective measures, assign them to a team member, and set priority and the due date
  • Share reports within the organization instantly
  • Save reports online and keep them safe in the cloud

Featured Kitchen Operations Checklists

Inspection template

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Comprehensive Kitchen Checklist

A comprehensive kitchen checklist is used to assess if kitchen operations such as menu planning, kitchen service preparation, kitchen hygiene, and food storage management are performed efficiently by kitchen staff. Use this checklist to ensure that all kitchen tasks are done according to applicable health and safety standards.

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Kitchen Opening Checklist

A kitchen opening checklist is used by kitchen staff as a guide in readying the kitchen facility for operation. Kitchen managers can use this checklist to deliver clear and concise kitchen opening instructions to the assigned kitchen staff.

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Kitchen Closing Checklist

A kitchen closing checklist is used by closing managers or assigned kitchen staff to ensure that all kitchen equipment, utilities, and tools are accounted for before locking up the facility. It also helps monitor general cleanliness and orderliness of the kitchen area.

Inspection template

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Kitchen Duties Checklist

This kitchen duties checklist is used by a US-based drive-in restaurant to evaluate their kitchen’s safety, training and procedures. Use this checklist to inspect the service times in the kitchen, its appearance, and the knowledge of kitchen staff, how they operate, and their safety practices.

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Hotel Kitchen Checklist

This hotel kitchen checklist is used by a UK-based hotel group to comprehensively report their hotel kitchens’ quality assurance. Use this checklist to assess hotel kitchens’ HACCP, cleanliness, food storage, delivery, recipes, menu, kitchen staff, utensils, machinery, guest feedback, and statutory certificates with a pass, minor, or fail criteria.

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Refrigerator Temperature Log

Check and record your refrigerator and freezer temperatures using this template. Mitigate risks of foodborne illnesses caused by food spoilage by routinely recording fridge temperatures to ensure that cooling equipment is properly calibrated and operational.

Free Kitchen Operations Checklists | PDF | SafetyCulture (2)

  • Free Kitchen Operations Checklists | PDF | SafetyCulture (3)
Article by
Jairus Andales

Jai Andales is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. As a content specialist, she creates well-researched articles about health and safety topics. She is also passionate about empowering businesses to utilize technology in building a culture of safety and quality.

Free Kitchen Operations Checklists | PDF | SafetyCulture (2024)


What are the daily opening checklist for kitchen? ›

Kitchen opening tasks include: Turning on basic utilities (e.g., lights, ventilation, etc.) Pre-heating kitchen equipment (e.g., ovens, broilers, griddles, etc.) Checking and logging temperatures of refrigerator and freezer units.

What are the SOPs in the kitchen? ›

Foodservice industry standard operating procedures (SOPs) are written practices and procedures of how your establishment will produce safe food. SOPs are a key component of your overall food safety program. SOPs include specific details of how a policy will be implemented including: Who will perform the task.

What is the sop of a chef? ›

- To maintain a safe, hygienic environment at all times in accordance with all relevant legislation and regulations. - To carry out all closing duties efficiently and effectively at all times, to ensure the safety and security of personnel, the premises, and stock.

What is the 1 rule in the kitchen? ›

1. Kitchen hygiene 101: wash hands. Making sure your hands are clean is at the top of the kitchen hygiene rules list. It's easy for bacteria to be transferred, so wash your hands throughout prepping and cooking food.

What is a good workflow in a kitchen? ›

The key idea to keep in mind when optimising kitchen flow is placing items in strategic places allowing you to find things quickly, tidy easily and maintain an organised kitchen. Believe me, stuffing everything in random cupboards and drawers will only make your life harder, and who would choose to do that?

What are the five standard operating procedures? ›

5 Essentials for Every SOP
  • Keep a Clear User Viewpoint. You should always be thinking about your end user when you write an SOP. ...
  • Format Clearly. As well as being careful with language, process documentation should always use intuitive formatting. ...
  • Keep Scope in Mind. ...
  • Observe Roles and Impacts. ...
  • Seek Authority and Approval.

How do I create a SOP template? ›

Here's a universal guide to creating an SOP to help you cover all your bases.
  1. Step 1: Identify the Process. ...
  2. Step 2: Gather a Team. ...
  3. Step 3: Define Scope and Objectives. ...
  4. Step 4: Break Down the Process. ...
  5. Step 5: Assign Roles and Responsibilities. ...
  6. Step 6: Review and Test. ...
  7. Step 7: Implement and Train. ...
  8. Step 8: Monitor and Revise.
Apr 17, 2024

How can I make my own checklist? ›

How to Create a Checklist Step-by-Step
  1. Step 1: Determine the Purpose of Your Checklist. ...
  2. Step 2: Identify the Items to Include. ...
  3. Step 3: Organize the Checklist. ...
  4. Step 4: Define Clear Instructions. ...
  5. Step 5: Review and Refine the Checklist. ...
  6. Step 6: Test and Validate the Checklist. ...
  7. Step 7: Implement and Use the Checklist.
May 19, 2023

What is a checklist template? ›

Checklist templates allow you to quickly set up consistent processes. You can use them to replicate your most-used checklists and knock out tasks more efficiently. Templates are not confined to checklists. You can also use templates for Spaces, Folders, Lists, and tasks!

What is a standard operating procedure? ›

A standard operating procedure (SOP) is a set of step-by-step instructions compiled by an organization to help workers carry out routine operations. SOPs aim to achieve efficiency, quality output, and uniformity of performance, while reducing miscommunication and failure to comply with industry regulations.

What is an SOP checklist? ›

An SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) checklist helps to break down complex processes that are part of your business activity into easy-to-understand steps. This is vital for ensuring compliance and precision across your teams.

What are the opening procedures for a kitchen? ›

Kitchen Opening and closing procedure
  • Opening Routines.
  • 5 Minute Pre-Service with All. Cooks, Prep Cooks, Runners.
  • Sanitizer In Place & Changed As. Needed.
  • Station Signage Cleaned and In. Place.
  • Food Pick up Sight Is Clean & neat.
  • Check Freshness & Garnishes. ...
  • Replace Utensils Frequently - ...
  • All Food Properly Labelled &

What is an opening checklist? ›

Opening and closing checklists are lists of the key tasks that staff complete at the start and end of the workday. Opening checklists ensure that the restaurant is ready to run smoothly throughout the day. Closing checklists help staff to clean the restaurant properly and set the restaurant up for the next shift.

What is a kitchen prep list? ›

A prep list specifies how much of each food item should be prepared at a station before the start of service. With the proper amount ready to go beforehand, members receive fresh meals without delay.

What is the professional kitchen all day? ›

In chef slang, the expression all day is used to indicate the total number of orders needed. As tickets come in, a chef will shout out the orders followed by all day. If there are three orders of fries on one ticket and four orders of fries on another ticket, there are seven orders of fries all day.


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