Opening­­­ and Closing Procedures for Bars and Restaurants

While many consider the most important aspect of a bar to be the drinks, there are a variety of other factors that go into managing an F&B outlet. Coming up with processes and procedures to run a bar requires different skills than making a cocktail.

Making sure your bar leaves a positive impression with patrons is pivotal to business success. But where should you start? The basics, of course! Creating an opening and closing checklist ensures you’ll maintain a clean, professional atmosphere.

Having opening and closing procedures for your bar also keeps your team on the same page so operations always run in a consistent manner. They can address all sides of the bar – everything from cleanliness to inventory to operations. Here are a few things to consider when developing your own opening and closing procedures.

Bar Opening and Closing Checklist

Having a standard checklist streamlines the opening and closing process. Since everything is spelled out, everyone on the team is aligned on expectations and able to easily run through tasks.

If you’re not sure where to start, we developed a bar opening and closing checklist you’re welcome to use as a template. It includes fields for each day of the week, bartender and manager initials, and fields to check off each task to ensure nothing gets missed. Customize the list to suit your specific bar, make copies for your team, and start rolling!

Top Bar Opening Procedures

While opening and closing procedures may vary slightly from venue to venue, there are staples that remain consistent for every brand. Here are a few of the opening procedures that tend to be consistent across the board:

  1. Observe your environment. Walk around the building and make sure it’s clean and accessible. Check for bugs or debris that could ruin the overall vibe of your bar.
  2. Clean the floors. This is important both for aesthetic reasons as well as safety. You don’t want a customer to slip and fall.
  3. Replace and refill condiments, ice, and any other items critical to your bar. Check dates on open food or drinks to ensure nothing has expired.
  4. Clear the beer lines. Taps and beer lines can become especially dirty, which will ruin the taste of a great craft beer. After all, it is pointless to provide a good product if that beverage is traveling through a dirty tube.
  5. Review your digital menus as well as social media and review sites to ensure everything is updated and current. Digital menu boards are super easy to update and can be updated seamlessly if you have new offerings.

Top Bar Closing Procedures

Closing procedures are just as vital as the opening ones. These steps can be adjusted and modified as needed. Here are some of the key closing procedures to help tee up the following day:

  1. Date any newly opened wine bottles. Don’t date your wine? You should!
  2. Clean, clean, clean! This includes wiping down all countertops, rinsing inside all the taps, wiping down taps and spouts, and rinsing drains thoroughly.
  3. Store perishables to keep them fresh. For example, store fruits and garnishes in plastic bags or containers to prolong their freshness and refrigerate cocktail ingredients such as soda and juice.
  4. Restock non-perishables like straws, cocktail straws, napkins, and toothpicks.
  5. Stock and rotate beer and wine as needed.

A bar opening and closing checklist is imperative to maintaining the sanitation, organization, and streamlined operation of your business. For more specifics, check out our bar procedures webinar that dives into opening and closing processes in greater detail.

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