Using Employee Checklists in Your Coffee Shop

Get used to checklists. You are going to live by them! Checklists:

¨ Direct employees as to what needs to get done on a given day or in a given week.

¨ Remind you or your manager what needs to get done on a weekly and monthly basis.

Before you get started, here are some thoughts on checklists. Find a rhythm that works for you and your staff and stick with it. The routine might be turning on all equipment first, putting out pastries and brewing coffees last. Or you might find that working your way from the back of the store to the front, getting everything done along the way that needs to get done, is a better routine. However you go about it, make it a routine so that nothing gets left out.

If your shop is large, it might be helpful to assign tasks to your staff to ensure that everything gets done, and to ensure that the same person doesn’t get stuck with cleaning the bathroom every night.

Daily Tasks

Only any given day, a hundred tasks must be completed. Create checklists for employees (and yourself) to make sure that everything gets accomplished.

Here are a few things to remember on a daily basis:
Setting up for the day:

¨ Turn on the espresso machine (this takes time to heat up before it is ready)

¨ Bake or warm pastries (if necessary)

¨ Put pastries in display case

¨ Count down the register

¨ Start up the granita machines

¨ Stock the condiment bar: Fill creamer thermoses, refill sugars, stock napkins, straws, and stirrers

¨ Brew coffees

¨ Clean all surfaces. Use cleaner on glass surfaces, including door, display cases, and coolers (these are all fingerprint magnets)

¨ Prep food for breakfast and lunch (if necessary)

¨ Turn the window sign over from closed to open

Closing down:

¨ Wipe down the tables, chairs, and counters with sanitizer (this should be done throughout the day, with one last thorough cleaning at night)

¨ Clean and stock the bathrooms (this should be done throughout the day as needed)

¨ Mop floors

¨ Wash dishes

¨ Restock cups, lids, impulse items, supplies (bagged coffee, tea, etc.), and bottled beverages as needed

¨ Wrap up unused pastries. Check expiration dates and discard items past their expiration

¨ Prep food for the next morning, if necessary

¨ Clean the espresso and coffee grinders

¨ Backflush the espresso machine, wash the drip tray, and soak the portafilters overnight

¨ If you have a soda machine, remove the nozzles and soak overnight, wash the drip tray

¨ Clean the granita machines

¨ Take out the trash

¨ Count down the register, run all necessary reports and do closing paperwork

¨ Close out the waste sheet

Throughout the day:

¨ Clean, clean, clean!

¨ Check the espresso grind and calibrate as necessary

¨ Keep condiments stocked

It is essential that you spot clean as often as necessary throughout the day, and do a thorough cleaning after you close. The appearance of your shop will influence your customers’ perceptions of the quality of product you supply. You and your employees should be wiping down counters and tables every free moment you have.

Journal Keeping

Consider keeping a journal or planner to make notes in. Record the sales on a given day, what sold well and what didn’t sell, what was going on in the area, what the weather was like. Compiling this kind of data can help you identify trends in your business so you can better cater to your customers.

Weekly Tasks

On a weekly basis, you, your manager, or a designated person should be doing the following:

¨ Check expiration dates and discard food as necessary

¨ Order supplies

¨ Compare waste log to order history

¨ Complete the weekly summary sheet—sales forecast compared to actual sales. Note any unusual weather or events that occurred during the week. This will aid you in predicting trends.

It’s best that one person handle one or more of these tasks, and that these tasks occur on a scheduled basis. For instance, only the manager handles the ordering on Wednesday mornings, rather than whoever happens to be in the store at the time. This will reduce confusion about who has done what, and if any problems occur, you will only need to speak to one person rather than ask three or four different people who ordered the extra case of mint syrup.

Monthly Tasks

You can’t live by schedules; maybe there’s fresh rhubarb at the market so you make strawberry rhubarb muffins instead of blueberry. But the more you can keep organized, the easier this will be. Keeping rotation schedules will help you remember what was served last week and last month, to make decision making easier the next time around.

Other tasks to complete on a monthly basis include:

¨ Check the coffee rotation calendar and adjust as needed

¨ Clean the hard-to-get to areas, like the countertops behind equipment and under display racks, above windows and doors, light fixtures, and inside cabinets

¨ Complete month-end profit and loss statements and cash flow sheet

¨ Complete the month-end inventory count

¨ Employee schedules

If you only need to complete employee schedules once a month, you’re in a good position. However, this may need to be done more frequently because your staff can’t function with a monthly schedule. Try to keep schedules at least three weeks in advance. Your state laws may also dictate how far in advance the schedules need to be completed. Be sure you check up on this before hiring employees.

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