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Implementing effective systems for your pizzeria, part 2: Making Dough With Diane

Checklists can help you create the quality products, eating experiences and operating results you expect in every area of your restaurant operation


PHOTO: © 9dreamstudio / Adobe Stock

Part of a successful pizzeria operation is to create and put in place effective systems and checklists. Effective systems will ensure consistent, high-quality customer experiences and help you maintain an advantage over your competitors.

Focus on developing, fine-tuning and improving your pizzeria’s systems and processes. This is the only way your pizzeria will be able to consistently produce and deliver high-quality food, service and exceptional all-around experiences for your customers. It will help you run these steps accurately and efficiently every time.

This is the second part of a three-part series on implementing effective systems and checklists to improve your operations.

1. Implement different pizzeria checklists
Use the pizzeria checklists below as a guide to creating the quality products, eating experiences and operating results you expect in every area of your restaurant operation. These are checklists that you should consider putting together:

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  • Ordering/purchasing checklist
  • Receiving checklist
  • Utensil, smallware and equipment checklist
  • Customer service checklist
  • Manager opening checklist
  • Manager shift-change checklist
  • Manager closing checklist
  • Preparation checklist
  • Cashier/server training checklist
  • Pizzeria employee training checklist
  • New employee orientation checklist
  • Catering/delivery checklist
  • Storage checklist
  • Safety checklist
  • Cleaning checklist (back of house, front of house, restrooms) 

2. Focus on your customer – offer the best customer service
Offering personalized service is the key to excellent customer service, where customers feel they are being valued and looked after. A little personal attention goes a long way. Train your staff members always to remember the name of your frequent customers. Ask your customers about the products they are looking for, or ask them about their birthdays and anniversaries. Creating a positive experience is vital to ensure long-term loyalty and repeat business. Some of the items below should be on your customer service checklist: 

  • Greet and welcome guests immediately.
  • Welcome guest with a smile.
  • Make eye contact and be personable.
  • Have a friendly disposition.
  • Use positive interaction with guests.
  • Make each guest feel welcome, important and special.
  • Promptly guide guests to the counters, cash or table and ensure their comfort.
  • Allow guests time to look over the menu and be available to answer questions.
  • Make appropriate personal recommendations and suggestions.
  • Ask guests specific questions.
  • Be genuinely interested in their responses.
  • Suggest some specials and point to new, unusual or discounted products.
  • Answer the telephone promptly.
  • Serve quickly, efficiently and courteously.
  • Handle special requests and issues graciously.
  • Reinforce guest decisions when appropriate.
  • Thank them for visiting your pizzeria.

3. Put together managers’ opening, shift-change and closing checklists
A daily pizzeria manager checklist is a document managers use to ensure that essential management tasks are properly done from opening to closing. It is also used for checking off daily staff changes and operational tasks. You could do these checklists in a Microsoft Excel sheet, then print and place them on a clipboard.

Manager opening checklist:

  • Walk inside/out of the pizzeria to check for any damage or equipment failure during the closing hours.
  • Check the orders the customer made for the day.
  • Check all the menus, signage and billboards.
  • Unlock the cash register and turn on the POS system.
  • Check with the kitchen and enter any daily specials in the POS system.
  • Review cash flows and managers’ notes from the previous day.
  • Check available inventory of food, beverage, packaging and anything else.
  • Check the pizzeria’s voicemail and emails.
  • Ensure all employees are on duty and kitchen staff are completing their kitchen preparation sheet for the day.
  • Make sure every staff member follows your uniform policy.

Manager shift-change checklist:

  • Check to make sure that all employees arrive on time for the second shift.
  • Check voicemail and emails.
  • Ensure that the first-shift kitchen staff have finished their daily food prep list, and check these lists at every station.
  • Recheck the entrance area, cash area, counters, fridges, retail shelving, tables and restrooms to make sure that everything is cleaned and well stocked.

Manager closing checklist:

  • Check the inventory to ensure that the kitchen and retail areas are fully stocked for the next day.
  • Review with the kitchen staff to make sure that food is stored according to the instructions on the food prep sheet.
  • Follow the cleaning checklist so that cleaning wraps up quickly and smoothly.
  • Look at and analyze the sales report at the end of the day. 
  • Compare the closing stock to the sales for the day, and try to identify any misappropriations.
  • Check that all equipment (ovens, gas stoves and heaters) is turned off.
  • Lock all the doors and put the alarm system on. 

What you want is for your customers to get the same product and service each time they come to your pizzeria. By streamlining your daily operational activities, you will be able to reduce and, over time, eliminate waste in your operation. You then will be able to focus properly on growing your business. Your mission should be to delight your customers, so they keep coming back and telling others about your restaurant.


Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years by providing innovative, revenue-increasing marketing strategies. Contact her at 416-926-1338 or chiasson@chiassonconsultants.com, or visit chiassonconsultants.com.