How to Make a Side Work List for a Restaurant

Written by sam williams
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How to Make a Side Work List for a Restaurant
Create an organised "to do" list. (clip board to do image by Nicemonkey from

Aside from serving restaurant guests, servers must attend to their side work duties. Side work duties are those things that customers have come to expect from restaurants over the years, such as clean tables, full condiment bottles and air quality. According to a Restaurant Owner Magazine and MasterCard survey, customers complained more about lousy service than lousy food. Service includes the overall experience with cleanliness, condiments and atmosphere.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Posterboard
  • Dry erase magnetic noteboard
  • Point-of-sale software

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  1. 1

    Assign stations to sets of tables with equal seating capacity. For example, if you have twelve tables, batch them in groups of three or four depending on how many servers you have on duty at a given time. Assign each set of four tables a station number. Assign each server to a station.

  2. 2

    Print a chart broken down into times that work should be completed on a horizontal line at the top and a list of server's name or server station numbers down a vertical line on the far left of the chart. Time and server station number should intersect at a particular task box.

  3. 3

    Program the point-of-sale software with a task reminder feature that pops up and lets the servers know what tasks are due.

  4. 4

    Make a list of the side work duties that need to be completed before the restaurant opens. Add clean beverage station, cleaning tables and any elements of the restaurant customers will be exposed to first.

  5. 5

    Add tasks to the list that cooks and other kitchen staff can use a hand with once the initial cleaning and prep is down for the house. Tasks can include preparing tables and tablecloths.

  6. 6

    Assign each server a list of tasks. If you have stations, then you can break assignments down to work stations. Tasks could include replenishing menus at the entrance door or waiting room.

  7. 7

    Make a list of the side work duties that need to be attended to throughout the day, such as stocking condiment shelves. Add those to the list equally among your servers or stations.

  8. 8

    List all the side work tasks that each server needs to complete at the end of his shift. Duties could include stocking empty napkin trays and condiments so that the new server can just start taking orders. Schedule a training session in this section if there is some compliance or safety video that the server needs to watch.

  9. 9

    Require the server taking over the shift to initial the previous server's timecard to verify that she has completed her side work task list before she left for the day. Be available to personally initial time cards several times a week. Owner absenteeism is one of the biggest culprits for restaurant foreclosures and liquidations over the years, according to "Indianapolis Monthly."

  10. 10

    List all the side work tasks that servers need to complete before the restaurant closes and the staff leaves for the night. Refill condiments and clean beverage stations.

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