Server Sidework Checklist

By David Rigbye May 1, 2023

If you’re a restaurant owner, you need to make sure that your servers are well-trained and perform all the tasks assigned to them properly. Other than their main serving tasks, they also need to carry out many side duties in the restaurant to make sure that the establishment is running smoothly.

From restocking server stations and refilling table condiments to cleaning service areas and organizing silverware, there’s a wide range of tasks that define server sidework.

It’s important to note that great servers are always looking for work. They don’t waste their time standing around idly and prefer to seek out unfinished tasks to complete proactively. You can make this process easy for them by providing them with a well-defined server sidework checklist.

Request Demo Download PDF

What Does Sidework Mean in a Restaurant?

The primary role of a server is to take orders from customers, forward that information to the kitchen/bar, and then serve the food/beverages. Anything (chore-like tasks) other than this primary role that a server needs to do before his/her shift ends falls under sidework.

These duties usually include front- and back-of-house responsibilities to keep the area clean and presentable for customers. From organizing and restocking to cleaning, servers need to perform different sidework tasks daily that add to the success of a restaurant.

What Should Your Restaurant’s Daily Server Sidework Checklist Include?

Creating a server sidework checklist can be a complex and time-consuming task. Therefore, we have compiled a model list containing all the possible sidework tasks that need to be completed daily in a standard restaurant.

Start of the Shift Tasks

Here’s a checklist of all the sidework tasks that servers should do after starting their shift.

Front of the House Station Tasks

  • Turn on the lights and turn off the security alarm.
  • Turn the background music on to create a pleasant ambiance.
  • Clean the exterior of the restaurant by removing any trash or debris.
  • Empty all trash bins and replace trash bags throughout the restaurant.
  • Remove all the chairs from the tabletops and organize them around the tables.
  • Inspect the integrity of furniture and set aside all the items that look unstable.
  • Wipe down all tables, chairs, and highchairs to ensure a clean dining area.
  • Clean the windows to ensure a clear view for customers.
  • Clean and sanitize all glassware and silverware to maintain hygiene standards.
  • Fold napkins and restock napkin dispensers.
  • Check the table arrangements and ensure they are aligned with your restaurant’s standards.
  • Set tables and place necessary items such as glasses, cutlery, napkins, salt and pepper, and sauces.
  • Replace water and refill pitchers to ensure customers have access to clean water.
  • Sanitise wine lists, food menus, and bill folders to maintain hygiene standards.
  • Organize food menus and wine lists to make it easy for customers to find what they are looking for.
  • Prepare bar garnishes such as cocktail onions, edible flowers, dehydrated fruit, lemon twists, orange peels, and umbrellas to enhance the presentation of drinks.
  • Clean and stock the bathrooms with toiletries such as toilet paper, sanitizer, hand soap, and air fresheners to maintain hygiene standards.
  • Clean and organize the POS (Point of System) area to facilitate smooth transactions.
  • Change the door sign from Closed to Open to signal the opening of the restaurant.

Drink Station Tasks

  • Add clean glassware to the drink station.
  • Prepare ice to keep drinks cold and refreshing.
  • Replenish beer kegs for a steady supply of beer.
  • Replenish bottled mixers, liquor bottles, and canned drinks to ensure customers have access to any drink they want.
  • Check the soda machine to make sure it’s working properly and restock it if needed.

Iced Tea and Coffee Station Tasks

  • Equip the station with clean glasses, mugs, and stirring spoons.
  • Prepare ice to keep drinks cold and refreshing.
  • Restock tea bags, coffee beans, and filters to ensure a steady supply of beverages.
  • Replenish sugar, creamer, and other condiments to give customers the option to personalize their drinks.
  • Ensure the station is clean and free from any spills or debris.
  • Empty and clean the drip trays of the coffee machine to avoid any overflow or mess.

Salad Bar Station Tasks

  • Clean the salad bar station.
  • Place clean plates and silverware on the salad bar station.
  • Prepare salad bar items such as sliced vegetables, cheese, croutons, carrots, chopped tomatoes, and lettuce.

Dessert Station Tasks

  • Clean the dessert station and equip it with plates and silverware.
  • Prepare fresh pastries and desserts if needed.

Outdoor Station Tasks

  • Set tables and chairs to create a welcoming outdoor dining experience for customers.
  • Place table settings to ensure customers have all the necessary items for their meals.
  • Set up outdoor umbrellas to provide shade and protection from the elements.
  • Restock tabletop items, including glasses, cutlery, napkins, salt and pepper, and sauces.

Ongoing Tasks During the Shift

The following is the checklist of the ongoing sidework tasks that servers need to perform during their shift throughout the day.

Front of the House Station Tasks

  • Bring clean tableware and glasses to the front of the house from the back.
  • Wipe down tables, chairs, and booths after each customer to ensure cleanliness and sanitation.
  • Clean countertops to remove stains and spills for a tidy appearance.
  • Tuck chairs under tables for a more organized and welcoming look.
  • Clean and stack boosters and highchairs after each use to maintain orderliness.
  • Ensure tables are ready for the next customer by checking the table setting and any necessary supplies, such as condiments and napkins.
  • Disinfect menus and bill folders after each use.
  • Clean and polish glassware and silverware for a spotless presentation.
  • Inform the manager if inventory is running low to ensure timely restocking.

Drink Station Tasks

  • Restock glassware and silverware for customers’ convenience.
  • Restock ice for cold beverages.
  • Make sure that the drink station is clean to prevent contamination.

Iced Tea and Coffee Station Tasks

  • Restock glassware and silverware for customers.
  • Restock coffee necessities such as napkins, sugar, creamer, and coffee beans.
  • Restock ice for cold beverages.
  • Inspect the station for cleanliness to maintain hygiene.

Salad Bar Station Tasks

  • Restock plates and silverware for customers.
  • Restock salad bar items such as sliced vegetables, cheese, croutons, carrots, chopped tomatoes, and lettuce to keep the station fresh and appetizing.
  • Clean the station if needed.

Dessert Station Tasks

  • Restock plates and silverware for customers.
  • Restock pastries and cakes if needed.
  • Ensure the dessert station is clean.

Outdoor Station Tasks

  • Bring clean tableware and glasses to the outdoor station from the back.
  • Wipe down tables and chairs after each customer.
  • Tuck chairs under tables.
  • Ensure tables are ready for the next customer by restocking necessary supplies like condiments and napkins.
  • Disinfect menus and bill folders for new customers.
  • Clean and polish glassware and silverware.

End of the Shift Tasks

The following list of tasks should be performed after the shift ends.

Front of the House Station Tasks

  • Change the open sign to closed and inform any remaining guests that the restaurant is closing soon.
  • Turn off any background music playing in the dining area.
  • Turn off heaters, gas stoves, and ovens.
  •  Clean all chairs, tables, and booths.
  • Close all windows.
  • Clean the floors and make sure there are no leftover debris or crumbs.
  • Place chairs on top of tables.
  • Roll flatware in napkins and refill napkin holders
  • Empty crumb catchers and trash bins and replace trash bags.
  • Refrigerate any remaining prep ingredients. Don’t forget to label them.
  • Clean and sanitize all bathrooms, and restock them with toiletries.
  • Return clean dishes to their designated stations and load dirty dishes into the dishwasher.
  • Add used tablecloths, aprons, and napkins to laundry bins.
  • Clean the POS (Point of System) area.
  • Turn the security alarm on and switch off all lights.
  • Lock up the restaurant.

Drink Station Tasks

  • Clean and sanitize glassware and silverware.
  • Cork wine bottles.
  • Empty and clean soda machines and turn them off.

Iced Tea and Coffee Station Tasks.

  • Clean and sanitize glassware and silverware.
  • Empty and wash coffee and iced tea carafes.
  • Store any remaining ingredients.

Salad Bar Station Tasks

  • Clean and sanitize glassware and silverware.
  • Clean and sanitize the entire station and make sure that no food is left out.
  • Store any remaining ingredients.

Dessert Station Tasks

  • Clean and sanitize glassware and silverware.
  • Clean and sanitize the dessert case and ensure that no pastries or desserts are left out.
  • Store any remaining pastries or desserts

Outdoor Station Tasks

  • Clean and sanitize glassware and silverware.
  • Bring all outdoor chairs and tables back inside.
  • Close all outdoor umbrellas and store them properly.