Need to close? Here's what to do

The Dig farm-to-fork chain and the New York City Hospitality Alliance have put together and circulated this checklist for restaurant operators.
closed restaurant chairs
Photograph: Shutterstock

Most states have permitted restaurants to offer takeout and delivery amid the crusade for social distancing. Others have decided the payback isn't worth the effort, their menus don't work for off-premise or they worry about the potential risk to staff. Whatever the reason, they opt to close. Here's a list of what to do if you choose that course of action, courtesy of the Dig farm-to-fork restaurant chain and the New York City Hospitality Alliance, a trade group for New York City restaurants, bars and nightclubs that has been active in helping members protect their staffs and businesses. Included are the frequently asked questions (FAQs) of restaurateurs facing a decision.

Restaurant Closing Checklist: COVID-19 Response

Purpose: To provide clear guidance on what actions a restaurant should take to close its restaurant during the COVID-19 restaurant shutdown.

Procedure: Complete the below checklists. Email a photo or scan of the completed document to [Point/Team of Contact email address].


Food Items Checklist

Proteins, Vegetables, Dairy, and Sauces

Removed from stand-alone refrigeration units and either:

  1. Allow employees to take home
  2. Donate to approved partners. If no longer in original packaging, pack all raw produce, prepped proteins & cooked foods into catering trays [or any large disposable trays]. All items are labelled with the item name and date.
  3. Transfer to another restaurant, if the donation partner cannot take particular items.

No perishables left on site, walk-ins left empty except beverages

Dry Food Products (rice, farro, etc)Remain in tightly sealed containers. Confirm date/name labels have been added and up to date.
BeveragesRemoved from stand-alone refrigeration and stored in the walk-in. If there is no space in the walk-in, store with dry goods at least 6 inches off the floor
Frozen Foods[Insert process for saving or disposing.]


[Food Inventory Software] Checklist

Food Shared with Team Members (priority 1)[Insert directions on how to log transfer/waste]
Food for Donations or Transfers[Insert directions on how to log transfer/waste]
Commissary Orders + Invoices[If applicable, insert directions on how to close out/approve all invoices]
Closing Inventory[Insert directions on how and what to inventory]


Tech Checklist

POSLeave all POS terminals powered on and plugged into a viable power source. Put the display to sleep by [insert directions]. Make sure ALL payments have been batched out and any walk-in orders have been closed.
Online Orders & 3rd Party DeliveryNotify [guest experience team or equivalent] of any unconfirmed orders so that they may cancel and communicate with guests.
Hardware TransportIn the event you have been instructed to transfer hardware (e.g., 3rd party delivery tablets, printers and wires) to a different restaurant, do so.
Hardware SecurityFor anything not being transported to another restaurant, secure in safe, e.g., all laptops, floating tablets, printers and wires.
MusicDo NOT turn off amps or any sound equipment. Turning these off can cause problems when the restaurant opens back up.


Facilities & Food Safety Checklist

HVACKeep on; Set to [recommended temperature: 70-72°F]
Hot Equipment
  • Turn off Main Gas Valve that feeds cook line Note: Turn off the gas valve on each individual unit and then the main line. For additional instructions contact [Point of Contact].
  • Turn off all hot equipment (i.e. ovens, grills)
  • Unplug all stand alone refrigerators
  • Once refrigerators are completely defrosted, clean and sanitize units thoroughly to prevent odor and food build up
  • [If applicable] Verify the ejector pump is receiving electrical power. Check the outlet or control box. Note: For additional instructions contact your [Point of Contact].
  • Turn off water supply to any leaking faucets/units
  • Clear drains of food debris and clean thoroughly
ExhaustIf possible manually turn off the exhaust fan via the electrical switch. Otherwise, if the unit is programmed do not touch.
ElectricalUnplug all non-essential equipment from outlets ([provide examples])
Garbage Room
  • Deep clean room and bins and turn upside down for drying
  • Deep clean all dining room and kitchen trash bins. Move to the garbage room and turn upside down for drying.
  • Dry all standing water
  • Move all paper goods to 6” above floor
Green RoomRemove all employee belongings. Any leftover belongings shall be disposed of.
GeneralDeep clean the entire restaurant to remove any food debris and standing water in hard-to-reach areas. This includes underneath undercounter dish machines, refrigeration units, etc.
External[If applicable] Remove the lockbox from the front door before locking the restaurant. Note: A manager MUST take home the key in case of emergency.



What happens with my restaurant's external preventative maintenance?The [Facilities Team, or equivalent] will be suspending all preventative maintenance to your restaurant while it is closed. This includes exhaust cleanings, grease trap cleanings, fire/life safety, and pest control PM’s.
Should I be calling in critical repairs? Should I be calling in non-critical repairs?[Insert process for critical and non-critical repairs in closed restaurants]
Do I need to notify external parties of my restaurant's closure?[If yes, provide directions. If no, indicate who from corporate will be responsible for this.]
Who should I contact if I have questions about a checklist?Each checklist has a designated support member assigned to its tasks. Contact that person.


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