DOWNLOAD: Server Sidework Checklist
Servers typically do work in the restaurant in addition to their main serving tasks. Server sidework consists of duties like refilling table condiments, restocking beverage and server stations, cleaning of service areas and other functions as determined by management. Sidework should be completed during each servers shift.
It's important to have detailed sidework assignments so that servers are clear what they are responsible for and that these tasks are completed in a consistent, timely manner. Sidework assignments or checklists should also be prepared for bussers, host/hostess and any other front of the house positions.
How to Develop Your Own Sidework Checklists
Sidework duties can differ by the type restaurant your operate. Here's a systematic way to identify your sidework duties so you can develop your own customized checklists:
- Identify Opening Sidework Duties. Make a list of all the tasks and functions that must be completed in the front of the house before the restaurant opens. This would include all those activities and work that need to be done in the dining room, beverage stations, server stations and other service areas. Also include functions servers may help the kitchen with including filling salad dressing containers and plating salads and desserts.
When identifying tasks for server sidework, keep in mind that you are probably paying your servers less per hour than your kitchen employees who don't earn tips. While you don't want to take this too far, shifting some opening kitchen tasks to servers may save you some kitchen hours.
- Assign Tasks to Server Stations. Dole out these tasks to each station for the first shift of the day. The tasks should be assigned to stations in a way that allows for efficient completion of the tasks and in a way that evenly divides the work amount all stations as much as possible. In many restaurants the time needed to complete opening server sidework is about 30 minutes.
- Identify "Running Sidework" Duties. Next determine what sidework functions need to be completed during the meal periods. Running sidework, as it's usually referred to, involves keeping server work areas adequately stocked and minor cleaning functions. This work can be divided up among the servers and bussers.
- End of Shift Functions. Create a detailed list of all the tasks servers should complete before the end of the day-part shift. Assign these tasks to servers based on the in which servers are scheduled to leave. You don't want to assign a server, who leaves early, those tasks that will have to be repeated again before the end of the shift.
The goal should be to have as little sidework as possible left for servers on the PM shift. Ideally, you want PM servers to begin their shifts with a check to see their tables are in order and the service areas are adequately stocked. This also, creates time and less distractions for pre-shift meetings.
- Closing Duties. Make a list of all the sidework that should be completed at the end of the PM shift. This normally includes storing and refrigerating food products, cleaning server areas, beverage dispensers and dining room areas and refilling table condiments.
Some restaurants require servers that leave early have their timecards initialed by servers scheduled to leave last to indicate their sidework has been completed. Servers that leave last have their time cards initialed by a manger who is responsible for checking to see that all the sidework has been completed.
You can download a sample Server Sidework Checklist as a Rich Text Format (.rtf) file which can be opened in most word processing programs.