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Busser Overview

Nobody is drawn to a restaurant by a disheveled dining room, even if the food is great. That’s where bussers come in. They clear dishes, straighten tables and otherwise create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for diners. If you’re looking for an entry into restaurant or hospitality work, becoming a busser might give you the experience you need.

Responsibilities

  • Refill drinks and bread. You’re always keeping an eye out for who needs more water, more bread, an extra napkin — anything you can do to help.
  • Assist with food delivery. If the restaurant is busy or if a party has a large order, you’ll help servers carry food to the tables and serve it to guests.
  • Clear dishes. When diners have finished their food, you’ll take their dishes, utensils, and glassware back to the kitchen for washing.
  • Arrange place settings and seating. After guests leave, you’ll wipe down the table tops, make the table neat again, and layout new place settings for the next diners.

Skills

  • Customer service. The most important part of bussing is making sure that you’re courteous and helpful to both customers and your fellow staff. There’s a difference between snatching a plate away and offering to box up a meal.
  • Attention to detail. You don’t miss a smear on a table, a table missing a salt shaker, or skip over a booth that needs a wipedown.
  • Physical endurance. Being a busser means you’ll spend your shift running between the kitchen and dining room, carrying plates and adjusting furniture. So be ready to bring energy and mobility to your job.

Experience

Bussers don’t need much experience to get hired in a restaurant. Depending on how much responsibility bussers take on at a given restaurant, some may require a year of experience in a food service establishment, but most are looking for an enthusiastic attitude and willingness to be part of a team. 

Bussers can go on to be hosts, servers, or other front or back of house positions in food service.

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