So you’re new to the restaurant biz. By now, you’ve probably learned that restaurant jobs entail several hours on your feet while constantly having to run around picking up empty dishes and clearing tables. Oh, and then you get to remain on your feet as you spend even more time washing them in the kitchen.
But hey, you still play a key role in the restaurant. While you may believe that it’s far from glamorous, these are just the humble beginnings on your journey to becoming an award-winning chef someday. And even if being a head chef is not your ultimate goal, you are building a work ethic that will last a lifetime and cultivating your ability to work with a team.
In the meantime, here’s some of our tips for new bussers.
Don’t wait till the end of the meal to clear all of the dishes
People eat a lot of food and order a lot of different dishes throughout their meals. So unless you want to see Mount Dish Monster begin to rise up on tables across the restaurant, work with the waitstaff to clear dishes throughout the meal. You’ll thank us later.
For example, clear appetizer plates and soup bowls from earlier in the meal to make room on the table for the entree plates. Just remember to always ask if the customer is done with their plate before you take it from them. Imagine the horror of a five-year-old kid looking over to discover that his plate of half-finished mac and cheese has suddenly vanished. Now you have a screaming kid in full tantrum mode in the middle of your restaurant. Way to go. Nobody wants to deal with that, so just ask.
Be invisible when removing dishes from tables
Since you don’t have an actual cloak of invisibility on you, you’re going to have to improvise here. The best bussers are quiet and nonchalant while removing dishes from tables and taking them back to the kitchen to be washed.
Only use your hands to clear a table while customers are there. This means that you shouldn’t be rolling out large trays, buckets, or dish racks while your customers are eating. Nothing says ambient and peaceful dining like dishes clanking together on a dirty tray with leftover pasta sauce seeping through it.
Don’t forget about the unused tables
Obviously, it’s important to ensure that the tables being used by customers are cleaned prior to being used. When a customer is seated, they should find a clean table awaiting them. However, don’t ignore the other tables scattered around the restaurant that aren’t currently being used.
Imagine that you’re being seated at a restaurant. Your table is clean and set for you, but the table right next to yours is covered in used napkins, ketchup smears, and the other busser is asleep on the booth chair. That’s not exactly the look that your restaurant is trying to capture, and the customers notice this. Even if their table is clean, other nasty tables may give them the impression that this restaurant is dirty, so make sure that all tables are constantly being cleaned. Remember, you are part of a team.
Be helpful wherever you can, but recognize if you can’t
You’ve probably heard this before, but you should always go the extra mile. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it will also get you noticed by your superiors. Good bussers should learn as much as they can about the restaurant and its menu so that they can answer customer questions when they arise. Also, if you notice a small customer need such as a drink refill, you can help out with these simple tasks as well.
However, if a customer needs something or asks a question that you don’t know or don’t have the authority to complete, promptly find them a staff member who can help. Remember, these are still your humble beginnings, so it’s not time to go all executive chef right now. Help out where you can, get noticed, and start climbing up that food ladder!
Want to learn more about what SR Max® can do for you? Check us out at www.srmax.com