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How to Be the Best Busser

This is where you find out how to be the best busser in a restaurant. Rise above the other little bus boys and girls and be the one the servers wish was working on their busiest nights. Once they ask you to work on Thanksgiving, you're in.


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    Know the tables and who is sitting at them. When your server says 'clear table 24' or 'bring this to the lady with the glasses' you will be much better off if you can think of where you are going off of the top of your head and get to it without wandering around staring at everyone.
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    Keep an eye on the door. This allows you to know when a new table arrives and you can immediately pour the waters and bring the bread. You can then also go into the kitchen and tell them 'two top!'(this means two customers at a table, four customers would be a 'four top'). The chefs like to keep a count on how many people they will be cooking for, and helping them earns you points in the kitchen.
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    Get on the good side of the chefs, they are the force behind the entire production. They make the goods. My chefs have always made dirty, dirty jokes and to conquer them- you must crack an even dirtier one. And then wink. You. Will. Be. In. It is essential. If you don't have it in you, at least naughtily laugh when they make theirs, half of the time I don't even hear what hey are saying. But I laugh.
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    Do the dirty work. On your first day, grab the dirty bus pan and take it back. Channel your inner tough gal/guy and dive into it as quickly as possible. Just go for it and empty that damn thing as quick as possible (in the dishes section of the kitchen), and then bring it back to home base (the busser station). Especially if you are a girl, impress the male dishwashers with how fearless you are. It feels good.
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    Don't kiss ass, but keep up with your waitress/waiter. It is important to ask every ten minutes or so if she/he needs anything. But do not bother the waitress/waiter. Read their faces, if they make eye contact, casually ask if they need anything or if you could get someone's drinks for them. Even if they don't need you, they like knowing that you are eager to help.
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    Be attentive, make rounds of the tables. Make sure that if there are cleared dishes sitting in front of people that you take them and put them in the bus pan. If people need more water, pour it. Scan the room for faces that may be asking you for something. Often people ask bussers for things that their waiters have forgotten, be ready.
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    Do your sidework. Polish silverware, restock napkins and glasses, refill the ice machine. There are different things in each restaurant that can be done when work is slow; do them. Perfect them. If you have no free time, make sure they get done at the beginning of your shift or at the end when things are slowest. Don't give anyone a reason to complain about you.
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    Finally, deserve to be chill. After all the rounds are made and all of the sidework is done, relax. When everyone is hanging out in the kitchen cracking jokes, join them. Be part of the team, but earn it.


  • Use your common sense, how would you want a busser to act when you are out to eat?
  • Get along with your waitress/waiter... they may just like you and tip you more than they are required to.
  • Refill waters as often as possible. Nothing is worse than an inattentive water-glass-filler, any diner knows this.
  • When customers clear their plate and then make that awkward 'i didn't like that one bit' joke...laugh like you have never heard it. The tip will be better.


  • If there is a glass that is impossible to get to...DO NOT REACH! Politely ask if it can be passed to you to fill.
  • Do not forget about plates, nothing is worse than seeing your waitress/ waiter walking back to the kitchen with a plate that you should have been on top of. If it happens, apologize but do not stress, you will get the next one.

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Categories: Hospitality