Approximately one-third of adults name a restaurant job as the point of entry into the workforce. The busser occupation falls into one of these entry-level positions. With the busser job description lie duties and skills that help these workers gain valuable experience and lessons for a future in the restaurant industry, as well as other employment sectors.
Busser Job Description: What Does a Busser Do?
Contributing to a clean restaurant forms only part of the busser job description. These workers must help enhance the experience of diners, protect the health of customers and the public. Also, preventing patrons from becoming intoxicated drivers and from endangering motorists and pedestrians.
Busser Job Duties
- Clean tables, chairs, booths and other dining areas after dining parties leave.
- Remove plates, glasses, utensils and other dinnerware.
- Vacuum or sweep floors underneath tables after guests have left the tables.
- Set tables with new and clean dinnerware, napkins, linens, condiments and other items for new guests.
- Deliver food to diners on request of wait staff or supervisors.
- Stock dinnerware, food, ingredients and other supplies for the establishment.
- Find or retrieve items at the request of customers.
- Assist bartenders with delivering drinks and evaluating whether customers may risk becoming intoxicated.
Busser Job Essential Skills
Organizational Skills. Cleaning and preparing tables include ensuring that all trash has been removed from the seats, tables and the floor space underneath them. In particular, surfaces and areas must be free of crumbs and should be sanitized. Depending on the restaurant, bussers must attend to the details of having specific appetizers, condiments, and silverware.
Customer Service Skills. Bussers interact with or are visible to diners and other customers. Offering good customer service includes promptly and courteously cleaning areas and answering customers’ questions or concerns.
Physical Strength. The busser job description involves bending, carrying, reaching, lifting, arm movements, standing and walking. Bussers must push and pull carts or bulk vacuum devices. Most of their shifts are spent on their feet, engaged in physical activity.
Becoming a Busser Professional
Applicants typically can fill busser positions without needing substantial experience, if any at all. Although these jobs are typically entry-level, state and local regulations and establishment owners’ concerns for quality, health, and safety often require bussers to have some training and certification.
Qualifications and Training
Bussing normally does not require formal education. According to O*NET, approximately 46 percent of bussers do not have a high-school diploma.
However, certain jurisdictions require food handlers, such as bussers, to earn food handling or similar certificates. The National Restaurant Association’s “ServSafe” affords the training and certification for functions such as food handling and alcohol service and food safety management.
Through this and other training, bussers learn the essentials of regulations concerning properly handling food; cleaning utensils, plates, cups and other dishes; and when to cease serving alcohol to patrons. However, even where certification is not legally-mandated, bussers may undergo training in sanitation, food handling, workplace safety and cleaning.
Generally, prior experience does not serve as part of the busser job description. However, certain restaurants may prefer bussers with experience in restaurant settings. Those who worked as bartenders might have an advantage having worked in a bar or other establishment that serves alcohol.
The busser job description includes a willingness to work evenings, weekends and holidays. At many restaurants, patronage spikes on occasions such as Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Christmas.
Certain bussing jobs are available only on a seasonal basis. For example, amusement parks often close during autumn and winter, while ski resorts in certain temperate areas may lie dormant in the summer.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, part-timers constitute a significant part of the food service labor force.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
The bussing occupation should experience job growth on par with occupations overall. The same O*NET reports a projected five to eight percent rise in the employment of “Dining Room and Cafeteria Attendants and Bartender Helpers,” which includes busboys, through 2024. While according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of this sector should rise by six percent through 2024.
Demand for bussers should come from the opening of new restaurants and the continued operation of existing ones. In fact, grocery and department stores increasingly feature at least fast-food restaurants or dining areas. Further, bussers have a high-turnover rate, suggesting that restaurants and other eateries constantly hire these workers.
The restaurant industry includes a significant component of small businesses as opposed to chains. According to the National Restaurant Association, more than 90 percent of restaurants carry fewer than 50 employees. Seven out of ten restaurant proprietors operate only one establishment or location.
As an entry-level position, bussing can propel these employees to other positions inside a restaurant, like waiter or waitress, managerial or other higher-level jobs in the restaurant field. The National Restaurant Association also reports nearly 80 percent of restaurant owners held an entry-level restaurant job, while 90 percent of restaurant managers were entry-level restaurant workers.
While they normally make just above minimum wage, bussers perform valuable services for patrons and the public. The bussing job description mixes elements of providing customer service, quality dining, and a safe, sanitary environment for customers. Also, to fulfill these duties, bussers must log several hours at a time standing, walking and performing physical tasks. In addition, attention to details ensures that eating spaces will be clean and safe.