Young professionals in search of an entry-level opportunity in the service industry would be wise to consider a position as a busser. Positions of this variety offer young professionals a great chance to learn about the daily operations of a restaurant and gain experience that will prove valuable later in a career in the service industry. Below we have furnished the basic elements of a busser job description with general information important for young professionals considering a foray into the service industry.
A busser is not at the forefront of a restaurant's front of the house team; instead, a busser serves as the most integral supporting character in the service team. In practical terms, the busser job description includes refilling water glasses and other drinks, running food to tables in a timely manner, and re-stocking all supplies necessary for expeditious service of each and every guest. This role often expands to include other duties as the restaurant's needs change over the course of any particular service.
What Is a Busser?
A busser is a service industry professional who is in charge of supporting a restaurant's wait staff in any way that may be necessary. As we will elucidate below, this most often means clearing tables, filling water glasses, and running food. However, an excellent busser will expand upon these duties to facilitate the flawless service of the establishment by which he or she is employed.
Based on the nature of the job, bussers must be able to stand and walk for long periods of time, as a particular service will require the busser to spend hours moving fluidly through the restaurant in order to perform his or her duties. In addition to this requirement, bussers must be able to lift and carry a substantial weight which differs from one restaurant to another.
Social skills are another important facet of what employers look for in a busser. This is essential because the busser will have to interact amicably with guests to facilitate a satisfactory experience. This is especially important in instances in which the busser is particularly busy and in which the guest is dissatisfied with the service. Furthermore, the busser must be able to interact productively with all members of the front of the house and back of the house team.
Because timing is so important in a restaurant, a busser job description almost invariable stipulates that the successful candidate will have the ability to work quickly. This can be difficult for new bussers, but, as a busser gains experience, pace will come more naturally.
Is There a Need for Bussers?
At present, the service industry in the United States is growing at a rate that far outpaces most other industries, meaning there is a consistent and robust demand for bussers and other service industry professionals throughout the country. Almost all restaurants, except very small operations, require a busser, if not during all shifts then at least during their peak hours which tend to begin in the evening and stretch into the night, particularly on the weekends. There are exceptions to this principle in restaurants that specialize in breakfast or lunch service.
Demand for bussers is strongest in the downtown areas of cities, as is the case with most professions; however, opportunities for bussers are available throughout the country.
Bussers may be tempted to lament their position at the bottom of the totem pole in whichever restaurant they begin working, but experience as a busser is a helpful addition to the resume of those who aspire to apply for more prestigious and lucrative positions within the service industry. Working as a busser is often a prerequisite for work as a server or a bartender as the responsibilities of these occupations overlap.
Once a busser has achieved the rank of server, he or she may pursue desirable long-term opportunities by learning about wine and the relevant food pairings, pursuing a position as a service captain, or working towards a position in restaurant management.
Provide Information on the Busser Job Description
The busser job description is myriad in nature and may alter over the course of a shift based on the oscillatory needs of the front of the house staff in the dining room. In the broadest possible strokes, a busser is responsible for supporting the wait staff by refilling water glasses, running dishes to tables, and turning over recently vacated tables to seat new parties. These responsibilities may expand as the busser becomes more experienced and the needs of the restaurant change.
Maintain an Efficient Dining Environment
The efficacy of a dining room is integral to the long-term financial success of a restaurant. The maintenance of this variety of efficiency involves, first and foremost, ensuring each guests needs and requests are met promptly, thereby contributing to a positive dining experience for all. From the perspective of a busser, efficiency means refilling water glasses and fielding guest requests when the relevant server is otherwise occupied and thereafter arranging for the accommodation of those requests.
Another integral responsibility with which bussers are charged is facilitating an expeditious turnover of tables for another service. Practically speaking, this means, when one party leaves the restaurant, the busser must quickly clear the table of any tableware and reset the table so another party has the opportunity to be seated and served.
Assist the Wait Staff on a Flexible Basis
Bussers must be available to expand upon the refreshment of water glasses in their service of a party, especially a large party, as per a server's request on a flexible basis. This assistance will most often take the form of assistance in transporting plates to a particular table or running drinks for a busy bartender. However, bussers may also be asked to liaise with the kitchen staff or re-stock a particular item in relative haste based on the strictures of the present need in the restaurant.
Dress in Accordance With Restaurant Policy
Restaurants most often require all staff members to wear a specified uniform in order to cultivate an image consistent the management team's vision for the establishment. Therefore, a busser's appearance is an important aspect of his or her responsibilities while performing other duties as a discrepancy in the appearance of one staff member undermines the consistency essential in the service industry. Naturally, the formality of dress requirements differs substantially from one restaurant to the next.
Additionally, restaurants often have a policy regarding piercings and tattoos, generally that they be covered or removed, if they are overly prominent. In most cases, simply covering them will be enough, and often only if they are of a controversial nature. The key is maintaining a professional appearance while in the dining room.
Re-stock Supplies As Necessary
Over the course a busy service period, a restaurant uses all sorts of wares such as utensils, glassware, and coffee cups to the point at which resupply is necessary. It is the responsibility of the busser to facilitate this resupply by serving as a liaison between the dishwashing station and the front of the house to ensure this resupply does not create a lapse in concurrent service to the guests in the dining room. An astute busser will accomplish this task by keeping a close eye on all necessary items and initiating the resupply before the need is felt by the wait staff.
In the process of fulfilling his or her re-stocking responsibilities, a busser will often find it is wise to communicate with the dishwashing station to inform the staff there of which items in particular are needed in the front of the house. Communicating in this way will prevent impediments to resupply based on the absence of clean items of any variety.
Continually Clean and Organize the Bussing Station
Somewhere in the dining room there will be a bussing station at which a busser will have the supplies they need to perform their duties efficiently. When the dining room is busy and busser is charged with performing tasks quickly, it will be tempting to ignore the cleanliness of this station to an ever-growing extent. Maintaining the cleanliness of the bussing stations, especially when the restaurant is busy, is an essential tenant of the busser job description. Cleanliness, or the lack thereof, throughout the restaurant will be noted by the guests and constitutes an important portion of their dining experience.
In instances in which two or more bussers are expected to work together for a particular service, they should agree on a method by which they will organize the bussing station in order to avoid one busser continually undoing the work of another.
Bussers serve an indispensable role in restaurants in which they support the wait staff in a number of ways as per the stipulations of the busser job description. Some of a busser's duties are highly predictable while others are more situationally dependent and; therefore, somewhat random. Regardless of a task's nature, a busser must be unfailing communicative and pleasant with guests and colleagues alike to ensure a pleasant dining experience. With experience as a busser, young professionals in the service industry are well positioned to move to other, more desirable positions, in the industry.
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