Busser Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: August 22, 2022

A Busser, or Food Runner, is in charge of setting and clearing tables at a dining establishment to provide a clean and tidy environment for restaurant patrons. Their duties include removing used dishes, re-setting silverware and filling beverages for diners.

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Busser Duties and Responsibilities

A Busser works primarily in the dining area of a restaurant or eatery. They move back and forth between these areas attending to diners and assisting waitstaff with their duties. A Busser’s duties and responsibilities include:

  • Removing used plates, glasses, cutlery and napkins from tables after diners are done eating
  • Wiping up water spills, food stains and dirt from tables
  • Straightening out the tablecloth or replacing stained ones
  • Replacing cutlery and glassware in anticipation of new diners
  • Refilling paper napkins, salt and pepper shakers and any other depleted condiments on the dining table
  • Refilling drinking glasses with water
  • Bringing out meal orders if waitstaff are busy
  • Handling cleaning of the dining area at the close of day
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What Does a Busser Do?

Bussers work at dine-in restaurants to support servers in attending to the needs of customers and ensuring that dining areas are sanitary and attractive. They stack and clear away dishes to the kitchen to reduce the turnover time between parties and keep tables readily available for incoming customers. Bussers also wipe down menus, sweep underneath tables, refill salt and pepper shakers, fold napkins and polish silverware. Their role is to make it easier for servers to provide prompt service and make more sales by attending to as many tables as possible. They also help deliver food and drinks to tables.

Busser Skills and Qualifications

A successful Busser will have the following prerequisite skills and qualifications to carry out their duties effectively:

  • Excellent customer service and people skills
  • In-depth knowledge of food sanitation and safety policies
  • Strong attention to detail
  • High energy levels
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Excellent verbal communication

Busser Salary Expectations

On average, bussers make $10.68 per hour. This estimate is collected from Bussers and restaurants who employ them around the country. Salary may vary depending on location. There are prospects of making more money through overtime and holiday bonuses.

Busser Education and Training Requirements

Bussers do not require any formal education, though having a high school diploma or a General Equivalent Development (GED) certificate is a good advantage. Most restaurants will provide you with on-the-job training. This training may involve cleaning procedures and basic customer service tips. The National Restaurant Association provides a food safety certification, which can be very useful. It requires completing an online course and taking an examination. A pass mark proves that a Busser has knowledge of food preparation, safe serving and safe storage processes.

Busser Experience Requirements

Bussing is an entry-level position, therefore it does not require any work experience. You can become a Busser while still in high school or after finishing high school. All a Busser needs to know can be learned on the job.

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Frequently asked questions about Bussers


What makes a good Busser?

Good Bussers thrive in fast-paced environments and start clearing up tables right away once customers leave. They are perceptive enough to notice who needs their help at any given time and shift from one responsibility to the next. Excellent Bussers also have great dexterity and balance because they work with fragile dishes and glasses that could break in the course of stacking dishes and taking them to the dish pit. Successful Bussers need to have great customer service skills and a good memory so that they can update their coworkers about the status of each party’s meal.


What does a Busser do each day?

Bussers generally start their shift by doing general housekeeping tasks like rolling silverware, straightening chairs, sorting inventory and checking for any reservations. As customers arrive, they deliver drinks from the bar and refill waters and sodas. They clear away empty plates and put them away once they are clean. Bussers clean up any spills or other messes as they occur, help servers deliver food and deliver bills to customer tables. At the end of the day they work with other staff members to mop the floors and perform other cleaning tasks.


Who does a Busser report to?

Bussers report to the Assistant Manager or General Manager of a restaurant. They may also check in with the Head Server to get instructions on their specific responsibilities each day. Head Servers may also oversee a Busser’s training because they have the most hands-on experience with taking care of tables. Because Bussers connect the front of house staff who serve customers with the back of house staff who prepare food and wash dishes, they are in constant communication with most positions at a restaurant.


What is the difference between a Busser and a Server?

Bussers act in a support role to Servers, helping them take care of small details so they can provide efficient and friendly service. While Servers take orders and enter them into a POS system, Bussers focus on delivery and cleanliness. Some Bussers do not interact with diners at all, exclusively cleaning up after them and performing general housekeeping.

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