10 Things Bussers Wish You Knew
You can give the waitstaff a hand by avoiding a handful of bad habits.
Don’t Take Things from Another Table
We’ve all been here—you’re missing a ketchup bottle and you notice the nearby table has one within reach. But the staff has a system, and when you take something from another table, that group will now be down an item when they’re seated. Next time, flag your server and ask for an extra. Here are more polite dining mistakes that people make.
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Don’t Stack Your Dishes
This one is surprising, but stacking dishes for your busser may be more annoying than helpful. Bussers know what they’re doing, and they have a routine. Prestacking can interrupt their flow, so let them handle the cleanup. Check out the other things that annoy your waiter, too.
Moving dishes so they’re closer to the busser, though? That’s helpful.
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You Can Clean up After Your Kids
Staff at kid-friendly restaurants typically know how to handle toddlers, but whether you’re going to a local chain or a high-end restaurant, it’s helpful to clean up after a particularly messy meal. You don’t need to sweep the floors, but bussers say it’s helpful if you tidy up larger messes, like toppled plates and big spills.
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Don’t Put Clean Napkins on Dirty Plates
This goes for everything on the table: clean silverware, sugar packets, unused straws, etc. If it’s unused—and it’s not food—don’t add it to the dirty pile. This creates more work for your busser and ultimately leads to more waste. Check out these other restaurant secrets.
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Push Your Chairs In
This one is another surprise, but if you’re sitting at a table with chairs, please push them in before you leave. No busser, server or customer wants to be weaving between empty chairs to get to their next location. Whether you’re going to one of the best restaurant in the U.S. or wrapping up a meal at your local cafe, be polite—push in that chair.
Don’t Blow Your Nose in a Cloth Napkin
Yes, this happens and no, don’t do it! Your napkin will get added to the pile of other cloth napkins that’s headed to the washer, and there’s nothing quite as horrifying as grabbing a cloth napkin and realizing your hand is covered in someone else’s sneeze.
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Don’t Overfill Your Glasses
We often think we’re helping restaurant staff by pouring all our leftover beverages into one glass. That way they only have to carry one full glass back, right? But overfilled glasses are prone to spilling, so by pouring all your liquid into one glass, it actually makes your busser’s life harder.
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Don’t Leave Everything Sticky
This one goes for both adults and children—if you spill something, alert your server or busser, so they can clean it up. Water can be tackled with napkins, but if there’s a juice spill, soup overflow or chocolate sauce catastrophe—there’s no shame in asking for a cleanup at table five.
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Keep Your Napkins Out of Those Glasses
Done with your meal? Please don’t put your napkin (or any kind of waste) in your drinking glass. When bussers take dishes back to the kitchen, they’re putting them straight in the dishwasher—unless they need to dig out a wet, used napkin from a glass. Yuck. See the dining etiquette rules that no one follows anymore.
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It’s OK to Tip!
At the end of the night, bussers get tipped from the pool, so you can rest easy knowing that some of your tip is going to them. If you have an exceptionally great busser, it’s more than OK to slip them a tip on your way out. Unless the restaurant has a policy against it, no one can turn down a good tip!