Busser Training Course
- Greeting the guests – you are a part of the team, and your responsibilities are the same as every other FOH employee. Your contact with the guests will probably be after the waiter has already greeted them and told you to bring the bread or water to the table. Either way, when you first approach a new table, you welcome the guests with a smile and a friendly voice. (Audio)
- Further interaction with the table – every time you approach a table with guests, you need to interact with them discretely. If you are bringing a bottle of water or a jug of water, you will approach, introduce it quietly and ask if they would like to have some, starting with the ladies. If the guests are talking to each other and not paying attention, you will give them a few seconds to notice you and proceed further. If they are still not paying attention to you, you could approach a guest who is not talking at the moment and offer to them to fill their glass first.
-some guests don’t want to be interrupted with the service, and you will learn to read your tables with time. If this is the case, you should still approach the table, give them a second to notice you, and then quietly announce the bottle of water and put it on the table. However, this situation won’t happen very often, and you should not use it as an excuse to do it with every table, to save time and effort.
The basic rule is: you interact with the table every time you approach it to perform some service. It could be just an announcement or a smile and eye contact, but you are not walking like a ghost around the tables, never saying a word to the guests.
- Clearing the table – we remove the plates when all the guests finish their meal.
- If your waiter has sent you to the table, you approach the ladies first, and you ask politely: Are you through with your meal, madam? May I remove your plate?
- If you have seen first that the table is done eating and you approach them to clear the plates, you have to enquire about the food and their experience first and then proceed with clearing the dishes: Ladies and gentlemen, did you enjoy the salads and the soup? (or whatever they have been eating) May I remove your plates?
- You start with the ladies and go clockwise around the table until you collect all the plates and silverware that belong to this meal. You should always try to manage everything in one trip, but if this is impossible and you have no help, you can do it half and half.
- A table of four should be bussed from two persons in a fine dining restaurant. Most probably you will have to wait for your waiter’s instructions and help.
- We clear the plates from the guest’s right side with the right hand. Then, we transfer the plate to our left hand and proceed to the next guest.
- If a guest has used the wrong silverware for the meal, we will collect the used knife or fork together with the cutlery that belongs to this meal and then bring clean cutlery.
- If a guest has not eaten all of the food on the plate, we could scrap the remains with a fork into another container if we need to stack more dishes together. We will turn slightly away from the table, so the guests don’t see the procedure.
- part of your job is to help the waiter maintain the table clean at all times. Remove an empty glass, bottle, saucier, etc. When removing an empty cocktail or beer glass, you should ask for permission and offer another drink to the guest.
- the basic rule: we leave only the necessary silver-and glassware on the table. Everything else should be removed.
- refilling glasses – when the guests have a bottle of wine or water, and you see an empty glass, approach the guest and ask if they would like you to refill their drink. If the guest says, “No,” remember this guest and don’t repeat!
Exclusions from the rules:
- if we see guests stacking plates on top of each other, we remove them immediately, no matter if the other guests are still eating
- If a couple on the table is switching their plates, but one is empty, we will remove the empty plate.
- Preparing the table – setting up tables is part of your job description, and you need to know the basic rules of setting tables up. Remember that every restaurant has its own rules, and it is vital to learn those rules as soon as you start your employment. Learn also:
- the floor plan, table numbers, seat numbers (if the restaurant implements the system with seat numbers)
- the proper silverware and glassware set up: there are many different forks, knives, spoons, and glasses. It would help if you learned what they are used for and their place on the table.
- how to fold the napkins
- side station set up
You will prepare the tables:
- for the evening, we set up the restaurant ready for the guests.
- during the service hours – when a table leaves the restaurant, you have to clean it and set it up for the next party. You need to be quick and efficient.
- during the dinner, we need to prepare the table with the proper silver- and glassware according to the guests’ order once the waiter takes the food order. Your waiter should give you the order, and you should know where to put a steak knife, switch the salad fork with a soup spoon, etc.
Basic Rules of Setting the Table
The tablecloth is evenly laid, hanging approximately 25 cm on all sides or 2 cm away from the chairs’ edges.
If we use a square tablecloth for a round table, the edges of the tablecloth should hang from the table where the legs are.
If we use an overlay for formal dining, the edges of the overlay should hang precisely in the middle of the table sides without reaching the edge of the tablecloth.
The chairs are set precisely in the middle of the table sides. The edge of the seat should almost be touching the edge of the tablecloth.
The centerpiece will be in the middle of the table.
At the table for two, the centerpiece is placed in the middle at the edge of the table. Usually, the side next to the window or the wall.
We place the salt and pepper shakers next to the centerpiece
Make sure all the tables in the restaurant are arranged the same way for symmetry.
Place a charger or nicely folded napkin in front of the chair, 2 cm from the edge of the table.
First, we place the silverware, which the guest will use last, directly on the left and right sides of the charger (napkin).
Knives and a soup spoon are on the right side of the charger (napkin). The main course knife first. Forks are on the left side of the charger (napkin). Main course fork first.
If we use a napkin, make sure the space between the dinner knife and the dinner fork is enough to place a large main course plate.
The silverware is 2cm away from the edge of the table, in line with the charger or the napkin.
We place the salad fork so that the beginning of its prongs (teeth) is at the level where the dinner fork ends; it could also be leveled up or leveled down.
How to place the glassware:
–the glass that the guest will use first to be on top of the knives. In a la carte restaurant, this is usually the water glass.
-next to the water glass, we place the white wine glass and then the red wine glass
-every restaurant has a different style for the glasses. Learn it as soon as you can.