If you are like many hotels, you are looking for ways to reduce your costs in your restaurants to compensate for the lower revenues. In this first cutting payroll edition, we are going to discuss how to cut the busser (bussperson, busboy) position. Many restaurant chains across the country have now eliminated the busser position. Take a look at this article describing how chains such as T.G.I. Friday’s have eliminated the position.
First, a brief overview of how we see the bussperson position. Bussers are the key to a restaurant’s cleanliness. They are relatively inexpensive to have on the floor during busy times. However, they can really hamper good guest service. Restaurants tend to use bussers to help the servers serve guests by doing things such as offering beverages and pre-bussing. The problem is that guests cannot tell the difference between a server and a busser. It does not matter if their uniforms are different. When an employee approaches a guest’s table and offers a beverage, the guest expects that person is going to serve them. Unfortunately, they do not always speak English and are not trained to properly serve the guest. Many guest’s questions are answered with a blank stare or with, “I’ll get the server”. Servers should serve. They should be the first to greet the guest when they are seated. They should take the drink orders and deliver them. They should pre-buss and should deliver the checks. A busser should never go to a guest’s table while there is a guest present. If a busser is doing any of these tasks out of necessity, your server probably is unable to handle the number of tables he/she has been assigned. You should reduce his/her table count until his/her service improves.