Bussing Tables – know more

Every industry has its inner order to follow so it can continue working as it should. When it comes to the cuisine world, there are infinite terms and responsibilities most people are unfamiliar with, like “bussing tables”. The truth is that there are several steps in between cooking a dish and getting it to the table, and this article will help you understand one of those steps. 

Bussing Tables

You might wonder what the term “bussing tables” is, well; it refers to the job of properly cleaning and preparing a table right after commensals leave. But there are questions still rising, like “where does the term come from?”, or “what is the detailed job description of bussing tables?”, and soon you’ll know the answers!

The origin of Bussing Tables

Bussing table is a common American term that is linked to that of a busboy or busgirl. If the proper care of removing dishes and replacing table supplies is known as “bussing tables”, then the busboy (or busgirl) is in charge of doing that job. 

The history behind the job: The latter concept was used for the first time in the 1800s to abbreviate another one: “omnibus boy”. The word “omnibus” is related to the act of realizing multiple things at the same time, which explains why this term was employed to call the waiter’s assistant; he (most probably a man in the past) was in charge of many tasks related to the table service, like removing dishes and filling glasses.

Years after the term “busboy” was coined and used in printed media, “bussing tables” became popular too. Nowadays, the word “busser” has displaced the terms “busboy” and “busgirl” since both genders have equal possibilities to occupy this job. 

A Busser’s Activities 

Bussing tables is more than cleaning and setting up tables, a busser should be ready to complete any menial work that is needed in the restaurant.

In 2012 it was reported that a person didn’t need any work experience or even a high school diploma to serve as a busser. This norm hasn’t changed, that’s why many teenagers start working as bussers during the summer. Additionally, the working hours of a busser are pretty flexible, so teenagers work as part-time workers. 

Duties and Responsibilities of a Busser: The busser works with waiters and the kitchen to guarantee tables are ready to be served, this includes restocking supplies like salt or pepper, keeping the glasses full, providing corresponding silverware, and also alerting the waiting staff when commensals need something. 

Although there are no certifications needed to become a busser, some personality traits may be helpful when serving in this position. Politeness and attentiveness, for example, are basic features required to work in the restaurant industry. Bussing tables may sound like an easy job, but unless you’re willing to collaborate with every other staff member to provide the best service, it may be really challenging. It can also be physically demanding, so keep in mind that to be a busser means to show strength and proactivity all the time. 

Where does the Busser stand?

If we speak of hierarchical order, the busser is under the waiting staff and is sort of equal to the dishwasher. Bussing tables might also be the lowest-paid position in the restaurant industry. However, a busser has more chances to climb work positions since he usually is training to become part of the waiting staff, by learning about customer service and cleanliness procedures. 

How exactly does the busser stand a chance to climb? Well, by working outside of the kitchen and seeing guests as well as how they interact with waiters, the busser gains plenty of experience, which enables him to attain higher positions with time. 

How much it pays to Buss Tables?

As expected, it might be hard for a person to afford a living by only bussing tables. Although payments depend on the restaurants, most of them pay from $7 to $12 for an hour. A busser’s annual income is possibly around $20,000. Additional money can come from tips too, as some restaurants divide them between the whole serving staff. 


Bussing tables is not a new term, but it is often unknown to society. It implies the work of cleaning and keeping tables in order while commensals are served. Interestingly, there’s a chance that the majority of teenagers in the country serve as bussers some time in their lives, so, although it is not easy or a high-paid job, should be acknowledged because it provides personal growth opportunities as every other occupation. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Does a busser ever serve food?

Sometimes when they’re busy hours, but, idealistically speaking, he shouldn’t. 

Since what age do restaurants start hiring bussers?

Some restaurants start hiring from 14 years old for this position. 

Is it legal to work as a busser if I’m a minor?

It is, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, but there are various restrictions regarding the working hours. 

Bussing Tables – know more

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