The Cycle of Service in Restaurants: Bussing Tables

March 9, 2018

Today’s blog is based on the fantastic learning library at Service That Sells. This trove of online training resources is one of the best places you can visit to help develop the service, sales, and management skills of you and your employees. Visit their site to learn more about the Cycle of Service workshops. While this series is directed specifically at restaurants, the information is applicable to any business, so please take the time to consider these points even if you’re in a different industry.

Third in The Cycle of Service is “Bussing Tables”. There are several important key points that are explained in the video embedded in the aforementioned webpage, so let’s cover those concepts in detail here.

Just like the previous post explained that hosts are critical to the dining experience, so too are assistants (also known as bussers). They are in a position to ensure that guests have a positive experience as well, handling miscellaneous duties throughout the meal. While some characterize assistants as the employees who are seen and not heard, this is wrong. They will have many moments of truth to make sure guests form a good opinion. Indeed, the position on the crew can help turn an average experience into an exceptional one.

For example, guests don’t want to see dirty dishes. Assistants must make sure these are removed after each course, but there’s an important rule of thumb to observe: only clear these dishes when the entire party has finished. If you clear them any sooner, the other guests might feel rushed. Be patient! Allow guests to feel like they can eat at their leisure. This is also a good opportunity to anticipate other needs: are drinks low? Does everyone have additional silverware for the next round?

When it comes time to reset a table for the next group, promptly and quietly remove dishes and debris. Ideally, keep that bussing tub out of view of guests by placing it either on a chair or within a booth. While cleaning, wipe crumbs into your hand or a napkin—never on the floor! Wipe down with a wet towel, both the table and the chairs. Make sure you keep the towel fresh: whenever it looks soiled, change it out. (You don’t want guests to think you’re cleaning tables with a dirty rag.) Lastly, check the condiment trays, seasoning shakers, and table tents to ensure they’re clean and full. This means wiping beneath them too. Keep an eye out for sticky areas!

Be sure to check out Service That Sells to learn more about these workshops, and stay tuned to us at The Brandt Group as we continue our overview of The Cycle of Service. We can help ensure your entire team is working together in a complementary manner to ensure maximum satisfaction for your customers. Reach out to us to learn more.

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