Employee Training Guide for a Busser


Welcome to the Service Team of Riddles and Vittles. We hope the experience you encounter as you fulfil your duties as a Buser will be very rewarding.

Busser is a high profile job in the hospitality industry. It is through you that we at Riddles and Vittles extend the hospitality of this establishment to every guest. If you succeed in creating a pleasant atmosphere to which guests return, you are contributing to valuable service in the field of public relations.

Busser offers many opportunities for personal development and growth. You meet people from all walks of life and from all over the world. You learn to cope with a broad range of people and situations. New friendships develop as you interact with co-workers and guests.

You have an opportunity to learn many aspects of food preparations, and the proper methods of presentation and serving.

Busser is an interesting job, but it is not an easy job. With this in mind our manual has been prepared for your benefit. We ask that you study it (and any additional material we suggest) very carefully.

Being prepared for your job will make it much easier for you. The satisfaction of a job well done, and the resulting financial rewards are direct results of the effort you've put into your job.

In any job, reliability and punctuality are of prime importance.

  • All staff must come in on time. If you are sick or cannot make it to work for some other reason, or you are going to be late, call the hostess at 555-5555. All shifts must be filled for operations to run smoothly. If you are sick, the following are recommended guidelines for calling in sick.
  • If scheduled for morning shift, call the night before and speak to the hostess.
  • If scheduled for evening shift, call the morning of that shift and notify hostess.
  • make sure your uniform is clean and pressed;
  • have your clean, white, ironed Riddles & Vittles T - Shirt;
  • be sure your footwear (white running shoes - no logos ) is comfortable, clean, and in good condition;
  • have clean white socks;
  • have clean, well pressed red shorts;
  • make sure you are wearing a minimum of jewellery and make-up:
  • Be sure you are wearing your name tag. It is an important part of your uniform;
  • personal cleanliness is a must, as is a clean, neat hair style. Long hair must be attractively tied back.


As Bussers, you are in the eye of our valued costumers. You should present a positive attitude as you perform your duties with professional efficiency.

  • Clear tables and take dirty dishes to dishwasher
  • Wipe down tables and chairs
  • Ensure the floor is debris-free;
  • Reset tables
  • Supply waitress stations with cutlery, glasses, napkins, placemats and ashtrays
  • Help stack dishes properly for dishwasher
  • Keep ice supplies filled
  • Keep pop dispenser clean and ice tray supplied
  • Check washrooms hourly
  • Refill guest's water glasses;
  • Check used menus and if presentable - return to hostess station. Discard dirty menus
  • When busing tables and guest has left credit card slip, place white cardboard slip in credit card slips box and return soft slip to appropriate waitress


Following is the latest compilation of Busser duties. Please excuse any redundancies:

  • Clear away remaining dishes from tables. Stack them neatly in bus tub placed on tray stand;
  • Make sure each and every table is thoroughly wiped with a moist cloth before setting tables. This also means moving Bingo cards, sugar, salt, and pepper from center of table to clean this area too!
  • Organize Bingo cards neatly with green fronts facing out and upright. Place them in Bingo card holder. Organize sugar, salt, and pepper, etc neatly with center of table;
  • NEATLY set table with napkins, cutlery, dishes and placemats. A messy table setting reflects poorly on you and the restaurant. Set the table for required number of people;
  • Sweep away crumbs from underneath the tables on the floor each time you clear and set them;
  • Remove, clean and put away any booster seats used plus any high chairs. Please make sure you clean these thoroughly -- especially high chairs as food dries on them and is very hard to clean later. It is embarrassing to have a customer point out that a high chair is not clean enough and/or for them having to wait while you clean it for them;
  • During the evening make sure the ice tray at the pop cooler and at the sink are full of ice and have scoops;
  • Frequently check and fill teapots, and make sure there is always a full pot of coffee during the busy hours;
  • Go around the tables and offer hot fresh coffee to any customer who already has a cup. If a customer wants a coffee for the first time, get a tray and fill a coffee cup with a saucer and cream or milk & serve it to the customer. Please tell the waitress that you have served them a coffee for the first time;
  • Throughout the night make sure the water jugs are full and walk around the restaurant and fill any customers glass that is empty;
  • Clean up any spillage on the floor quickly with a mop. Please tell the waitress and anyone else to watch their step. It can be very embarrassing for you, a customer, or a waitress with a full tray to fall;
  • During busy times take a mental note of the tip amount that was left on the table you are clearing, go back to the waitress station and check the floor plan to see which waitress has that section. Place the tip in their tip cup labeled with their name. Make sure you place the tip in the right cup !! Also, check the chalk board to see if there have been any changes to the floor plan --- a waitress may have taken an extra table--before placing the tip in the cup;
  • During slower times let the waitress pick up the tip from her table;
  • During busy times place the whole credit card form in the waitress's tip cup. Remember, we are a team and you receive a portion of the tips too, so please make sure you follow these guidelines. Pocketing of tip money will result in dismissal;
  • During the evening , fill stations with cutlery, dishes, napkins and placemats if needed. Having them well stocked at all times will save you and the waitress time when setting tables;
  • As a busser you must be throughly acquainted with the diningroom. You must know each table number ( A, C6 etc.) and each waitress by name. Thorough knowledge and use of these two requirements will most likely prevent any embarrassing situations which can arise regarding tips. You must understand and use the system for collecting and depositing tips;
  • Know where all supplies for the diningroom (serviettes, placemats, etc.) are kept;
  • Since the main purpose for being in the diningroom is to clear and set tables, you must know the proper procedure for both. When clearing tables, use a bustub appropriate to the table size when available;
  • Any articles left on the tables as money, guest check, sun glasses, camera, etc. must be taken to the front desk;
  • You will be responsible for keeping the stations stocked with glasses, silverware, side plates, ashtrays, etc. At no time should we have to go from station to station and finally to the kitchen in search of items to set the tables. Make every trip you make from the kitchen to the diningroom and vise versa count;
  • If at any time you notice food, water, etc. on the floor you should immediately clean this up. This type of situation can be very dangerous both to staff and guests;
  • From time to time you may be asked to perform duties related to the general operation of the diningroom. These requests could include cleaning windows, getting ice for water jugs, weeding herb garden, checking bathrooms, helping in the kitchen;
  • Any problems you encounter must be cleared up immediately. Talk to the hostess or manger to clear up any misunderstandings. We must not harbour tensions which is visible to our guests. The work atmosphere we as staff members create is very infectious. Let's all do our very best to make our working and dining atmosphere enjoyable;
  • Your job is a very important one in the overall service to our guests. Take pride in your work and the respect and friendship you workers and guests will be a pleasant bonus.


  • During our busy season, tables have to be prepared very quickly. This must also be done quietly. No banging (or breaking) dishes please! Place the bustub on a tray stand close to the table or if necessary place it on a chair. If a chair is used remember to wipe the chair carefully when you remove the bustub;
  • In one end of the bustub lay a placemat onto which you can scrape leftovers from the dishes. Hold the dish you are cleaning in the bustub so that the leftovers being scraped off aren't visible to the guests. Stack the heavy plates on the bottom of the bustub. Lighter items can be put on top. Do not touch rims of cups, glasses, chowder bowls etc. with your hands. Cups should be picked up by the handles and stacked. Glasses are picked up by the bottoms and are never stacked. Silverware should be placed in the bustub with handles all facing the same way. These practices are for your protection against any contamination. Do not overload the bustub. In addition to being heavy to carry "packing" dishes into a bustub is time consuming. It's quicker to get another bustub. Serviettes and placemats can be placed with food scraps for quick disposal in the kitchen. Ashtrays are to be emptied into a designated container in the kitchen-never in the garbage;
  • Take the bustub to the kitchen immediately. No one wishes to have a bustub of dirty dishes beside his/her table while they are eating.


  • If you've followed an orderly system when filling your bustub, it should take a very short time to remove the dishes for the dishwasher;
  • After each table is cleared, wipe it completely; this means moving everything from the center of the table, wiping it, and then replacing them. Do this quickly but neatly - no crumbs flying over and around the immediate area in the dining-room. Check the sides of the tablecloths for drips or food spills;
  • Check each chair and under the table area for crumbs, paper, food, etc. If necessary sweep this immediately so that food is not tracked around;
  • If a highchair was used, remove it immediately and when the table is completed return to the highchair and clean it thoroughly. These chairs aren't easily cleaned so learn to clean them quickly and completely;
  • Begin setting the table by centering the tablecloth on the table. Arrange sugar bowls, bingo cards ketchup, ashtrays, salt and pepper shakers and musical spoons neatly upon the center of the table (except for the round tables for two where these items are arranged to the wall side of the table. The bingo cards for these tables are put on the window sills). Be sure these are all clean and filled. The bingo cards must have the numbered sides to the outside so that no soiled backs are visible. Center the placemats about one inch from the edge of the table;
  • Place fresh looking, unwrinkled serviettes right side up (no seam) on the left side of the placemat with pattern on serviette to the top. Place the serviette so that half its width is on the placemat;
  • Place all silverware on the serviette. Beginning on the left side of the serviette place the fork, knife with the rounded side of the blade facing the plate, then the spoon. Do not touch the silverware anywhere except on the handle portion. If the silverware does not look clean do not use it. Return it to the kitchen;
  • Place clean glasses on the upper right-hand corner of the placemat. Be sure to handle glasses by the bottoms only;
  • To the left of the silverware place matching side plates. No side plates are put on the round tables for two;
  • A tidy and clean table, chairs and floor area are a must! Learn to do this first time around. We don't have time for re-setting a poorly set table.


There are basic rules concerning meal service, but like all rules of etiquette, they are meant merely to serve as a guide. Variations from basic rules depend upon custom and upon your specific community situation. Remember though, that whatever you do, it must facilitate the service of food and provide the greatest convenience to the guest.

1.   The table should be well - balanced. Do not overload any one part of the table. If possible, allow 24 inches for each cover ( each person's place setting ). If not, no less than 20 inches.

2.   All the lines of the table must be right angles or parallel to the edge of the table. This includes the silver, the napkin, the lines of design in your table covering. Lines running in all directions create a confused, crowded atmosphere.

3.   The table cloth should be large enough to hang over the edge of the table 12 - 18 inches. It must always be scrupulously clean.

4.   The centerpiece should be low and not crowd the table too much. It should not obstruct the view of the guests. If candles are used, the flame should be above eye level. In the case of buffet service, the centerpiece should be taller.

5.   The covers are laid one inch from the edge of the table. The utensils are placed in order of use from the outside to the inside. The forks are placed to the left of the plate; the knifes to the right (cutting side toward the plate ); the spoons to the right of the knife. If a small fork is used for an appetizer course, it is placed to the right of the spoons.

6.   Salts and peppers, sugars and creamers, and relishes should be conveniently placed for each six to eight guests, so that each group will have a complete service.

7.   The bread and butter plate should be placed to the left of the dinner plate at the tip of the forks.

8.   The water glass is placed at the point of the knives. Before the meal, it is filled 3/4 full. The wine glass, if used, is placed above the teaspoons.

9.   The table napkin is folded in a square or a rectangle and is placed to the left of the forks with the open edge toward the quest.


  • A table centerpiece will add interest to the table if there is room for it. If not, careful selection of food, dishes, silverware and linen will provide decoration enough;
  • If you do decide on a centerpiece, it should be in keeping with the size of the table and should harmonize with the food, linen, and dishes. Flower arrangements are always appropriate. Matching candles can be used with them. Attractive arrangements can be made from fruits, vegetables, foliage and houseplants;
  • Select and arrange table decoration from materials you have on hand. This gives you an opportunity to use your imagination and practice your own artistic talents.


  • Please remember that your position on our sales/service team makes you a company representative. You are often the only direct contact with our customers and the company will be judged by your appearance, attitudes, manners and efficiency of service
  • Customers are faster to criticize employee attitudes and performance than anything else
  • Tips must be earned. Nobody really earns tips just by taking orders and putting things on tables. Tips are controlled by customers - not by the business establishment. The word "TIP" originated from three words - "To insure promptness" - meaning a reward for trying



  • Good grooming is absolutely essential. You will be given special instruction on this subject
  • You are part of a "sales/service team". This means co-operation with fellow workers. No Prima Donnas, please
  • Never argue with a customer under any circumstances. Don't try to defend mistakes or blame others. When something is wrong, admit it promptly and correct it cheerfully. If any customer situation gets out of hand, turn it over to your superior at once
  • Stay in your station when not actually performing duties. Always keep tables under observation. No more than two service people should stand together in a customer area
  • While on duty, even at slow periods, don't congregate in a group for small talk. Sitting with customers, chewing gum or smoking on duty are never permitted. Avoid all loud talk, shouting orders, etc. (All of these things create a low-grade image for the business and for you. They lose sales, tips and customers)
  • Be sure you understand and follow company policy for employee meals;
  • Have a good relationship with kitchen personnel. They have a very difficult job and need your complete co-operation
  • While on duty, keep asking yourself these questions:
  • What needs to be done right now? Can I give a hand to a fellow worker who's in a spot?
  • What's happening? Is any situation arising that I should be ready for?
  • Are incoming customers new to you or old friends? Should I be ready to greet somebody by name?
  • What other service can I offer any of my guests?
  • Dependability is a most important job requirement. If you cannot report for work on time, phone your supervisor at least three hours in advance. If you become ill on duty, notify your superior at once.


  • During the course of the evening make sure the stations are well equipped, organized and neat. Take pride in your station;
  • When it is not busy it is the Bussers responsibility to help out with the dishes;
  • When it is busy, you may have to help in the kitchen with clean up, i.e. sweep floors, mop, or help with the dishes. Be prepared to help and to do anything
  • Occasionally, Bussers may be asked to fill in as "Dishwasher/Potwasher" (See below for dishwasher/potwasher duties).



The washers position pertains to both aspects of the job; Dishes and Pots. This is a very important position in the smooth operation of any kitchen. Organization of incoming and outgoing dishes will maintain a smooth operation kitchen.


  • Make sure dishes that come into kitchen are cleared of food by waitresses and stacked orderly to conserve room for dishwasher;
  • Maintain a steady flow of clean dishes while dishwasher is cleaning (operating). Dishwasher should organize next load;
  • Stack clean plates and dishes in designated areas. Glasses in shelf for bus person to bring to bar. Plates put on line shelf for cook;
  • Rinse dishes before putting them in dishwasher;
  • Dishwasher maintains:
      • a) clean jets & filter
      • b) change water regularly and fill to diagonal.
      • c) check detergent levels in bottles.
      • d) clean stainless steel.
    1. Insure glasses and plates are clean of spots. (spotting occurs if water level is too high);

  • Make sure all pots are cleaned dried and placed back on shelf or racks;


  • Keep shelving clean for dishes and pots
  • Soak all cutlery and wash thoroughly;
  • Soak and wash all casserole dishes;


  • Floor to be scrubbed at the end of the night. All mops and buckets rinsed out and hung to dry!
  • All dirty laundry must be put in dirty laundry bin;
  • Remaining garbage brought out to bin;
  • Buckets rinsed nightly and fresh bag's put in;
  • All sinks sanitized at end of night;
  • Dishwasher washed down.


  • A Guest is the most important person in the food service business.
  • A Guest is not dependent on us - we are dependent on him.
  • A Guest is not an interruption of our work - he is the purpose of our work.
  • A Guest does us a favour when he calls - we are not doing him a favour by serving him.
  • A Guest is part of our business - not an outsider.
  • A Guest is a human being with feelings and emotions - just like our own.
  • A Guest is a person who brings us his wants - it is our job to fill those wants.
  • A Guest is deserving of the most courteous and attentive treatment we can give him.
  • Every Guest is a " VERY IMPORTANT PERSON ", it is our responsibility that he is waited on quickly, quietly, and efficiently.


  • go to the beach
  • join in the great Island Scavenger Hunt
  • go golfing
  • go to the horse races
  • take a seal watching tour
  • rent bicycles
  • deep sea fishing cruises
  • walking tour
  • get tickets for the musical
  • go horseback riding
  • tour one of our many craft studios
  • dig for clams
  • try the go - carts
  • visit the many attractions (specify)
  • enjoy a cycling or hiking adventure
  • visit the library
  • go shopping
  • take a tour on a double decker bus
  • drop in on a festival


The following is a list of our restaurant policies. It is your responsibility to know, understand, and follow each policy at all times.

1.   Uniforms must be clean and ironed and worn at all times. The uniform for waitresses:

  • Clean white running shoes, (no logos)
  • Clean white socks
  • Red shorts
  • Clean, white, ironed F&V t-shirts with crisp logo
  • Name tag

2.   Personal Hygiene:

  • bath or shower daily
  • good dental hygiene
  • clean hands and nails ( Nails short and clear nail polish )

3.   Long hair must be worn off the shoulders and tied back away from the face so as not to interfere with food service.

4.   Gentlemen must be clean shaven and hair kept neat and clean.

5.   Employees must punch in only when they are scheduled to begin work unless asked to do otherwise. You will be paid for scheduled time only.

6.   Staff meals - one per shift, as shown on a staff menu, are available at a reduced price. These must be eaten in the kitchen BEFORE punching in. There must be no eating during your shift either in the kitchen or dining-room. Staff meals are only for those people who are on shift and working. Details will be posted in the kitchen. To avoid embarrassment to yourself and management PLEASE honour this policy.

7.   The telephone at the restaurant is a business phone. It must not be used for social reasons. We will not page staff to leave work to come to the phone. Please inform friends of this.

8.   A regular size pop is 25 cents for staff while on shift only. All food and pop must be paid for when you get it. All staff food must be entered in the STAFF MEALS book for inventory purposes.

9.   If you are not working you should not be at the restaurant. If you are waiting for other staff members please do so outside. No loitering in the waitresses station or outside the door.

10.  Your pay cheques will be deposited in your bank account every second Friday. Your pay period runs from Sunday to Saturday inclusive.

11.  Please do not ask to have cheques cashed at the restaurant. The only cheques we accept are Travellers Cheques. No personal or government cheques of any kind are to be cashed.

12.  Anyone caught stealing will be dismissed immediately. This includes all food items.

13.  When answering the phone, it should be answered pleasantly in the following way: " Good morning/afternoon/evening, Riddles and Vittles. _______speaking."

14.  Employees are entitled to breaks. Breaks are issued by the supervisor, according to shift worked and in a fair manner. One hour non-paid break is to be taken for every 5 hour work period.

15.  When you are scheduled for a shift, it is your responsibility to be there on time. If you are unable to come to work please phone as early as possible so - a replacement can be called in.

  • If you are sick, the following are recommended guidelines for calling in sick.
  • If scheduled for morning shift, call the night before and speak to hostess.
  • If scheduled for evening shift, call the morning of that shift and notify the hostess.

Please do not call just before you are expected to begin your shift saying you cannot work. This is very unfair to your co-workers and places impossible demands on them.

16.  Please know your work schedule. All schedule changes must first be approved by the hostess. Requested days off must be written in calender journal. Requested days off are not automatically granted; however, every attempt will be made to fulfill your request. Schedules provide an approximate number # of hours working that shift. Supervisor can request you stay longer or leave early if not busy. Schedules are posted weekly on Fridays. The staff does not have time to go checking schedules. You alone are responsible for knowing your shift time, and we insist that you refrain from calling the restaurant. This will minimize incoming calls and staff interruptions.

Smiling is part of our restaurant policy. Remember, friendly service is always essential. A relaxed,
friendly atmosphere is a critical part of dining out. Our primary product is a social experience in
which food plays only a part. We are in the business of creating happiness. Happiness among our
staff members is quickly noticed by our guests. A disgruntled, "couldn't care less" attitude is noticed
just as quickly. Let's all endeavor to do our utmost to cheerfully complete each responsibility
we've done your best is a great satisfaction to you. It also earns immeasurable respect from your co- workers and management.


Categories: Management