Busboys or busgirls or S.A. , increasingly referred to as bussers, work in the restaurant and catering industry clearing dirty dishes, taking the dirty dishes to the dishwasher, setting tables, and otherwise assisting the waiting staff.

At an upscale restaurant, they may bring water and introductory foods, for example tortilla chips and salsa in a Mexican restaurant or bread in an Italian restaurant. The busboy may also serve drinks and sweep the floor under the tables. Occasionally, they also perform extra duty for the server by refilling the customers water or getting more bread. The busser is also usually responsible for cleaning up spills occurring in the kitchen or dining room.

In most smaller family diners, the busboy is responsible for washing the cutlery (also known as silverware in the U.S.) and dishes and stocking the kitchen and waiter stations. The most popular method of organization is for the busboy to be assigned a station, or area of tables, which he or she shall serve. At most restaurants, the busser is responsible for taking out the trash also.

Typically, a busboy receives a separate, fixed payment or wage.

Busser equipment

Bus tubs or bus boxes are tubs used to clear dirty tables. The items cleared from the table are stored in the bus tub and taken into the dish area. The tubs are often used when the busser has a banquet or multiple tables to clear. These tubs save time by lessening the busser's trips to the dishwasher. Large trays are also imperative to have for clearing tables. Restaurants must also have glass racks for the busser to unload the dirty dishes.

Famous persons who worked as busboys

Busboys in history and popular culture

  • Raw Dog Screaming Press published a Tom Bradley novel entitled Lemur, about a would-be serial killing busboy.
  • The Coconut Grove fire in Boston, Massachusetts was started accidentally when a busboy lit a match.
  • A band called The Busboys had success with two songs "The Boys Are Back In Town" and "Cleanin' Up The Town" featured in the movie Ghostbusters.
  • Busboys are quite common in the works of comic artist Corey Lewis.
  • Busboys were portrayed as lazy, habitual cannabis users in the film, "Waiting..." (played by comedian Andy Milonakis and Max Kasch).
  • An early Seinfeld episode entitled The Busboy was centered around a busboy who was fired due to George Costanza's accidental actions.
  • In the Smallville episode "Fracture" from series 7, a busboy at a diner where Clark Kent's cousin Kara works, is obsessed with her, and shoots Lex Luthor fearing that he will take Kara away after arriving at the diner. After Lois Lane arrives at the diner (in pursuit of Lex), the busboy holds Kara and Lois hostage.


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