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For other uses, see Busboy (disambiguation).
"Busser" redirects here. For the French composer, see Henri Büsser.

In North America, a busboy, busgirl, busser or bus person is a person who works in the restaurant and catering industry clearing tables, taking dirty dishes to the dishwasher, setting tables, and otherwise assisting the waiting staff.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] Speakers of British English may be unfamiliar with the terms, which are translated in British English as commis waiter, commis boy, or waiter's assistant.[7][9][10][11] The term for a busser in the classic brigade de cuisine system is commis de débarrasseur, or simply débarrasseur.[12][13] Bussers are typically placed beneath the waiting staff in organization charts, and are sometimes an apprentice or trainee to waiting staff positions.[12]

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the occupation typically did not require related work experience or a high school diploma, that on-the-job training was short term, and that the median income in 2012 for the position was $18,500.[14]

The duties of bussers fall under the heading of busing or bussing, an Americanism of unknown origin.[13]

Job description[edit]

Primary functions of the busser are to clean and reset tables, carry dishes and other tableware to the kitchen, serve items such as water, coffee and bread, replenish supplies of linens, tableware and trays, and assist servers with clearing plates and other areas of table service.[8][12] Other tasks include cleaning and polishing fixtures, walls, furniture and equipment, cleaning tableware, cleaning food service areas, mopping and vacuuming floors, cleaning up spills, removing empty bottles and trash, and scraping and stacking dirty dishes.[8]


One guide to manners advised that bussers should not speak or interrupt those being served, and to simply refill glasses at the table rather than asking if customers would ilke more water.[15] Likewise, it advises customers against engaging bussers and waiting staff in distracting conversations, as they are often busy.[15] A business etiquette guide suggests that customers should refer refer to bussers and waiting staff with the gender-neutral terms busser and server rather than waiter or busboy.[16] It also says that bussers are the employee to inform if items like a water glass or piece of flatware is missing.[16]

Notable former bussers[edit]

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ (2004.) "Busboy". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, via Dictionary.com. Retrieved on 2007-09-19.
  2. ^ "Busgirl". Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1), Random House, Inc., via Dictionary.com. Retrieved on 2007-09-19.
  3. ^ a b c d e Schmich, Mary (2007-08-24). "Uh, no offense, but do you still say 'busboy'?". ChicagoTribune.com (Chicago Tribune). Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  4. ^ "Busser: Definition of Busser in Oxford Dictionary (American English) (US)". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2014-06-10. "busser; Syllabification: bus·ser; Pronunciation: /ˈbəsər/; Noun; A person who clears tables in a restaurant or cafeteria." 
  5. ^ "Busser - definition. American English definition of busser by Macmillan Dictionary". Macmillan Dictionary. Macmillan Publishers Limited. Retrieved 2014-06-10. "busser - definition; Noun [countable] American /ˈbʌsər/; a busboy" 
  6. ^ Medlik, S. (2012). Dictionary of Travel, Tourism and Hospitality. Routledge. p. 28. ISBN 978-1-136-41018-5. "busboy/busgirl/busser American term for assistant waiter or waitress, who pours water, clears away plates and cutlery but does not take orders or serve the food." 
  7. ^ a b Матюшенков, Владимир (2013). Dictionary of Americanisms, Canadianisms, Briticisms and Australianisms. Англо-русский словарь особенностей английского языка в Северной Америке, Великобритании и Австралии (in English/Russian). ЛитРес. p. 85. ISBN 978-5-457-47832-9. "bus boy, bus girl, busser Am., Can. /Br. commis waiter/" 
  8. ^ a b c "Keyword Relevance for: bus cleaner". O*Net OnLine. O*Net. 
  9. ^ Davies, Christopher (2007). Divided by a Common Language: A Guide to British and American English. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 1. ISBN 0-547-35028-7. "Words such as clapboard, bleachers, and busboy are everyday words in the US, but they would perplex the average speaker of British English." 
  10. ^ Davies, Christopher (1998). Divided by a Common Language: A British/American Dictionary Plus. Mayflower Press. p. 148. ISBN 978-0-9660945-7-2. "Busboy/Busser, Waiter's assistant/Commis Waiter" 
  11. ^ Rubinstein, Marv (2011). American English Compendium. Taylor Trade Publications. p. 229. ISBN 978-1-58979-726-0. "British, U.S. ... commis boy, busboy" 
  12. ^ a b c The Culinary Institute of America (2009). Remarkable Service: A Guide to Winning and Keeping Customers for Servers, Managers, and Restaurant Owners. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 53–54. ISBN 978-0-470-19740-0. 
  13. ^ a b Wilson, Kenneth G. (1993). The Columbia Guide to Standard American English. Columbia University Press. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-231-06989-2. "A bus boy or busboy assists the waiter or waitress in a restaurant; he clears dishes (he buses or busses them), and all of his duties come under the heading of busing or bussing. The origin of this Americanism is uncertain." 
  14. ^ "Employment Projections". United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved 2014-06-12.  Occupation data is listed under "Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers" (job titles are hidden by default).
  15. ^ a b Boswell, Sandra (2007). Protocol Matters: Cultivating Social Graces in Christian Homes and Schools. Canon Press & Book Service. p. 98. ISBN 978-1-59128-025-5. 
  16. ^ a b Mitchell, Mary (2000). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Etiquette. Alpha Books. p. 186. ISBN 978-0-02-863615-3. 
  17. ^ Allport, Alan (2007). Jacques Chirac. Infobase Publishing. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-4381-0470-6. 
  18. ^ Robert Downey Jr. Playboy Interview: December 1997
  19. ^ Greenstein, George (1998). Portraits of discovery: profiles in scientific genius. John Wiley. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-471-19138-4. "While a kid during a summer job as a busboy, he tried to invent a better way of carrying dishes on trays (everything ended up on the floor)." 
  20. ^ Heenan, David A. (1 September 2002). Double lives: crafting your life of work and passion for untold success. Davies-Black Publishing. p. x. ISBN 978-0-89106-167-0. "Working summers as a busboy, he discovered new methods for stacking as many dishes as possible." 
  21. ^ Snauffer, Douglas (2008). The Show Must Go On: How the Deaths of Lead Actors Have Affected Television Series. McFarland. p. 168. ISBN 978-0-7864-5504-1. 
  22. ^ DeCaro, Louis A. (1996). On the Side of My People: A Religious Life of Malcolm X. NYU Press. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-8147-1891-9. 
  23. ^ Travis, Dempsey (1983). An Autobiography of Black Jazz. Urban Research Institute. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-941484-03-9. 
  24. ^ Watkins, Mel (1994). On the real side: laughing, lying, and signifying: the underground tradition of African-American humor that transformed American culture, from slavery to Richard Pryor. Simon & Schuster. p. 488. ISBN 978-0-671-68982-7. 
  25. ^ a b Epstein, Lawrence Jeffrey (2004). Mixed Nuts: America's Love Affair with Comedy Teams : from Burns and Allen to Belushi and Aykroyd. PublicAffairs. pp. 180, 182. ISBN 978-1-58648-190-2. 
  26. ^ Krutnik, Frank (2000). Inventing Jerry Lewis. Smithsonian Institution Press. p. 72. ISBN 978-1-56098-369-9. 
  27. ^ "Bree Olson News, Pictures, and Videos". TMZ. Retrieved 2014-06-05. 
  28. ^ "About Me". BreeOlson.com. Archived from the original on 2013-07-02. 
  29. ^ "Biography: Al Pacino Lifetime". The Biography Channel (UK). AETN UK. Retrieved 2014-06-11. 
  30. ^ Todd, Anne M.; Blue, Rose; Naden, Corinne J. (2009). Chris Rock: Comedian and Actor. Infobase Publishing. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-4381-0074-6. 
  31. ^ Dan Miller (28 August 2012). Wisdom Meets Passion: When Generations Collide and Collaborate. Thomas Nelson Inc. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-8499-6409-1. 
  32. ^ Acham, Christine (2004). Revolution Televised: Prime Time and THe Struggle for Black Power. University of Minnesota Press. p. 192. ISBN 978-1-4529-0707-9. 
  33. ^ Hospitality, Issues 25-56. Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management Association. 1982. p. 63.