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How to Be a Good Busboy

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Becoming a good busboy is a matter of working diligently and leaving a good impression. It is also imperative to thoroughly understand the restaurant business. This will allow you to maximize your earnings in this difficult, yet rewarding position.

Arrive at least 10 minutes before each shift. This demonstrates a sense of responsibility to your employer. If you are ever running late, give your employer the courtesy of a phone call to inform you are behind schedule.

Ensure you always look impeccable: clean uniform, polished shoes, neat hair and clean nails. You don't have to spend lots of money on a weekly facial; just be thoroughly well groomed, especially with extra-clean hands and fingernails.

Carry essential items in your apron or pockets. A wine key (or bottle opener) will occasionally come in handy when colleagues misplace theirs. Also carry a few pens, as well as a small flashlight for customers who having difficulty reading the menu.

Be a team player. A busboy's job is primarily to help the servers. Without you, they would not have anyone to fill the water glasses at their tables, reset their sections and help them with the details they cannot do, but which matter greatly to the guests. Expect also to complete daily tasks to help keep the restaurant clean and running smoothly: polishing silverware, washing windows and restocking glasses. Never reject an assigned task unless it puts you in physical or moral jeopardy.

Offer to help servers before they ask. Some server may be less reluctant to ask for help because they are too busy to look for you and "in the zone." Also, give each server's section equal time and attention so you cannot be accused of favoritism.

Keep a log of server tip-outs. Record the name and amount each time a server or bartender tips you out for your shift. It is important to keep this information for your records in case any question arises on your pay.

Do not communicate with customers unless they initiate contact. If so, keep your comments strictly business related. You are not expected to converse with them beyond posing a simple question like, “May I clear this for you?”


Remember that by keeping your mind focused, you will become more efficient at your job--and will likely make more money.


Do not attempt to become a busboy if you cannot tolerate long periods on your feet.