Wednesday, June 22, 2011

why is my plate still here?

There is an important element of service that seems to be overlooked in this town at a number of restaurants.  From a casual pub or diner to some of the nicer restaurants in the city, the problem seems universal for some reason.

The 'pre-bus' (or 'table maintenance') seems to be over and above the talents of the average server. 

Allow me to define the term:

'Bussing' a table usually happens after the guests leave it.  All of the items are removed so that the table can be wiped and re-set for the next people to use.  'Pre-bussing' happens while the guests remain.  It involves removing unneeded and erroneous objects from the table as they become unnecessary (ie. clearing the empty glass when you bring a fresh pint).  This is not a difficult thing for a server to do, in fact it helps you keep track of what stage a table is at in their dining experience and keeps things neat and tidy so that the guest doesn't have to "enjoy" their meal surrounded by dirty, used dishes/glasses etc.  If the restaurant is nice enough this can even mean removing the salt & pepper shakers/grinders as the table heads toward dessert.

There is no reason that I should receive a cheque with a dirty plate still in front of me, particularly when my server is not incredibly busy.  It's laziness/carelessness on the part of the wait staff.  I challenge any server who reads this blog to evaluate yourself on how well you do this.  It's a small thing that makes a big difference in the quality of service you give!  To those who do this well, bravo!  To those who don't, stop making the rest of us look bad!


  1. I have to admit I pre-bus myself I move my used plate(s) to the clean table beside me. Sometimes I even stack them!!!

    I know it's wrong, I know that another parton may even think I'm ignorant (as in lacking the knowledge to know that stacking and self busing is rude) but I take my chances that the lesson will be had by the wait staff. I do not want to enjoy my closing conversation over dirty dishes and wadded up napkins....

    The latter is a habit my pending significant other has that just grosses me out!!! Once I see that dirty balled up rag fall on something I just put in my mouth I want to BARF!!!!!!!!

    HEY Chew what are you supposed to do with those things anyway???

  2. So true! I find myself piling dishes at a lot of restaurants in Stratford - drives me bonkers. But what about the other side of this issue, when the server starts clearing the dishes before everyone at the table is finished eating. This can cause the same frustrations.

  3. Great topics! Thanks for the inspiration, I've had writers block for a few days...