Slowdown Scraps Busboy Jobs

Dishes pile up as servers are forced to do double duty
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2009 2:53 AM CST
Restaurants who cut busboy positions complain they keep running out of spoons, as cutlery gets scraped into the trash by harried waiters.   (©Orin Optiglot)
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(Newser) – Plates are piling up on restaurant tables across America as full-service eateries seek to save cash by axing busboys, reports the Wall Street Journal. Servers take food orders, then scramble to clear tables, fill bread baskets, scrape plates and perform all the other tasks once done by bussers. The change has mostly gone smoothly, although diners note waiters seem a lot more frazzled, say restaurant managers.

Some industry analysts say bussers—who must be paid minimum wage, unlike waiters—are luxuries that cash-strapped restaurants can't afford. Others, pointing to all those piles of plates, say the positions can't be eliminated by restaurants hoping to maintain good service. To ensure good service, bussing "would absolutely be the last place I'd cut," said a Denny's executive.