The latest cost-cutting move undertaken by restaurants: firing busboys. Those plate-clearers have always seemed a bit redundant to us, but apparently waiters are bristling at having to remove dirty dishes and mop floors and some are quitting or, even worse, forgetting to wash their hands before returning to work. So, which chains have implemented these cost-cutting moves, meaning you should probably avoid them?
WSJ: Several franchised T.G.I. Friday’s locations in Wisconsin; Omaha, Neb.; and North Dakota stopped using table bussers last fall after sales started to slow. Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza, which has 16 locations in California and Nevada, finished eliminating the busboy position last month after staffing restaurants with as many as three of them on busy nights…
One of the first to move away from bussers was Bob Evans, a chain of 570 home-style restaurants that began overhauling its table-bussing system two years ago when the restaurant industry started struggling. Instead of having as many as five bussers on the floor at a time, restaurants go without them most days, or get by with one or two during only the busiest shifts.
It’s apparently cheaper to keep waiters than busboys due to a bizarre labour-law loophole.
In many states, it’s cheaper to keep servers on the clock than bussers because of a loophole that allows restaurants to pay servers who earn tips less than the minimum wage — as little as $2.13 an hour. Bussers must be paid at least $6.55 an hour.
Those seeking mass-produced food at low prices do still have some options. The WSJ didn’t mention Applebee’s, California Pizza Kitchen or IHOP and Denny’s says they’d never dream of firing their busboys.
To ensure good service, “it would absolutely be the last place I’d cut,” says Nelson Marchioli, chief executive of breakfast chain Denny’s Corp.
Thank goodness for that.
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