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Old 02-12-2008, 03:04 PM   #1
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Helping the Bus Boy/Server in a Restaurant

What's your opinion on this?

You (as part of a dinner party of two or more) are having dinner at a restaurant and you are between courses. Do you leave all the empty dishes where they are or do you collect and/or stack them to make the bus boy's or server's cleanup easier?

We ate out numerous times while on vacation the past two weeks and I observed this behavior and it has become a matter of curiosity.

What do you do?
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Old 02-12-2008, 03:10 PM   #2
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I move them to the end of the table just because I dont like people reaching in next to me, between the person I am sitting next to and myself. I guess I have personal space issues. That and strange armpits in my face.....
I also tend to move them when the kids are with us because I clean up most of thier mess before the poor wait person / bus boy has to do it.
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Old 02-12-2008, 03:12 PM   #3
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Being that we have 2 young boys, they produce a huge amount of mess. I usually try and collect it all on to one plate. Usually lots of used napkins and chunks of food.

If I like our service or notice that they are really busy, I'll stack up the plates to help them out.

After waiting tables for a few years, I got a little grossed out by touching people's used napkins and stuff like that. So at the least, I put those on my plate for an easy trash dump.
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Old 02-12-2008, 03:22 PM   #4
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No kids in our party, but we usually just add the flotsam & jetsam (paper goods, etc.) to the plates & leave them where they sit, only because we've found wait staff & bussers seem to usually have their own methods as to how they like to stack & carry things.
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Old 02-12-2008, 03:25 PM   #5
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I will stack the plates and put the silverware and napkins ontop.
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Old 02-12-2008, 03:27 PM   #6
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We usually stack the same size dishes - sometimes there are any number of different size plates. I will also pass things to the server to help them.
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Old 02-12-2008, 03:29 PM   #7
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We stack them and clean up any mess on the table, which can be a lot with three kids ;)
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Old 02-12-2008, 03:53 PM   #8
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I usually resist the urge to stack plates, as when I was a waitress I much prefered to do this myself. It's much easier to stack the dishes in my hands one at a time than to try to pick up a heavy stack of dishes that may not be stacked evenly. I will hand whomever the dishes though if it looks like that would help them.
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Old 02-12-2008, 03:55 PM   #9
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I always put my dirty napkin on top of my plate but we don't have kids so it's usually just the two of us, only two plates! If we are with a group I do stack the plates on top of each other to make it easier to serve our next course. I also never gave it much thought until now, it's just something I do!
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Old 02-12-2008, 03:55 PM   #10
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It depends what restaurant I'm at. But I typically will stack like dishes together. At the least, I move them closer together so the staff doesn't have to reach so far by leaning their bodies across me. I also have a tendency to clean my area after I've eaten.

I once had a server asked me if I was in the food industry since I stacked up all our plates. I said no, just upbringing. She chuckled and said my mother raised me properly.
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Old 02-12-2008, 04:00 PM   #11
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My husband will stack like pieces together then stack largest to smallest with silverware wherever it is stable. Now, if we are at a REALLY nice restaurant he doesn't do that to an extreme. He might stack our salad plates together, they get removed, and he might stack our dinner plates together, etc.

Side Note - he leaves his dishes on the counter at home right above the EMPTY dishwasher! He leaves an empty can of Coke on the counter instead of throwing it away
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Old 02-12-2008, 04:04 PM   #12
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I usually do not do anything other than put my napkin on top of my plate, but every once in a while I might do a little stacking. I always try to collect the little bits of trash (straw wrapper, empty butter thing, etc.) and put those on a plate or in one pile.
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Old 02-12-2008, 04:17 PM   #13
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We always move what we are done with to a corner we aren't using. Some pick them up as we eat, but if they don't, we stack like-sized things together, then bowls on plates, etc. There just isn't enough room on most of the tables to not stack them. If the people at the table next to us have gone and there are still uncollected dishes, we sometimes will put our plates there (if it is not a long reach--we don't get up to do that). The fanciest place we can afford (and that, rarely) is O'Charley's, so I don't know what we would do at a really fancy place.

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Old 02-12-2008, 04:31 PM   #14
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I move them to the end of the table so they are easier to reach. I don't like the wait staff
reaching over me to get them.
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Old 02-12-2008, 04:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchenelf View Post
My husband will stack like pieces together then stack largest to smallest with silverware wherever it is stable. Now, if we are at a REALLY nice restaurant he doesn't do that to an extreme. He might stack our salad plates together, they get removed, and he might stack our dinner plates together, etc.

Side Note - he leaves his dishes on the counter at home right above the EMPTY dishwasher! He leaves an empty can of Coke on the counter instead of throwing it away
Guilty! Drives her nuts, lol.
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Old 02-12-2008, 04:42 PM   #16
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When kid were little I would scrape all the leftover scraps an one plate, then stack them with the scrap one on top, when I was a waitress I use to hate reaching over people to get there dishes, especially if the napkin was on top. I was always afraid someting would fall aff the plate and onto the guest. So I try to make sure everything is stable including napkins.
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Old 02-12-2008, 05:44 PM   #17
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I always scrape and stack our plates and clean up any messes when we go out. I think it's the mom in me!
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Old 02-12-2008, 05:48 PM   #18
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Side Note - he leaves his dishes on the counter at home right above the EMPTY dishwasher! He leaves an empty can of Coke on the counter instead of throwing it away [/quote]

my hubby uses paper plates and leaves them all over the place. Also toothpicks, I find them everywhere.
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Old 02-12-2008, 05:54 PM   #19
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Leave them where they lie. Part of the reason you dine out is so you don't have to do the dishes. Bus/wait staff people are trained to come in quietly and remove objects with as little intrusion to your meal as possible. Diners at nearby tables aren't necessarily interested in seeing your party scraping and clanging dishes, either. If you appreciate the job the bus staff is doing, tip them seperately.

By the way, don't leave your napkin on your plate. It makes it impossible for the bus staff to see what's beneath the napkin without removing the napkin. Usually, dirty linens are handled seperately. If they remove the napkin, chances are very good that something will be flung onto the table or your lap.
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Old 02-12-2008, 06:04 PM   #20
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I will typically stack my bread plate and any trash onto my plate. When I was waiting tables I always appreciated when the customers stacked thier plates for me.
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