EdApp by SafetyCulture

Food Runner's Guide

By EdApp
6 Lessons
Deploy to my team

This course is free and editable. Yours to re-brand and tailor to your needs!

About this course

In a restaurant, a food runner is essential. Not only are you in charge of making sure the food is delivered safely, you also add to the whole experience for our customers. Use this courses as a reference of how to run food successfully as well as support the wait staff and kitchen.

Food Runner's Guide Lessons

Click through the microlessons below to preview this course. Each lesson is designed to deliver engaging and effective learning to your team in only minutes.

  1. What's a Food Runner?
  2. Clothing, Hygiene, and Proper Conduct
  3. Carrying and Serving Food
  4. Bussing Tables
  5. Quiz
  6. Sources

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Food Runner's Guide course excerpts

What's a Food Runner?

What are the fundamental differences between a food runner and a waiter? Let's find out.

Food Runner's Guide Course - Lesson Excerpt

"Food runner? You mean waiter?" Our waiters are in-charge of taking customer's orders, and making sure that they get the correct order in a timely manner.

Our food runners are in-charge of physically delivering dishes from the pass (the table where chefs place dishes that are ready for serving) to the customer's table.

Aside from serving food, food runners may also refill beverages, as well as clean and set tables, depending on how busy a shift is.

Waiters and food runners must communicate and work together in order to efficiently run our food establishment.

What is the first thing a food runner should do before setting dishes down on the customer's table?

Clothing, Hygiene, and Proper Conduct

As a food runner, you are one of the most frequent points of contact for customers, which is why it is important to look presentable, and know how to conduct yourself.

Food Runner's Guide Course - Lesson Excerpt

Be well-groomed While clean-shaven is always the safest option for men, a well-maintained beard is still acceptable. Keeping your nails trimmed, brushing your teeth, and combing your hair goes a long way when you're facing customers every day.

Wear fresh, clean uniform for each shift. Never reuse uniforms without washing them. Aside from visible stains, customers can usually tell (using their noses) if someone hasn't had a change of clothes.

Wear appropriate footwear Wearing flip-flops to work is bad form. Casual shoes that go with your uniform, or specialty shoes with water resistance are good options. Make sure to wipe your shoes with a damp cloth before each shift to get rid of visible dirt and stains.

Avoid wearing fake nails and nail polish It's not unheard of to find fake nails and chipped nail polish mixed-in with the customer's food. While we're all for self-expression, these are potential food hazards, and we should always prioritize the safety of our customers.

Tie long hair back Long, free-flowing hair may accidentally graze or brush up against the food you're serving. Unsanitary. Also, no one wants to see a long strand of hair mixed in with their spaghetti.

As much as possible, don't wear accessories Accessories are a potential food hazard. Long, dangling necklaces can graze food, dip into drinks, or worse, break off and get mixed into a dish entirely.

Which of these are good practices for food runners?

Carrying and Serving Food

A lesson on carrying and serving food? How hard can it be? Not as hard, and not as easy as you think. Here are a few tips to get it right.

Food Runner's Guide Course - Lesson Excerpt

You arrive to a full house, just as you expected.

But you are unfazed... because you took this lesson, and you are ready to handle the lunch rush.

Carrying Food Trays and Plates For full, heavy trays, slide them closer to the edge of the pass, just until you can slide a hand underneath and directly in the center. Squat down low enough to be able to support the tray with your shoulder, along with your hand, as you lift using your legs. If you have a free hand, you can also use this to support the tray for added stability.

For single serve orders, in case it is not indicated clearly in the docket, say the name of the dish so the customer can claim it and you can set the dish in front of them.

If there is any confusion at all about where a particular order is supposed to go, if a customer claims the order is incorrect, or if they are requesting modifications to their order, communicate with the food expeditor (also known as expo) or your waiter to sort things out ASAP.

Once you've confirmed that every order on the docket has been delivered, you can impale it on the receipt spike and move on to the next order.

Bussing Tables

Sometimes the lunch rush can be overwhelming, and we're going to need all the help we can get. When this happens, efficiency in bussing tables is crucial to the success of our operation. This is how we get it done.

Food Runner's Guide Course - Lesson Excerpt

Customers are getting impatient. Lunch break is an hour, maybe an hour and a half tops. They need to eat, and they need to do it NOW.

Some of the tables have freed up, but they all look like this... .. and the busser is out sick.

It's up to you now.. Let's do it for the customers.

With proper pre-bussing etiquette, and through reading the table, you can remove plates and utensils that are no longer being used without rudely interrupting the guests who are still dining.

Empty dishes and utensils set to the side and away from the customers can be safely cleared. If the empty or nearly empty dishes are still in front of the customer, however, politely ask for their permission before clearing the items to their right side.

You should also check for empty plates when a new course is about to be brought in to make sure you clear enough space for a comfortable dining experience.


How much can you remember from this course? Let's find out!

Food Runner's Guide Course - Lesson Excerpt

What is the first thing a food runner should do before setting dishes down on the customer's table?

Which of these are good practices for food runners?

Course media gallery

Food Runner's Guide


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