Ordering Uniforms for Your Restaurant Employees: 7 Pointers
Finding the right uniforms for restaurant employees can be difficult, since every restaurant is slightly different. The theme, location, customer base, menu items and many other factors can influence the uniform’s design.
Here are seven things to keep in mind as you order new uniforms for your staff members.
- Establish a Dress Code
The first thing you should do is establish a dress code. Some employees might not like it, but you need to set limits on what they can and can’t wear. Dress codes are important in the hospitality industry for several reasons:
- Customer experience: people want to see well-dressed, professional employees, even if your restaurant is a casual family establishment. This quality is especially important for waiters and bartenders who spend their entire shifts interacting with customers.
- Team chemistry: when everyone is dressed the same, it’s easier for the employees to develop their team chemistry. Your uniforms should instill a sense of pride and camaraderie.
- Functionality: restaurant workers can’t wear whatever they want. They need functional shirts, pants and footwear for maximum productivity.
- Safety: restaurants are also dangerous work environments. A dress code prevents your workers from wearing clothes that might jeopardize their safety or contaminate the food. Hairnets are a great example.
Your restaurant’s dress code should be strict, but it should also be easy to follow. Don’t include obscure clothing articles that most people don’t have. Most eateries can keep things simple with a business casual dress code while fine dining restaurants should take a formal approach.
- Allow Some Personalization
Although a dress code is important, you should allow a small degree of personalization. Let your workers add their own small accessories to the uniform, such as keychains, pins, buttons and stickers. These little details enable the employees to show off their unique personalities within the confines of the dress code.
Of course, you need to make sure the additions don’t have any vulgar language and don’t interfere with their job performance. As long as your workers avoid these problems, they should be able to add some personal touches to the uniform.
- Order Extra Uniforms
When you finalize the order, be sure to request 25% more uniforms than what you initially need. These extra uniforms will be for new hires. They will also serve as alternatives if one of your employees gets an irremovable stain or tears a hole in their old uniforms — both realistic possibilities when working at a restaurant.
Some restaurants even order extra uniforms and sell them to customers to increase revenue and raise brand awareness. You could also sell hats, pens and other small promotional items that are commonly included with restaurant uniforms.
- Reflect Your Restaurant’s Theme
McDonald’s employees primarily wear red and yellow. Texas Roadhouse employees wear jeans and cowboy boots. Workers at sports bars often wear jerseys and other memorabilia to support the local team. These uniforms reflect the restaurant’s overall theme. If you have a distinct theme like these examples, you have a chance to create some memorable uniforms.
Start by choosing a matching color scheme. Design your uniforms with the same two primary colors on the logo and in the restaurant’s interior. Put the logo on your shirts, hats and aprons. Customers should get constant visual reminders of the restaurant’s theme.
- Keep Comfort in Mind
Comfort is another important factor to keep in mind when designing your uniforms. Kitchen temperatures often reach above 90 degrees and restaurant workers are constantly on their feet. The only way they can comfortably work a full-time schedule is if their uniforms are soft, lightweight and breathable.
Cotton is the best material for warm weather and is naturally flame-resistant, so it’s perfect for restaurant employees. Nylon is another good option because it’s thin, elastic and conforms to different body types.
- Use Durable Materials
While keeping your employees comfortable is a high priority, your uniforms also need to be durable. If they stain or tear easily, they’re not well-suited for the restaurant business. Polyester and polyethylene are good options, but if you’re looking for something stronger, spectra fiber is the best choice. It is 40% stronger than other aramid fabrics and extremely lightweight.
The uniforms should also have simple cleaning instructions. Your employees should be able to easily wash them with the rest of their clothes. Make sure they don’t shrink or fade in the wash, or else you’ll have to replace them after just a few weeks.
- Get Feedback From Customers
Once your employees start wearing the new uniforms, make sure you get feedback from customers. You might think the uniforms look presentable, but the customers might have a different opinion. Set up online surveys on your website and social media accounts so people can give their feedback anonymously and there are no hard feelings.
Remember — uniforms are one of the first things customers see when they interact with your employees. A bad first impression can ruin the entire evening. The uniforms might not have any impact on your food quality, but customers don’t go to restaurants only for the food. They go to enjoy a formal or semi-formal dining experience.
Show Your Company Pride
Uniforms serve many practical and professional purposes that benefit the customer experience, but they directly benefit your employees as well. They instill a sense of pride and singularity that every team needs to be successful, regardless of the industry. Show off your company pride and start designing new uniforms with these tips in mind!
Author Bio: Oscar Collins is the managing editor at Modded, where he writes about food, fitness and more. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for frequent updates of his work.
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