As is with any business in the hospitality sector, the way your restaurant staff is dressed and looks like can greatly influence the impression your business leaves, as a whole, on your customers. Even if you have invested in the most lavish interior – if your employees don’t look polished and professional, it can all be in vain. With that being said, it’s essential to assemble carefully considered uniform pieces for your crew. Here are some expert suggestions to help you do so.
When it comes to choosing the best type of bottoms for your restaurant staff, there isn’t much variety to consider. Male staff can only wear pants, whereas female employees have the option to wear pants as well as skirts. When it comes to working pants, the option most restaurants go for is the traditional suit pants. The dark colour, straight leg, and tailoring of suit pants makes them the most formal option you can choose. In addition, suit pants are made from rigid materials which make them less likely to get wrinkled, ensuring the crew always looks polished. However, they aren’t exactly the most comfortable to move around in, which is why some restaurants tend to go for chinos as their choice of work pants.
Combining the ease of linen work pants and the tailored shape of suit pants, chinos are a great way to create a modern, smart-casual look that will keep restaurant staff comfortable. More casual establishments can benefit from chinos in a lighter colour as well as chino shorts as part of their summer uniform. Surprisingly, upscale restaurants can also benefit from chino work pants as they are very easy to dress up. Simply pick a darker colour such as navy, dark brown or black and pair them with formal footwear and a white Oxford shirt for a more formal look for your staff.
For the ladies, you can also pick pencil skirts made from a stretchy fabric that makes it easier for them to move and is lightweight for all-day comfort. In fact, women often tend to prefer wearing skirts as their uniform, especially during the summer as it helps to keep them cooler.
And then there’s the uniform top to think about. If you want the uniforms to be traditional and formal, then a white Oxford shirt is a must-have. You can combine it with a black vest or apron for your waiting staff. A black Oxford shirt combined with a white apron also works. Additionally, you can also try other colours as long as they go with the overall atmosphere you aim to create. If you want your crew to be dressed in a professional but youthful way, collared T-shirts are a smart choice. Collared T-shirts, like for instance polo shirts, are a great option for more urban restaurant visited by a mostly youthful crowd. And they look especially good when paired with chino work pants.
The colour of something is the first thing one notices about it. Plus, colours can also help convey a message. For instance, as people think of blue and green as calming tones, they are commonly found in medical staff uniforms. With that being said, in the case of restaurant uniforms, you can go two ways – either bold and bright to create an uplifting atmosphere or dark and subdued for a more serious approach. For instance, themed restaurants and family restaurants mostly opt for bright and bold hues, like for instance yellow or red. The purpose of brightly coloured uniforms is to pop out and animate the customer base.
But if animating the customers isn’t your goal and you want to create a more subdued and elegant atmosphere, then darker and neutral colours are your friend. Uniforms featuring colours such as black, white, brown, beige and grey are perceived as more serious and professional. In addition, darker colours can help keep the staff looking clean and polished as any stains and wrinkles won’t be easily visible.
In addition to picking the right hue for your uniforms, it’s perhaps even more important to choose the right material. Not only do certain fabrics look more attractive and professional, but they also help keep the staff comfortable as they perform their job. And since restaurant jobs require people to be constantly on the move, your staff will benefit from fabrics that are stretchy and allow the skin to breathe.
With that being said, cotton blended with polyester is usually the best option as this combo is moisture-wicking, breathable and has stretching properties. Viscose is another great fabric that allows the skin to breathe and absorbs sweat quickly. On the other hand, avoid fabrics that are uncomfortable for the staff to wear and which look unappealing to customers, like for instance nylon. The cheap and flimsy look of nylon won’t send a good message to customers, is clingy and can cause a great deal of discomfort to your employees.