Food service is an industry known to embrace the uniform concept on multiple levels. In restaurants, kitchen staff wear one kind of uniform while front-of-house servers and bartenders wear something different. Caterers wear uniforms that are as functional as they are promotional. Even food product manufacturers outfit their workers with uniforms. It is just part of the game.
Choosing uniforms for food service workers is no easy task. There is a lot to consider, not the least of which is the working conditions under which employees will operate. Some uniforms have to be designed with safety in mind while others are more brand focused than anything else.
Alsco, the nation’s first uniform rental provider, offers these five characteristics of great food service uniforms:
We all know how important it is to feel comfortable during the work day. Comfortable clothing facilitates greater productivity, better concentration, and a more pleasant attitude throughout the day. Food service workers want to be comfortable just as much as anyone else.
The challenge is to find that perfect balance between comfort and safety. For example, a loose-fitting pair of pants might be the most comfortable for workers at a large-scale bakery, but they might not be the best option when working around commercial mixers and other kitchen equipment.
People who have never worked in food service do not understand just how much punishment clothing takes. There is a lot going on in the average kitchen, and uniforms have to be able to withstand it all. They must hold up against stains, hot liquids, sharp surfaces, and so much more. A good food service uniform is up to the challenge day after day.
Function is non-negotiable in the food service setting. Take your average restaurant server, for example. His or her uniform has to have enough pockets to accommodate everything that needs to be carried during a shift. The server’s apron must be long enough to be effective but not so long that it causes the server to trip. In states where headgear is mandated, it must be effective enough to keep hair in place without being a nuisance to the server.
4. Aesthetic Appeal
Next, a great food service uniform does have a certain amount aesthetic appeal. Front-of-house staff need attractive uniforms that customers find appealing. Otherwise, the business runs the risk of not being taken seriously. Aesthetic appeal is important in the back of the house as well and in manufacturing environments, but for different reasons.
Even workers who do not directly interact with customers desire a certain amount aesthetic appeal. If workers believe their uniforms make them look like fools, they are not likely to wear them with any enthusiasm. That will rub off in their work. You want your workers to feel good about themselves whether they deal directly with customers or not.
Finally, great food service uniforms are designed with an eye on branding. Brand enhancement should be part of everything a company does inasmuch as brand speaks to who and what the company is. And lest you think branding is not necessary for workers outside of customer-facing roles, it is.
Like aesthetic appeal, you want your workers to take pride in the company brand. Designing uniforms to enhance branding helps accomplish that. The more workers take pride in their brand, the more enthusiastic they will be about doing their jobs.
How about your food service operation? Are you confident that your employees are wearing great uniforms, or is it possible that you are just getting by?