Restaurant Uniforms: Opportunities and Considerations

Restaurant uniforms allow your employees to be walking brand representatives for your restaurant. In a world with restaurants on every street corner, it’s essential to distinguish your restaurant from the competition. Branding every element of your operation is key to creating an image that stands apart from the crowd.

Why Branding Your Restaurant Uniforms is Important

Every point in your restaurant that guests come in contact with is an opportunity for branding, and restaurant uniforms are no exception.

The servers at Johnny Rockets wear retro white uniforms and black bow ties that reflect the restaurant’s 50s theme.  At SONIC, servers deliver meals to guests on roller skates to create the feel of a classic drive-in. Branded restaurant uniforms such as these will not only complement your restaurant’s atmosphere, but also contribute to it and reinforce it in the minds of your consumers.

How Restaurant Uniforms Affect the Guest Experience

Your staff helps to create an enjoyable experience for guests and what they wear can affect the way guests judge them and the experience they deliver.

A restaurant with a fun and kooky atmosphere may have restaurant uniforms with bright colors and crazy patterns, whereas a quiet, fine-dining restaurant may opt to dress servers in plain and serious tuxedo-like uniforms to create a more upscale or formal look.

Restaurant Uniform Design and Setting Your Brand Apart

Restaurant Uniforms - DesignWhen designed with branding in mind, a restaurant’s uniforms will blend seamlessly with its atmosphere and would look completely out of place in any other restaurant.

At El Shrimp Bucket, a quick-casual seafood restaurant chain owned by Mexico’s largest restaurant company, Grupo Anderson’s, the entire restaurant replicates a sea-worn shrimp boat. To complement their surroundings, the staff dresses in sailor outfits for their restaurant uniforms. Because these uniforms are designed specifically for El Shrimp Bucket, they wouldn’t work anywhere else, even in another seafood restaurant.

When designing your restaurant uniforms, think of the process as if you’re creating your brand’s own clothing line.  If your restaurant had a personality, what would it be?  How would it dress? Dress your employees the way you would dress your restaurant if you could.

Don’t Forget Your Staff’s Concerns

Also, keep comfort in mind. Your staff is always on the move, so you should make sure that they are comfortable.  Light fabrics, such as cotton, will make it easy for them to move around and stay cool.

Comfort was a big factor for Po’ Boys Creole Cafe, a Florida-based chain, when it released new restaurant uniforms for its female and male service staff, as well back-of-the-house employees.

Now the service staff wears T-shirts and khaki cargo shorts, and the kitchen staff wears cool pants and T-shirts, rather than chef coats, which can become extremely hot. The new uniforms resemble the relaxed style of  “casual luxury” retailers Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister. Not only are they comfortable for employees, but they contribute to Po’ Boys’ laid-back atmosphere.

What Have We Learned?

Restaurant uniforms can be a great way to enforce branding strategies for your restaurant. By choosing uniforms that are cohesive with your brand and unique to your restaurant, you can enhance the overall experience that guests will receive when they dine at your establishment.

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