Things To Consider When Choosing a Uniform Pt. 1

June 10 2013 – Robert Fiumara

You know how important it is to choose the right uniform for your staff.  There are so many factors to consider. Should you have a uniform created with your logo or just set requirements for what can be worn by your employees?  Is it more important to create a specific image or to make sure that your staff is comfortable?  These questions and other just like them can make selecting a uniform an overwhelming task.  Below, you will find the top five things to keep in mind when making this important decision.


1.)    Understanding the Laws

The U.S. Department of Labor’s fair Labor Standards Act has some pretty clear rules about uniforms—what is considered a uniform and what is simply required clothing choices.  If you require a particular style of clothing (like a pair of suspenders or a tuxedo shirt), it is considered to be a uniform by the Department of Labor.  If you give only basic directions on what your employees should wear to work, but no specific brand or style (like requiring employees to wear khaki pants and a blue polo), this is not considered a uniform. 


The reason this is important to consider with selecting the look for your employees is because if you require a particular uniform, you are required, by law to provide it or to reimburse your employees for the cost of the uniform by the first pay period.  If you’re not sure if what you’re thinking of is considered a uniform think of this general rule: If you can easily wear it as street clothes and no one will know it’s a uniform, it’s not a uniform and the cost is the employee’s responsibility.


2.)    Making an Impression

The clothing your staff wears while doing their job will make an impression on your clientele.  It may not be a conscious impression (most people won’t comment on someone who’s dressed in a plain white dress shirt and a pair of slacks), but the way your staff is dressed makes an impact on the dining experience of your customers.


It’s a tested fact that customers feel that their server is more knowledgeable when they are dressed in professional attire than if they’re wearing street clothes.  This means that they are more likely to take a server’s recommendation and will feel confident that their food will be correct. When your customers have confidence in your staff, it can make a huge impression on their overall view of your restaurant and your food quality.  What impression do you want to make?


3.)    Who Are You?


The uniforms your select for your employees says a lot about who you are as an establishment.  If you’re servers are dressed in sneakers, jeans and a t-shirt, they will be comfortable, but it won’t say much about your restaurant other than it’s very casual.  If you want to present a casual restaurant, perhaps consider adding a logo to add uniformity to your staff and give your customers a clear identifier between employees and fellow diners.

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