The hospitality industry is known for its attention to detail, and one crucial aspect of this is the choice of uniforms for restaurant staff. In this post, we will explore the different types of uniforms, their purposes, and how they can impact a restaurant’s overall aesthetic and brand. We will also provide a timeline for planning and implementing your restaurant’s uniform strategy.
Why Restaurant Uniforms Matter
Uniforms serve multiple purposes in the hospitality industry. Not only do they present a professional image, but they also help create a cohesive brand identity, promote hygiene and safety, and foster a sense of belonging among employees. By carefully selecting uniforms that align with your restaurant’s values and aesthetic, you can create a memorable dining experience for your customers.
Types of Restaurant Uniforms
There are various types of uniforms available, each suited to different roles within a restaurant. Here, we’ve categorised them into two main lists: front-of-house uniforms and back-of-house uniforms.
- Host/Hostess Uniforms: Hosts and hostesses are often the first point of contact for customers, so their attire should be welcoming and polished. Consider tailored suits, dresses, or smart-casual attire that complements your restaurant’s theme.
- Waiter staff Uniforms: For waiter staff, uniforms should be both comfortable and functional. Options include button-up shirts, polo shirts, or blouses paired with trousers or skirts. Ensure that the chosen attire allows for ease of movement and includes pockets for iPad’s, notebooks and pens.
- Bartender Uniforms: Bartenders should wear clothing that is practical, stylish, and resistant to spills. Look for stain-resistant fabrics and consider providing aprons for added protection.
- Sommelier Uniforms: For sommeliers, a formal suit or dress with a tasteful necktie or scarf may be appropriate, depending on your restaurant’s level of formality.
- By adding a subtle yet distinct logo detail, some embroidery, brooch, or tie pin, to the uniform, creates a sense of unity and professionalism for the wearer while fostering brand recognition and loyalty from the diner.
- Chef Coats: Chef coats are an essential part of any professional kitchen. They protect chefs from spills and burns while also projecting an air of authority. Choose coats made from durable, breathable fabric that can withstand the heat of a busy kitchen. Again, think about adding some logo details. Maybe embroider the Restaurant’s name and the Chefs name too!
- Cook Shirts: For kitchen staff who are not in chef positions, cook shirts provide a more casual alternative to chef coats. Look for lightweight, breathable materials that can endure high temperatures and frequent washing.
- Aprons: Aprons are indispensable for protecting clothing from spills and stains. They come in various styles, including bib, waist, and bistro aprons, to suit your staff’s needs.
- Chef Trousers: Chef trousers should be comfortable, durable, and easy to move in. Chose fabrics that are breathable and resistant to stains.
- Headwear: Chef hats, skull caps, or bandanas can help maintain hygiene by keeping hair out of the food, while also adding a touch of professionalism to your kitchen staff’s attire.
- Adding a logo to any of the above, embellishes your chosen uniform and brings the Brigade together.
Planning and Timeline
By choosing McAra for your restaurant’s uniform design and supply, you can enjoy a hassle-free experience that focuses on quality, design, and a sustainable supply chain. Our bespoke uniform solutions cater to your restaurant’s unique aesthetic, while ensuring the utmost comfort and practicality for your staff.
To ensure your restaurant’s uniforms are implemented smoothly and effectively, follow this suggested timeline:
- From the time you are considering opening a new Restaurant or thinking of rebranding, contact McAra. Working alongside your Creative, Marketing or uniform team, we will help you to create a uniform brief and timeline in order to manage the expectation from day one. We will research uniform options to determine the desired aesthetic for your restaurant. Our team of experts will help you choose the best materials, designs, and styles to match your brand and vision. We have many suppliers here in the UK, Europe and the Far East, whom we work very closely with and, depending on the style required and the volume needed will determine the delivery timeline and this will be communicated at every stage of any project.
- Sampling: Depending on which manufacturer is chosen, samples can take anything from 2 days to 3 weeks to arrive. Lab dips for colour matching takes 2-3 weeks. Specialist woven fabric options can take 3-4 weeks. All timings will be factored into the timeline so there are no surprises!
- Once all has been signed off, McAra will send a sizing chart so that all members of staff have their required amount of uniform in their size. A rough guide would be:
- Full time employee – 3 x shirts/t-shirt/polo shirt. 2 x Suit Jacket. 2 x Suit Trousers/Skirt. 3 x Dresses. 3 x waistcoats. 2 x Tie/Bow Tie.
- Part time employee – 2 x shirts/t-shirt/polo shirt. 1 x Suit Jacket. 2 x Suit Trousers/Skirt. 2 x Dresses. 2 x waistcoats. 1 x Tie/Bow Tie.
- Aprons – depending on your Laundry Policy would depend on whether aprons are given out each day and laundered in house or if employees are responsible for washing.
- While all is being manufactured, McAra would discuss and confirm how the Uniform Rollout would need to be delivered and dates for all to be onsite confirmed.
- 1-2 weeks before opening: Receive and distribute uniforms to staff. Make any necessary alterations or adjustments to volume with McAra’s support.
- Opening week: Ensure all staff members are wearing their uniforms correctly and consistently and provide guidance on proper care and maintenance.
- Ongoing: Periodically assess the condition of uniforms and replace or repair as needed with McAra’s assistance of course! Update uniforms to align with any changes in your restaurant’s branding or aesthetic.
Tax tabbing Uniforms – what is Tax Tabbing?
A ‘Tax Tab’ is a small label applied to work uniforms, generally to identify them as a uniform, which is owned by the company, so they are not viewed by HMRC as a “benefit in kind” and adversely affect the wearer’s tax code. This means of identification must be clearly visible and non-removable. A pinned name badge will not suffice. However, if a garment is otherwise branded with the company logo, e.g. embroidered or printed, this is also generally acceptable to HMRC.
FAQs about Restaurant Uniforms
To help you make the best decisions for your restaurant’s uniforms, we’ve compiled answers to some frequently asked questions:
How do I choose the right uniform supplier?
ALook for suppliers with a solid reputation and a wide range of bespoke, uniform options. Ask for samples to assess the quality of the materials, and enquire about customisation options, bulk discounts, and delivery times.
How can I maintain the quality of my staff’s uniforms?
Encourage staff to follow care instructions provided by the manufacturer, such as washing and drying guidelines. Regularly inspect uniforms for signs of wear and tear, and repair or replace them as needed. Consider providing staff with multiple sets of uniforms to ensure they always have a clean, professional appearance.
In conclusion, selecting the right uniforms for your restaurant is essential in creating a cohesive brand identity and ensuring the comfort and safety of your staff. By carefully considering the various options available and planning for their implementation, you can create a polished and professional atmosphere that will enhance your customers’ dining experience.
With McAra as your uniform partner, you can trust that your restaurant’s uniforms will be designed and supplied with care, keeping sustainability and quality at the forefront. Our dedicated team will support you throughout the entire process, ensuring a seamless experience from start to finish.