A recent article in Forbes Magazine debunked the rumor that 90% of restaurants fail within the first year. It’s actually closer to 1 in 5 and is typically higher in restaurants with smaller staffs. But even so, the restaurant industry can be a cutthroat place to start a business. What can set you apart in an industry as competitive as hospitality? Our recommendation? Start with your image.
Great looking uniforms provide a wide range of benefits and can positively influence restaurant patrons at every touchpoint in your restaurant. Consider the following benefits from the restauranteur’s perspective:
- Branding/Tone. Uniforms provide a branding opportunity and can help set the tone for the restaurant you’re selling. Are you a fun, family-centered restaurant? Try fun, colorful, more casual uniforms. Are you an upscale, white tablecloth restaurant with eyes set on a Michelin star? Try something more formal – white aprons, tuxedoed hosts, etc.
- Stain-resistant fabrics. Let’s face it – spills happen. Luckily, many uniform options are available in stain-resistant fabrics. This is key to making sure that your restaurant staff maintain a clean and fresh look during restaurant shifts. (Added benefit of hospitality uniforms – they prevent your staff from damaging their own clothes!)
- Employee loyalty. Finally, having a consistent look for your restaurant staff provides an elevated level of employee loyalty. Much like an athlete’s uniform designates they’re part of a team, a restaurant staff will have the same feeling of belonging, camaraderie, and pride in their coworkers.
Now, let’s think about it from the patron’s perspective. How are uniformed restaurant employees viewed by patrons?
- Easily identifiable staff roles. Ever been in a restaurant where the staff is dressed almost identically to the patrons? How long did it take you to track down your server to get the check? Restaurant staffs that are dressed in clearly identifiable uniforms put the patrons at ease and make it easier to distinguish roles within the facility. For instance, a host should be dressed differently than a server or a chef.
- Exude competency. No matter where an employee is stationed in the restaurant – the host stand, a server, or a member of the kitchen staff – patrons want them to exude a competency that they’ll get their jobs done. Uniformed restaurant employees give off an air of capability right from the first glance.
- Appear approachable. Employees who wear uniforms as viewed as more approachable, courteous, and friendly than those who don’t wear uniforms. Restaurants are, after all, part of the customer service industry. Uniformed employees appear accessible, welcoming, and responsive to patrons’ needs. • Be a professional. This one’s pretty simple – uniforms equal professionalism. When an employee is in uniform, they are expected to uphold the restaurant’s code of conduct and act accordingly. A uniform presumes the employee is here to work.
At the end of the day, it comes down to optics. If you’re a patron looking at a restaurant, what would you rather see? A grungy kitchen filled with employees wearing ratty t-shirts, or a clean kitchen filled with a cook staff in chef coats and hats? Restaurant uniforms can go a long way to making your patrons feel comfortable, taken care of, and welcomed at your location.