Well-designed and well-coordinated uniforms are important for your restaurant’s brand. To customers, they set a standard of professionalism and reinforce your image. For employees, they set a standard of comfort and pride, which is also evident to your customers.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, if you require your staff to wear specific styles of clothing (tuxedo shirts, for example), those are considered uniforms, and you must provide them for your minimum wage employees. If these employees buy their clothes initially, you must reimburse them by the next regular payday.
If you require uniforms for workers making above minimum wage, you can ask them to purchase their clothes, but the expense cannot place them in the below minimum wage category.
If you give only general guidelines for work attire (black jeans and white T-shirt), these are not considered uniforms.
If you have custom uniforms that should be dry cleaned, you are responsible for the cleaning costs. If uniforms can be washed at home, you are not responsible for those costs.
Image and Branding
Because your employees are the representatives of your restaurant, you want them to put forward an image that’s professional, reputable, clean, and organized. You probably also want your staff and their apparel to mirror the quality and type of food you serve and the atmosphere you set. You have paid a lot of attention to your logo design, your color choices in the restaurant, and a myriad of other details. Your uniforms are a vital part of these considerations.
Uniforms also offer valuable cues for your customers. If you use different colors or styles for the servers, management, hosts, hostesses, bartenders, bus staff, and chefs, your guests will ask the right people the right questions.
Two typical forms of decoration are screen printing and embroidery. Each method has pros and cons, depending on the logo design, fabric type, and style of garment. Screen printing is more casual and is usually done on T-shirts, while embroidery has a higher perceived value and is usually done on golf shirts, dress shirts, chef coats, aprons, and hats.
Though keeping your costs low is a wise consideration, you may want to think about paying a bit more for high-quality items that can stand up to frequent wear, washing, and spills.
You can save money by purchasing larger quantities of uniforms to use for replacements and new hires.
When you purchase decorated apparel items, consider extending your image through a retail program. Your customers will be your billboards with your branded apparel, mugs, pint glasses, and numerous other marketing item possibilities.
Fabrics and Functions
- 100% cotton – natural, resists pilling, breathes well but does not dry quickly, tends to wrinkle and/or shrink
- Ring spun and combed cotton – natural cotton fiber that is processed to create a softer feel and extend durability
- Polyester – synthetic, wrinkle and stain resistant, holds shape and color, durable; garment feel is less popular than cotton
- Spun polyester – synthetic fiber with a softer feel
- Jersey – knitted instead of woven, slight stretch, soft and breathable, softens with washing
- Pique – knit fabric characterized by raised cords or ribs in an all-over waffle, honeycomb, or diamond pattern; popular for golf shirts
- Rayon – synthetic, excellent softness and drape similar to silk, absorbent, tends to wrinkle and shrink
- Satin – synthetic fabric with silky and shiny finish, dry clean only
- Twill – strong and durable cotton or cotton/poly blends, woven with distinct diagonal lines on the face
- Spandex – super stretchy, retains shape, resistant to perspiration, washes well
- Prewashed/preshrunk – fabric washed or treated before construction to prevent shrinking
- Stain resistant/stain release – fabric treated to resist stains or release stains when washed
- Moisture wicking – draws moisture away from the skin to be quickly evaporated
- Anti-microbial – treated, or a natural benefit of the fabric (such as bamboo), to reduce odor-causing bacteria
If you order unisex or men’s sizes for women, you generally order one size smaller than what the women’s sizes would be. For specific women’s and men’s styles, follow these tips for a custom fit.
- Neck – Measure around the base of the neck. The number of inches equals the neck size.
- Sleeve length – Start from the center of the back, at the neck, and measure across the shoulder to the elbow and down to the wrist.
- Chest – Measure across the fullest part of the chest, under the arms, and across the shoulder blades. Keep tape measure straight across back.
- Waist – Measure at the height where pants are usually worn. Keep tape measure firm but not tight.
- Inseam – Measure the inside of the leg from crotch down to the top of the shoe. You can also measure from the crotch to the hem of a similar pair of pants that fits well.
- Chest – Measure across the fullest part of the bust. Keep the tape measure straight and parallel to the floor.
- Waist – Measure at the smallest section of the natural waistline.
Buying a larger quantity of uniforms saves on apparel prices and shipping costs. We can assist with your uniform needs as well as kitchen cutlery and floor mats, branded retail products, and an unlimited array of other marketing items.
Call us, or fill out the form on the right with any questions. 1.888.383.3071