By Sean Moon
If we can believe Mark Twain, clothes not only “make the man” (or woman), they can also make – or break – your restaurant business.
The type of uniform a person wears is a key factor in building credibility, trust and identification in industries ranging from hospitals to hospitality. In the foodservice business, the clothing your staff dons every day is equally important. Not only does a uniform reflect the image and brand of your business, it should be a comfortable and functional piece of equipment, as well as a vehicle for building a sense of team spirit.
“The right uniforms will communicate a restaurant’s brand position and shows credibility,” says Leslie Molin, senior marketing manager at Cintas Canada. “They also enable customers to easily identify your employees, creating a memorable and safe experience for guests.”
As first impressions go, a staff member’s uniform becomes an important part of the customer experience. Customers want to see clean and well-dressed staff, not untidy or uncoordinated outfits that are unrelated to the restaurant’s theme or image, according to Veraida-Lyn Bermejo, marketing director of Montreal-based Town and Country Uniforms.
“A clean and proper uniform can speak a lot about the restaurant itself,” says Bermejo. “If the entire staff is wearing the same uniform or same theme, it gives an impression to customers that the restaurant is aware of their image. The type of uniform chosen completes the package of the restaurant’s image and the customer’s expectations.”
Although branding is one of the major factors to consider when selecting a uniform for your staff, so too are the comfort and functionality of the outfit. Not only does a uniform have to look good and accentuate the marketing aspects of your establishment, it must also stand up to the rigors of day-to-day restaurant service in terms of durability, quality and seasonal appropriateness.