Home » Business

Dressing Your Restaurant for Success

Aug 18, 2007
Marketing your restaurant is something where you tend to turn your sites to the external. You think of signs, billboards, and radio and TV advertisements. But you might want to look inside as well; your restaurant staff could be attired in such a way that it builds up brand identity. In addition to increasing productivity, uniforms will boost your brand awareness.

Take an example: the Starbucks barista. As soon as I said that (assuming you're familiar with Starbucks), an image probably flashed through your mind of forest-green on kelly-green with white trim and the mermaid logo. That's what the baristas wear at Starbucks: smart, green-and-white uniforms with an energetic design. You could take the barista outside and recognize her anywhere. As soon as you see this uniform, you think of Starbucks. While you're in Starbucks, your eyes automatically zoom to the barista when you're ready for another order. Starbucks just wouldn't be Starbucks without that uniform.

There are now more than 1.2 million restaurant locations in the United States, which tells you that restaurant competition is tighter than ever before. What your staff wears adds a lot to the experience. A well thought out uniform will enhance the brand identity of your business, because your staff is the personal face of your company. As they represent you and your establishment, they should radiate competence and confidence to your customers, no matter if the kind of atmosphere you have is casual or formal.

Even in a casual sidewalk short-order grill, people want to see some uniformity. Perhaps because it promotes professionalism and it shows you care. For some sub-conscious reason, uniforms put your customers at ease. They identify the person in charge, and the good thing about somebody else being in charge is that it's not you. The pressure's off; you're in good hands! Just place your order, and the helpful, friendly staff person will take it from there.

Restaurant uniforms also help to keep the atmosphere of your establishment consistent. We have the tuxedo uniform, or waiter jacket and gloves combination, which can create an exclusive, "special occasion" atmosphere that makes the customer feel important and fancy. People have a psychological urge to spend big and tip big when in the presence of formal-dress staff.

But then, the casual restaurant also keeps its own brand identity when they have a heavily-themed or fun atmosphere. Think broad red-and-white stripes on a collared polo shirt, a snappy little black bow tie, and suspenders and you have a host or hostess at TGI Friday's. Happy day, it's party time! Time to unwind after work, relax, order a hearty, simple meal, and have a few laughs with your friends. You knew it as soon as you saw the outfit - of course you do! You're a regular, you come here all the time, right?

Likewise, an ethnic theme is a popular source of inspiration for restaurant staff uniforms. Whether Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Cajun, Samoan - any country you can name, the ethnic specialty of your restaurant can be creatively expressed by your staff's attire. For other kinds of theming, a creative and smart look can add to your restaurant's atmosphere of an exotic tropical outpost, a Greek amphitheater, or a suave and sultry beach-side resort.

Attractive and tasteful uniforms also help your staff's morale. It makes sense that if you would have to wear the same outfit every day at work, you'd at least want it to look good. No matter what the situation, being well-dressed imparts a sense of confidence, because people tend to treat you with more respect when you look like a million smiles. The branding becomes complete with the addition of a corporate logo, or other trim or accessories which echo the style and theme of your establishment. At that point, the link is made in your customer's mind between your restaurant and the staff's service.

Of course, you will not want to dress each staff member identically - it doesn't make sense to dress the chef exactly like the waitress. So you'd want to design a general theme, color scheme, and branding, then modify it so it's adaptable to the different needs of your different staff members. This is where your creativity comes into play; keep the design that you select standard enough to be easily branded and recognized, while also being flexible enough to accommodate different staff duties. Don't forget to include a variation for seasonal change, if it applies in your area.

Here's a great idea to firmly anchor your restaurant uniform scheme in your customer's mind: at your restaurant's Grand Opening, get the whole staff dressed up in their fresh uniforms and have them pose in front of your establishment for a group photo. Then frame this photo and hang it on the wall somewhere where your patrons will see it on their way out. The image will stay with the patron, and it's kind of like the whole staff thanked them for coming and told them to come back soon! It will help tie in the entire scheme together with the experience of being your happy, soon-to-return guest.
About the Author
Freelance writer for over eleven years.

Looking for a discount on your restaurant uniforms and accessories? You might want to check out these sites.
Discount Uniforms Restaurant Uniforms Dickies Medical Uniform Scrubs
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 139
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories