Keeping Your Front-House Staff Dressed Appropriately

We’ve talked about how you might want or require your customers to dress when they enter your establishment. Depending on the situation, you may require anything from simple sandals and a shirt to a suit and tie. What may matter more than how your clientele dresses is how your staff dresses; if nobody is in your establishment, they’ll be the point-man that defines the style and feel of your restaurant. There’s many factors to consider when working out your company’s dress code; have you thought of them all?

Safety First, Comfort Second

  • In all situations, you will want your employees to wear closed-toe shoes. This minimizes the possible injuries that can come from dropped knives, grease, and more. A good rubber sole is suggested as well for grip, and you want comfort for those that are standing all day. Less wear and tear on your staff mean less time calling out, injuries, and accidents.
  • Heels may be something of debate with your female staff; waitresses and hostesses may want to wear heeled shoes for appearance-sake, but heels cause more damage to the body (and are more prone to accident). Prohibiting them would not be out of the question, and is a decision best left to yourself.

Front Of The House, Face Of The Business

  • As manager or owner, you’ll want to dress at least on the level of the front of the house staff, if not slightly more professional. While you’re one of the crew and can put in the time when needed, you’re also their boss and the representative of the business, professionally.
  • If your business is relaxed, you may allow your staff to have a relaxed dress code, but with a few caveats. You may want to limit the amount of skin showing, request a few safety-related hair care minimums (“no beards”, for example, to minimize the chance of hair falling into food) and the like (fake fingernails may come detached).
  • Remember personal religious or cultural beliefs may factor into a staff member’s appearance. Do not trample on someone’s personal code of dress, which will allow them to express themselves while falling safely within your guidelines.
  • If your location is casual enough, you may want to look in getting custom t-shirts made for your staff, advertising special deals or just simply keeping the brand alive and in everyone’s face. This concept allows your staff to be relaxed in the everyday t-shirt, while keeping a uniform look amidst.
  • If your location is more formal, you may request your staff to wear slacks, button-up dress shirts, or even polos. There’s a spectrum of options that may work for your needs.
  • One way to unify your staff while allowing them a unique identity and convenience is using aprons. These can help you protect your clothing while also adding pockets for order books, napkins, and more.

Cleanliness Is Key

  • We’ve all had that moment where the laundry wasn’t fully done and we had to run to work; yesterday’s jeans just might suffice in that situation. If you can tell your employee’s clothes are not up to snuff, though, you may request that they make sure to wear fresh ones next time.
  • Accidents happen, and invariably someone’s pants, shorts, or shirt will get messy; ketchup, soft drinks, guacamole and more will all get on your staff at some point. Treat the situation with care; if you have promotional or back-up shirts that can do in a pinch, let the staff change instead of walking around in a stained or soaked shirt. If not, you may want to let them leave for an extended break to go home and change, or leave early for the day.