Uniforms are very important in the restaurant industry. Let’s face that fact. And let’s face the irony of the fact that, on the one hand, your employee uniforms are designed to give a uniformity in the brand image of your restaurant, and on the other hand, your employee uniforms are meant to make your restaurant (or restaurant chain) be unique. Uniformity AND uniqueness – those are the two contradictory imperatives of a good restaurant uniform. Let’s dive into that topic with some key thoughts about selecting restaurant uniforms online.
- Brand Image Drives Restaurant Uniform Selection. First and foremost, you must define the brand image that you want to project. Are you an upscale French restaurant where quality is the main objective, and the cost can be quite high? Or, are you a downscale restaurant such as a Philly Cheese shop that focuses on fun, fast food in a very informal atmosphere? Or perhaps you’re the next McDonald’s with a national chain system that communicates a “safe choice” that’s “always the same” even if it isn’t the best? It all depends. Whatever your brand is for your restaurant, the rest of your employee uniform selection will follow.
- More Than One Person Wears the Uniform. Here, think about the different types of employees (e.g., chefs vs. waiters, greeters vs. cashiers., etc.), but also think of the different types of people who will wear your uniform (men vs. women, thin people vs. not-so-thin people). Your restaurant uniforms need to look great, and be consistent across many roles and across many different body types. A buffed man may look great in a tight polyester shirt, but a not-so-buffed man may not look so great. White may be a great choice for your greeters, but not such a great choice for your busboys and busgirls. So chart out the different roles, and the different body types that will wear your uniforms. Brainstorm a consistent look and feel that looks great across the spectrum! One of the most fantastic elements about making the restaurant uniform decision online, is online eCommerce sites allow you to quickly brainstorm many looks and feels for your employee uniforms.
- More Than One Person Makes the Decision. Now, on to the decision-makers. Unless you are a sole proprietor, more than one person needs to be involved. The last thing you want to do is to commit to a big order of uniforms, then outfit the whole company, and then (and only then) have the CEO come in. He or she might then exclaim, “Oh heck no! We’re not going with that look!” So, it’s wise to first get everyone involved, and have them see mock ups. If you’re a big national chain, you might “test” your new uniforms in only one location. Make sure everyone is on board, and we mean everyone! Another advantage to the online selection process is that your team members need not be in the same room at the same time; you can email them URL’s and suggested uniform ideas.
- Consider Your Budget. What’s your budget? And by this we don’t mean just your budget per uniform, but your budget across the entire company, and whether you plan to change your uniforms frequently or not. Obviously, it costs more to upgrade your employee uniforms more frequently, but if you want to be trendy… then you’ll need to budget for more frequent changes. If you’re going to be consistent across time (and sacrifice the ability to say, Look! We’re new and improved!)… then you need less money over time. But be consistent with your budget needs.
- Think to the Future. It takes some time to brainstorm new employee uniforms, some time to get the uniforms made and out there on the employees. So don’t look at what’s cool today, and decide. Rather, look to the future. What will look good six months from now? One year from now? Keep an eye on the future, and “lead” into it.
Restaurants are one of the most fun industries we work with. Not only because restaurants are trendy (everyone wants to go to the “new” joint in town), but also because food and the experience of dining is FUN. Hospitals aren’t so fun, for example, though we do a lot of work with healthcare uniforms. But restaurants are really fun, and our employee uniform idea consultants have a great time working with potential customers to help them brainstorm their restaurant uniform ideas online from the very initial idea down to long-term deployment.