If you’ve ever been confronted by a server in a bloody, stained and disheveled apron, you probably remember that more vividly than you do the meal you were enjoying at the time.
As the owner of an eating establishment, recognize that a faux pas like this gives diners a valid reason to never return. The appearance of your staff is always important, but never more than when your business is food-industry-related. Clean, pressed uniforms and a neat overall appearance are vital for anyone who’s serving, cooking or otherwise preparing food. A glimpse of the apron your staff member is wearing is often the first impression seated guests have of how you run your restaurant.
A stark white apron on a server is an accident waiting to happen. If you have an affinity for white or light colors, contain it to the kitchen where guests are least likely to see it. Keep a supply of extra crisp, clean aprons on hand for your chef to slip into should a diner wish to compliment him in person.
In the meantime, outfit your servers, bus people and cashiers in darker, more serviceable colors to help camouflage stains and spills.
Few styles of apron are more classic than the bistro. Whether it’s a half-length or a full-length, there’s just something about the formality of a long, slim apron that gives your serving staff a professional appearance. Your kitchen staff may not find this style quite as serviceable as a cobbler or bib apron, but for wait staff, they’re the bomb-diggety. Patrons love to feel like they’re dining above their means. Outfitting your staff with upscale aprons to top their uniforms helps lend credence to that notion.
Pockets are always a plus. If you do utilize the sleek, smooth lines of bistro aprons in your eating establishment, consider topping them with a vest, especially for staff who are moving from table to table, taking orders. Even something so simple as having a pocket for an order pad and pen will help raise morale among your employees, not to mention your clientele, who are fond of getting what they ordered the first time around.
Fit and Fabric
Fast on the heels of making a great first impression come fit and fabric. Whether you’re dressing your staff in bib, V-neck or waist aprons, the style you choose should be sturdy, easily cleaned and resistance to liquids. Low maintenance fabrics are a must. Employees want something that goes easily from washer to dryer to work with minimal fuss. Steer clear of anything that requires dry cleaning or ironing unless you’re hoping to spawn a restaurant full of staff that look like they just stepped off the set of “The Walking Dead”.
And order aprons in sizes to fit everyone on your staff. One size fits most is a myth. Nothing looks worse than an employee stuffed into a vest two sizes too small or wafting through the dining room billowing clouds of apron behind.