When guests walk into a restaurant, their server is one of the first things they see. Server appearance contributes significantly to a guest’s impression of a restaurant, and that’s why wearing and maintaining appropriate attire is an important part of a server’s job responsibilities.
Restaurant server uniforms
That said, what constitutes appropriate attire depends on where you work. Many hotels and upscale restaurants tend to have more traditional standards for server uniforms. Button-up shirts and dress pants or skirts may be required, and generally, these settings do not allow servers to have visible facial piercings, exposed tattoos, or extreme hair or cosmetic styles.
Restaurants, bars, and cafés with casual atmospheres may allow and even encourage more individualized clothing choices among their servers, especially if those choices mesh with the interior style or theme of the establishment. No matter where a server works, however, it is important that guests can tell the difference between servers and other guests, so even casual establishments may have uniform requirements. T-shirts and hats with logos are a staple of many casual establishment uniforms. If your workplace does not issue staff uniforms, familiarize yourself with the workplace dress code to guide your attire choices.
No matter how your establishment requires servers to dress, personal hygiene rules are always a must. Shower or bathe before each shift, and always wear clean clothes to work. Establishments with uniform requirements often give each employee more than one uniform, which can help you keep your uniform clean without having to do laundry between every shift. Server nails should be short and well-groomed, and servers with long hair must keep it pulled back so that it does not fall into food.
Other server tips
To wrap up, the Waiter Fundamentals blog offers a few easy tips for servers to keep in mind:
- Tuck in your shirt—this is a quick, easy way to keep yourself looking fresh and neat.
- If you can, bring a spare uniform. As Waiter Fundamentals points out, “Accidents do happen, so having that extra shirt when you need it will be a life saver.”
- Wear clean, well-shined shoes.
By dressing appropriately for work, you support your workplace and your own chances of bringing in great tips.
This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.