Back to Basics: Clothes in the Kitchen - Entrepreneur Chef (2023)

When opening a restaurant, you should consider whether a uniform or dress code is required. In most cases, the answer will be 'yes': while your waiters and waitresses can get away with more freedom in what they can wear, your chefs should dress appropriately for safety's sake. Let the chefs use whatever they want and you could encourage injury and food contamination.

But what kind of characteristics are important when creating a chef's uniform? The following guide outlines just a few of the features you need from a security perspective, as well as some of the features that will keep your kitchen staff comfortable and productive.

choose a uniform

Introducing a uniform can be more efficient than introducing a dress code. While it's possible to break the rules of a dress code, a uniform tells people exactly what to wear. Some benefits of this include:

  • Security compliance:A uniform ensures that everyone's clothing meets a certain safety standard.
  • Equality of Employees:When everyone wears the same clothes, it can create a sense of equality that can help improve camaraderie.
  • An opportunity for the brand:You can also help develop your brand identity by incorporating your company colors and logos into your kitchen staff's uniform (if the kitchen staff stays behind the scenes, this may not matter as much, but it could be worth it). open kitchen). ).

There are companies that specialize in designing custom work uniforms, including custom kitchen uniforms. It might be worth checking out these companies for ideas on what your uniform might look like.

Below are some key features that might be worth considering when designing a uniform.

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Which color?

Traditionally, chefs' uniforms are all white. This trend started in France in the 19th century and has remained popular into the 21st century.callecentury. The reason white became popular is becausepromotes cleanliness. While other colors can hide blemishes, white cannot; this encourages employees to thoroughly clean their clothes after each shift.

You don't have to choose white as your uniform color. In fact, there are many successful restaurant chains that adopt other colors, such as blue, red, black and green. Ideally, if you don't opt ​​for white, choose a color that reflects your brand.

keep it loose

Loose clothing will likely be more comfortable. It helps to allow for more ventilation, which can be important in a hot kitchen. It also doesn't restrict movement, which can help increase your team's productivity.

Of course, this does not mean that clothes should be too baggy. If the pant legs are too long, they can be a tripping hazard. Likewise, you should avoid baggy sleeves that could be submerged in food or flames, posing a safety hazard. While some uniforms cut the sleeves down the middle of the forearm, others simply opt for tight-fitting wrist-length sleeves (this works against the benefits of having baggy clothing, but ensures that the entire arm is protected from hazards such as splashing hot liquids). ).

Apron or no apron?

Some kitchen uniforms involve the addition ofan apron. This can serve as an extra layer to prevent burns from smoke or splashes of hot liquid. An apron can also contain additional pockets for storing towels or thermometers. This can be convenient when working in a large kitchen, allowing employees to carry items with them.

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You can replace the need for an apron by simply giving employees a jacket with extra pockets and an extra protective layer on the front. However, some employers prefer the classic look of an apron. When choosing an apron, consider sturdy fabrics like denim or thick cotton.

caps and caps

It may also be worth including a hat or hairnet in the uniform. The purpose of the hats and headgear is clear: they prevent hair from getting into your food, while helping to keep it contained and out of the way while you work.

Hats must be made from a light, breathable fabric. There are many different styles of hats to choose from – you need to choose a style that suits the tone of your restaurants. Traditional beanies and bonnets, for example, are likely to be appropriate in fine dining settings, while baseball caps and flat caps may be more appropriate in casual, modern restaurants. You can learn more about the different chef hats here

uniform request

After designing a uniform, you need to decide whether or not to buy a load of uniforms to stock in your restaurant or order individual uniforms based on individual employee needs.

Buying uniforms in bulk can be much cheaper than buying uniforms individually, but there is no guarantee that all of those uniforms will be used. By purchasing uniforms individually, you can get the right size and ensure no uniforms go to waste. Most restaurants do not charge for employee uniforms unless they tend to lose or damage parts of their uniform.

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Other dress code features to consider

In addition to the uniform, you may want to consider other features of the dress code. Certain accessories can present problems when used in the kitchen; rules may be needed to prevent employees from using these accessories. Below are some additional features to consider.

the right shoes

While you can purchase shoes for your employees as part of the uniform, many companies find it easier to simply set a dress code for footwear, allowing employees to choose their own style of shoes as long as they meet certain criteria.

Many kitchens ask employees to wear non-slip flip flops or boots with reinforced toe caps. The non-slip part is important as there can often be spills in a kitchen and a fall can cause serious injury. Meanwhile, the reinforced toe caps can protect against hot liquids or heavy objects.

Some kitchens also advise against lace-up shoes. With no laces, there is no risk of someone tripping over an untied shoelace.

Remove jewelry and accessories.

You can also ban loose jewelry and accessories while in the kitchen. Watches, bracelets and necklaces can attract dirt and harmful bacteria that can get into food. These accessories can also interfere with food preparation, especially loose necklaces and bracelets.

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You may decide that piercing jewelry is acceptable, but many kitchens don't allow that either, as it can still be a source of germs. If employees don't want to remove their piercings, you can give them the option of covering them with a Band-Aid. Some kitchens also make exceptions for wedding bands.

Items of religious significance can be a contentious area. This could include a Sikh Kara bracelet or a Catholic cross necklace. Not allowing these jewelry items could be seen as discrimination, however allowing these jewelry items could be seen as a health and safety violation. You may want to evaluate this individually: if an employee with religious jewelry is unwilling to remove the item, you shouldn't force him to do so; however, if you're up for it, you should.

wearing glasses

Eyeglasses can pose some of the same health risks as jewelry, but they are a necessary form of vision correction that cannot be banned. Contact lenses may be more practical, but not everyone will want to wear contact lenses.

Some chefs invest in sport eyewear like the ones found on sites likeglasses. com. These glasses don't slip off your face, which might be necessary if you're very active. You can also invest in anti-fog lenses for your glasses, which won't fog up when exposed to steam.

masks and gloves

In some kitchens, chefs wear masks and gloves as an additional form of protection. Masks can prevent bacteria that settle in food from coughing or sneezing. Meanwhile, gloves can prevent the bacteria on your hands from ending up in food.

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There are downsides to wearing a mask or gloves in the kitchen that are worth considering. Masks can make communication difficult in a noisy kitchen. Meanwhile, gloves can sometimes encourage cross-contamination, especially if you handle meats and vegetables with the same gloves.

With himpandemicNowadays, masks have become much more common in kitchens. It's up to you to decide to continue to adopt them afterwards. Gloves tend to be less common – regular hand washing can be a more effective way to stop the spread of bacteria. An exception may be if you have a cut or wart on your hand, in which case it is worth wearing gloves.

You need to decide whether to promote disposable or washable masks/gloves in your workplace. Some people feel that disposable PPE is much safer, but less environmentally friendly. If you opt for washable PPE, make sure it is definitely being washed.


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