A perfect staff uniform is essential to your company’s success. Long before clients and guests enjoy a first sip of wine or taste of hors d’oeuvre, they form an impression based on the image of your staff. When the planner, chef, and server are carefully attired, neatly groomed, and professionally poised, clients relax and guests trust that they are in good hands.
I recently consulted with a company whose strong sales team generated smart proposals and whose Chef was quite talented. Clients seemed fairly pleased with their overall performance but the company failed to win repeat business or client referrals. The reason became clear almost at once and was easy to remedy.
The Problem: The staff’s appearance was in complete disarray. Their uniforms were not standardized and their general presentation was sloppy. Additionally, the staff arrived to event sites in common street clothes. It was not unusual to see servers enter a client’s home wearing any combination of leather wrist bands, tank tops, hoodies, eye-catching jewelry, open toed sandals, or tennis shoes. One memorable outfit was composed of a Foo Fighters tee-shirt, bathing suit, and flip flops! With tuxedo bags slung over shoulders, these young men and women often juggled lattes, cell phones, cigarettes, and bags of fried food.
The Solution: The company’s management did a complete makeover of its staff wear so that servers and chefs appeared starched and polished in standardized uniforms. Even the sales team was coached by an image consultant. Servers and chefs were instructed to arrive to events in full uniform, properly groomed, with straight posture and a friendly smile. No cigarettes or fast food were permitted once in uniform. Numerous staff members later volunteered that they felt new pride in their jobs and believed that their uniform helped them reach this professionalism. Within no time, the company tracked a significant increase in repeat business and referrals.
Proper attire and focus on image reflect care and respect for all concerned. When clients and guests see how much thought your company puts into presenting a polished appearance, they will feel confident in your attention to all the other details that combine to make a great event. As much as good food and flawless event orchestration contribute to the overall catering experience, don’t forget that presentation will prove your strongest suit. So, regardless of your company’s style or mission, a thorough review of uniform policy is beneficial. Even if the preferred choice of ensemble is a colorful tee with swimsuit!
Jon Wool, President/Owner, Finesse Cuisine Catering and Events, Chicago
A former actor who performed in film, television and theatre, Jon received a BFA in acting from Carnegie Mellon University’s prestigious theatre conservatory before attending Loyola University‘s Graduate School of Business. Prior to opening Finesse, Jon served as Senior Vice President of Wolfgang Puck‘s national catering and launched Puck’s Chicago initiative. Along with his current responsibilities with Finesse, he is a noted speaker and consultant. He contributes to entrepreneurial programs at DePaul University, Chief Executive Boards International and is an Adjunct Professor at Kendall College School of Hospitality. A Chicago media favorite, Jon appears regularly on local television and hosts the popular internet radio show, The Finesse Cuisine Hour, which features hospitality and entrepreneurial experts. Drawing from his early life as an actor, Jon considers each catered event a one of a kind theatrical experience.