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The Floor: All Black Dress Code vs. Casual Dress Code

waiter dress code
Server Uniforms and Dress Codes are a big part of a restaurant’s look and feel.

Server Uniforms and Dress Codes are a big part of a restaurant’s look and feel. Are you an all black everything house? Or do you wear street clothes for a casual vibe?

It feels like waiters have been wearing a lot of black since the beginning of time and for good reason! Black is great for covering up the fact that you have already worn the same shirt three times this week, spot cleaning along the way. In theory, an all black dress code policy assures that the FOH looks clean, professional and uniform…but in recent times we have seen a rise in a casual wear policy. This policy allows FOH to choose what they wear, so long as it looks professional and clean. We’ve all heard the grass is always greener on the other side, so which policy is better?

Here is a list of Pros and Cons for each dress-code policy and we’ll let you decide which one works best.

Keeping it Old School: The All Black Dress Code

PRO: Black clothes are great at hiding spilt food and beverages, no need to borrow Kelsey’s extra shirt that is slightly too small and has a lingering smell of body odor.
CON: Some black clothes fade a lot faster than others and you will likely look like a walking color palette of the many shades of grey.

PRO: You can have a few shirts, pants and skirts set aside specifically for work, so you don’t ruin your street clothes.
CON: Black clothes begin to take over your closet, then your soul, consuming any form of style you once had.

PRO: People recognize you as restaurant staff. Customers can easily identify you when you’re on the clock. When you’re off the clock, the local bar may recognize you’re in the industry which can come with some perks!
CON: If you don’t want to be recognized as a server when you’re off the clock, you carry around your wardrobe to and from work, sometimes in multiple bags. The neighborhood starts identifying you as the local bag lady.

Hipster Servers: The Casual Wear Dress Code

PRO: You don’t have to buy clothes specifically for work. You can express yourself at work with that awesome thrifted shirt from buffalo that tells the world, you’re not afraid of making something old new again!
CON: You soon realize you should probably buy some clothes specifically for work, because that one of a kind, thrifted shirt that perfectly expressed your style, just got red wine spilled all over it.

PRO: If you’re running late and your street clothes are presentable, you can clock on right away and not have to take the time to change into a uniform.
CON: You can spend a lot of time reverting back to your 14 year old self, changing your clothes three times before deciding which outfit is the best one for the evening shift.

PRO: You can leave work and go out with your friends without feeling like you need to change out of your work clothes
CON: When you’re on the clock, customers may not know you are a part of the staff and just think you’re an oddly nice person offering to buy drinks for the table.

Ashley Lange

Ashley Lange likes to cook, loves to bake and is always day-dreaming of her next meal. Ashley has spent the last 10 years in various roles within the food industry and is currently a server in Portland, Oregon.

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