Published 11.11.22

Dishing Out an Effective Uniform Program for Dining Services

Whether you run a foodservice operation at a small community college or a large university, outfitting employees in high-quality uniforms is key.
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A uniform program allows dining services staff to look their best while cooking and serving food for students, faculty and guests. Uniforms also provide numerous other benefits, so it’s important for dining hall managers to understand what to look for in foodservice uniforms and how to make the most of a program.

The benefits of a uniform program

One of the key benefits of adhering to uniform standards is maintaining a positive image. Everything from the ambiance to employees’ appearance directly impacts a student’s perception of the institution. Uniforms with cohesive colors and designs give employees a professional and consistent appearance that elevates a dining program.

Another top priority for dining services is preserving a clean workplace. For example, aprons designed for use in a foodservice setting can help control the spread of mess and other contaminants. Students and staff will also feel comfortable eating in an environment where grooming and uniforms clearly communicate that cleanliness is a priority.

Many universities outfit dining services staff in uniforms that align with their official primary or secondary colors, which can contribute to the overall student experience and provide a sense of welcome and school pride. Matching uniforms also help students easily identify staff members from non-staff. Plus, maintaining a uniform program shows workers that they are valued by an organization and are part of a larger team.

What to look for in uniforms

In addition to outfitting staff with uniforms they want to wear, it’s important to look for uniforms with design features that will help ensure employees look and feel their best. Consider the following:

Uniforms that can handle the heat: Foodservice employees are often hard at work in warm environments, and sweating is inevitable. Look for uniforms made from lightweight moisture-wicking fabric equipped with mesh panels that help cool air flow to the body and prevent the wearer from becoming overheated. Add value to your program with garments that have moisture-wicking panels in areas where sweat condenses, such as the underarm and collar areas.

Durable but comfortable garments: Poly-cotton blend fabrics also provide a desirable balance: the polyester strengthens the garment, while the cotton allows increased breathability, which is especially important around hot grills, ovens and dishwashers.

Uniforms built for tough stains: While white is commonly worn by dining services staff to showcase a clean, professional environment and skilled workers, it is a color that also stains very easily. Soil release properties that prevent stains from setting into the fibers of a garment are a valuable element of any foodservice uniform.

On the menu: a well-managed uniform program

A partnership with a trusted uniform provider can elevate the image of your dining program, so search for a provider that offers professional laundering services and consistent drop-offs of clean garments and pick-ups of garments that are ready to be laundered. Look for a program that also offers a wide range of uniform fits for both men and women in addition to high-quality fabrics and design features. A worthwhile uniform provider will also inspect garments for damage and repair and replace these as needed.

Outfitting employees in high-quality uniforms allows university foodservice operations to project a consistent and professional image. With a smart uniform program in place, your employees can work comfortably and feel like a welcome part of the team, while students and faculty are greeted and served by well-dressed, professional workers. Similar to how the right professors can make a positive impact on students’ lives, the right uniforms have the power to transform the appearance and overall feel of a busy, chaotic university into a neat and friendly learning environment.

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