0544148304 (MT) by Jon Taffer

0544148304 (MT) by Jon Taffer

Author:Jon Taffer [Taffer, Jon]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: New Harvest
Published: 2013-10-08T04:00:00+00:00

Staff Appearance

Server clothing is the last decision you make once the menu is done, because the food and drink determine what kind of physical demands will be placed on staff members—I’m not going to put white shirts on people who will be serving pasta dishes with red sauce, for instance. Staff appearance is part of four-walls marketing, so whatever you choose should make sense and relate to your bar’s concept. I’m not talking about putting your staff in ridiculous outfits—in fact, most of the time I do very simple T-shirts or button-down shirts. At Downey’s, I did logo ties; at Racks, I did low-cut red T-shirts. A server at Morton’s would never wear jeans, just as a bartender at a sports bar would never wear wool dress pants.

An actor puts on a costume and performs—this was the attitude Walt Disney took toward his park employees. He saw them as cast members, entertainers who played roles for the public. I’m with Walt; I like “costume” so much better than the word “uniform” and its rigid implications. When servers or bartenders think of themselves as wearing a costume, they have a different perspective on the job they are doing—it actually does increase the effectiveness of all the dynamics they’ve learned.

I want to talk about Hooters again here because, even though it’s a punch line to a lot of jokes, the company has a very interesting approach to costume. Believe me, as a former owner of two Hooters, I can tell you appearance standards play a vital part in the chain’s four-walls marketing. The Hooters appearance standards are very detailed and precise. Waitresses wear the same shorts and T-shirt; they wear the exact same Skechers sneakers, the same socks, the same standard bra style, and the same Hooters-approved pantyhose, sold from a vending machine in the back of every restaurant. Nail polish, earrings, hairstyles, makeup—the standards for every aspect of a waitress’s appearance is defined and explained so nothing is left to chance. In fact, the dressing room in the back of the restaurant has posters illustrating how nails should look, how to cover tattoos, and so on.

The real benefit of the Hooters costume is that customers can tell with a glance which women are waitresses. When you can’t tell the servers from the customers, it’s a problem. I ran a business where the servers wore name tags but otherwise wore a simple outfit that came from their own wardrobes. If they did not have a name tag, they could not go out on the floor, because it was the only distinguishing feature that let customers know the person was a member of the staff. I kept ten name tags with different names on a bulletin board in my office. If someone forgot his tag, he would pay a two-dollar “rental fee” to use one of mine. That went into a big jar in my office, and when it filled up we’d use the proceeds for staff parties. It was a good way


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