Have you ever had an employee show up for work in a dirty, wrinkled or smelly uniform? Any veteran of in the food service industry has seen this before and have all heard the same excuses, “I didn’t have time to wash my uniform,” or “It was the only shirt or apron I could find.” If image means anything to you, your food truck staff are at the front lines of your businesses overall image.
In an email survey we sent out to our readers, we asked “What a dirty, wrinkled or smelly uniform on a food truck staff member mean to you when you go out to eat?” The common answer was that it indicated that the truck and its kitchen were likely to be dirty too, or that it showed a lack of care and attention to detail. Further, most indicated that it would be an additional factor as to whether they wanted to visit the food truck again.
A strict uniform policy will help safeguard your businesses image:
Stinky or smelly uniform: Showing up for work with a clean, ironed uniform should be part of your employee policy. A uniform service is often the best solution to this issue, but for those who don’t use a uniform service; this rule should be required among your staff. And by all means, perfume should always be off limits! Perfume masks the senses and prevents your customers from enjoying the value of their meal.
Wrinkled uniform: A wrinkled uniform represents untidiness among your staff. The respondents in our survey indicated that a wrinkled uniform reminded them of someone who had just crawled out of bed. Consider uniforms that are made of a polyester woven fabric that is easier to keep tidy.
Dirty or soiled uniform: Sure, we all know this almost unpreventable by the end of a shift. But at the beginning of a shift it is preventable. If your food truck staff spends any time working at the service window or outside of the truck make sure they change their aprons before they present themselves to your customers.
A solid uniform policy should be embedded with your hiring and training policies. A uniform that looks neglected speaks silently to your customers about the person wearing it. Unfortunately, the customers see a dirty, smelly, wrinkled uniform as a larger part of your whole operation, and usually incorporate that image into their overall experience at your truck. On the other side of the equation, a clean uniform implies the exact opposite: neat and clean atmosphere, with tidy and respectful service.
Having a uniform policy is a disciplinary issue that speaks volumes about the nature of your staff and your food truck business. It’s a policy that is relatively simple to enforce and maintain. Clean uniforms mean a clean food truck in the eyes of your customers which is another reason for them to keep coming back.