Your food is amazing, your restaurant is well-planned and stylish, the furniture is comfortable and durable, your logo is perfect – but don’t forget about the uniforms! Your dress code or uniforms should echo the style and branding of your establishment. Make sure your employees are fully aware and on board – after all, if you have happy staff, you’ll have happy customers!

When creating a dress code for your establishment:

  • Consider comfort and durability, especially given the often hot and crowded quarters kitchen staff work in. Lightweight fabrics, short sleeves and moisture-wicking material are good choices.
  • Ensure that male and female staff uniforms are equivalent or similar in terms of style and design, and ensure your dress code complies with provincial human rights legislation.
  • Ensure that your dress code allows for cultural and religious accommodations, such as head scarves and hair styles.
  • Think about functionality – for example, server aprons may require pockets for tablets and wireless payment systems.
  • Look for colours that fit with your logo and branding, and consider more than white or black in the kitchen. Chef jackets come in a multitude of colours.
  • Solicit employee input. When buying new uniforms, have your employees test them out and try on various sizes before placing a full order.
  • Make sure potential employees are aware of your dress code and uniform policy during the interview and hiring process.
  • Put your dress code in writing and include it in your employee manual so all employees are aware of it and any issues can be discussed.

Related resources

Buying and maintaining uniforms – Rules by province

Coming soon! A new resource for Restaurants Canada members: How to Create a Positive & Inclusive Workplace

Developed in collaboration with Centennial College, this new guide outlines the business case for inclusion, along with the laws, regulations and best practices for your business.


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