How to choose the right hospitality clothing for your role

With the hospitality industry reopening after lockdown, many businesses are updating their staff uniform to showcase new styles and attract new customers back to their establishments.

Yet, it can be challenging to know what uniform to go for with so much choice, especially if you have to purchase workwear for your entire team, who might have very different roles.

Waitress stood at a barWaitress stood at a bar

This article will show you the top things to look out for when purchasing workwear, the best workwear for every hospitality role and the top things to look for in the best garment manufacturing companies to choose from.

Interested instead in looking at the top uniform trends within hospitality? You can see our recent article about them here, including an interview with one of Alexandra’s Lead Designers.

What is the hospitality industry?

In general, the hospitality industry has sub-sectors which include hotels, restaurants, catering, recreational activities (bowling alleys, ice rinks, cinemas etc.) and events management.

As the industry is so broad, many businesses find it helpful to signify their sub-sector through their uniform. Most roles tend to have their uniform tropes (such as hats on a hotel bellboy uniform), which help customers understand staff roles and hierarchy and this gives a coherent first impression.

Who needs a uniform?

The different jobs in the hospitality industry are wide-ranging to include everything from management and cleaners to chefs and waiters. 

Despite the wide range of roles, there are general principles every uniform adheres to. Later, this blog post will look at the kind of uniform suitable for the following roles:

  • Management
  • Waiting staff
  • Reception staff
  • Chefs
  • Cleaning staff
Waitress serving a customer at a tableWaitress serving a customer at a table

What to look for in all hospitality clothing

Below is a list of general principles to stick to when selecting hospitality clothing for any role.

Look for clothing designed to be durable

Clothing an entire team can be a significant expense, so it’s not something you want to do often. You should look for clothing that’s designed to last a long time, even through the harsh conditions of shift work and the industrial laundering process. To find durable clothing, you should consider:

The garment’s material

You should choose any cotton clothing reinforced with a polyester blend so that you’re not sacrificing durability for comfort. Natural cotton keeps clothing breathable, whereas synthetic polyester gives the fabric a tougher quality and can be easier to clean.

Whether the garment has a guarantee

Look for retailers that offer a guarantee on their clothing, as this shows they design their garments to be durable. Alexandra is one such retailer, and we offer a 2-year guarantee on all of our own-brand garments to demonstrate our faith in their durability.

Make sure you choose comfortable clothing

To make sure your staff are able to do their jobs to the best of their ability, you need to make sure they’re comfortable.  Look for clothing that’s been designed with your industry in mind for the specific roles you’re purchasing for. This ensures that garments are comfortable while staff carry out their roles and conform to the right safety standards. 

One of the best ways to make sure clothing is comfortable is by purchasing garments made from the correct materials. For example, if a job is in a hot kitchen, choosing garments with a high cotton percentage will keep the wearer cool. With material, breathability is the operative word and will ensure your staff remain at the right temperature throughout their shifts.

Alexandra designs and manufactures clothing specifically for the industries it serves, taking into account regulations and correct specifications. We also conduct wearer testing to make sure clothing is comfortable on shift.

Waitress serving a customer outsideWaitress serving a customer outside

Choose clothing that matches your brand

Any uniform you choose needs to match the aesthetic of your business in style, colour and personality. For example, if your business is a modern cafe, you’ll want contemporary clothing. Whereas if it’s a traditional hotel, you’ll want elegant workwear that fits your style. 

You should pay attention to personalisation, adding a bespoke design such as your company logo or employee names to ensure your uniforms have brand recognition. 

Alexandra manufactures workwear in a huge range of styles suitable for all establishments. We have a team of designers constantly updating our clothing to meet the latest trends, whether in a contemporary or traditional style. Many of our garments are available with custom embroidery.

Consider eco-friendly workwear

Many customers like to align their purchasing choices with their moral views, and with climate change such a big issue, people want to see companies ‘doing their bit’ to help the environment.

Choosing sustainable clothing is one way you can align with what your customers expect. It gives you a chance for your business to help the environment while offering a marketing opportunity. 

To help your business use environmentally-friendly uniforms, Alexandra offers TENCEL® sustainable fabric for specific garments across our Boyd Cooper Made to Order range. TENCEL® is a sustainably sourced and recyclable fabric made from the fibres and wood pulp of eucalyptus trees. By choosing TENCEL® for your workwear, you can help alleviate your customer’s concerns about the environmental impact of your business.

The best workwear for your hospitality role

Listed below are the top considerations for five different kinds of hospitality roles and the top garment suggestions to go with them.

Hospitality management

As a member of management, you need a uniform that shows customers you’re in charge and the person they need to go to if they have an issue. You’ll need a uniform that sets you slightly apart from the rest of your team but still suits the branding of your establishment.

Women & Men’s wing collar shirt

A clean-cut design suitable for both modern and traditional establishments, the wing collar shirt is a hospitality classic. 

Made from a 65%/35% polyester/cotton blend, this shirt is durable and breathable, featuring a concealed button front, it looks professional paired with a bow tie.

Women & Men’s woven colour shirt

Available in both long and short sleeve variations and with a wide choice of colours, the woven colour shirt can be made to suit any business branding.

Featuring a chest pocket with a pen division, this shirt is excellent for managers who need to keep a writing tool close to hand.

Women's Wing Collar ShirtWomen's Wing Collar Shirt
Women's Wing Collar Shirt
Anvil Traction Georgia Court ShoeAnvil Traction Georgia Court Shoe
Anvil Traction Georgia Court Shoe

Easycare women’s & men’s trousers

Available in both women’s and men’s sizes, these trousers are designed to be comfortable and easy to care for, making them among the most practical trousers you can purchase.

Made with two back hip pockets and a front coin pocket, these trousers allow you to keep all your most crucial equipment close to your hand.

Anvil Traction Georgia Court Shoe

A professional and stylish shoe that’s comfortable to wear and suits any front of house role.

With its anti-static construction, premium leather upper and shock-absorbing heel, these shoes are designed to keep the wearer comfortable, no matter how long they have to be on their feet.

Anvil Tennessee Shoe

Much like the Georgia Court Shoe, the Tennessee is a professional and stylish shoe that’s comfortable to wear and suits any front of house role.

Designed for comfort, this shoe features an energy-absorbing heel, breathable leather and an oil-resistant outsole to keep you from slipping.

Transparent face covering

Management needs to be able to communicate with all staff members and all customers effectively, so wearing a transparent face mask enables communication with the hard of hearing.

Reception staff

As first staff members your customers see, the reception team needs to look sharp and set the tone for the rest of the establishment. Often reception uniforms will feature stand out designs to give a striking first impression.

Women & men’s gilt button waistcoat

Suitable for traditional and modern establishments, with their gilt button, these waistcoats are classy and stylish without being ‘over the top’.

Featuring two hip pockets and side vents for ease of movement, these waistcoats are as stylish as they are practical.

Women & men’s slim-leg trousers

A pair of dark-coloured trousers always complements a waistcoat. The slim fit adds more style and shape to give a great first impression of your business.

Designed to be worn across all industries, these trousers are made from a polyester and cotton mix to be long-lasting. They are durable enough to withstand the harsh conditions of industrial laundering, making them ideal for many hospitality roles.

Women's Gilt Button WaistcoatWomen's Gilt Button Waistcoat
Women's Gilt Button Waistcoat
Hand Sanitiser (125ml)Hand Sanitiser (125ml)
Hand Sanitiser (125ml)

Elasticated bow tie

Ideal for high-end restaurants or establishments wanting to add a vintage twist, this elasticated bow-tie provides the perfect finish to any professional hospitality uniform.

Hand sanitiser

With social distancing still necessary, establishments need to demonstrate to customers they’re doing all they can to keep everyone safe. Having hand sanitiser available and on display at the front desk gives everyone reassurance and lets your customers get on with their evening free from any concerns.

Waiting staff

The staff members responsible for taking customer requests and serving their food, waiting staff need to look clean and well kept at all times. This starts with a professional uniform.

Women & men’s roll up short sleeve shirt

As a waiter, you cannot go wrong with a well-fitted shirt because it’s forever fashionable, smart and a sign of professionalism. 

Available in a variety of colours with a contrast inner section, our roll-up sleeve shirt makes it easy to get the right branding.

Faux Leather Waist ApronFaux Leather Waist Apron
Faux Leather Waist Apron

Faux leather waist apron

Adding texture to a uniform is always a great way to make it look smart and elegant. As it seems natural, the faux leather goes well with most colours - suitable for all brands - and its pockets allow waiting staff to keep a notepad and pen to hand.

Chefs

While not as visible as other staff members due to spending most of their time in the kitchen, chefs still need to look the part to command the respect of their team. They also need to look presentable when a customer asks to speak directly with the chef who made their food.

Precision chef’s jacket

A smart and professional jacket that suits any level of chef, from those working in a local cafe to a Head Chef of a high-end restaurant.

Featuring a contemporary mandarin collar and Coolmax® mesh underarm panels, our precision jacket allows chefs to look professional while remaining cool in the high temperatures of their kitchen.

Precision chef’s trousers

Chef trousers sale trends focus on comfort and with a stretchy waistband, these trousers are designed to be worn on long, hectic shifts.

Designed to be easy and practical to wear for any chef, these trousers feature two hip pockets, two leg-side pockets, pen and mobile phone pockets and one rear patch pocket; with so much storage, chefs can keep their most-needed utensils close to hand.

Precision Chef's JacketPrecision Chef's Jacket
Precision Chef's Jacket

Safety shoes

The kitchen can be a hazardous place with all kinds of heavy and sharp equipment being used every day. Chefs should wear safety shoes with an appropriate stress rating to ensure they are kept safe from any floor or falling hazards.

Cleaning staff

Often working when the establishment is closed or when most clients are not around, cleaning uniforms need to be practical and safe rather than smart and customer-friendly.

V-neck tabard

A professional-looking choice that elevates this role to give the wearer the respect they deserve, this tabard is available in four colours to suit any brand.

Featuring a two-part pocket and adjustable side stud fastenings, this tabard is designed to make every shift as easy and comfortable as possible.

Women & Men’s mandarin collar tunic

A contemporary style that keeps the wearer elegant while being durable and easy to wear.  Available in eight base colours with three trim colour options, this tunic is easy to match to your brand colours.

 V-neck Tabard V-neck Tabard
V-neck Tabard

3 Ply antibacterial washable face mask

A more comfortable and environmentally-friendly choice because it’s reusable. Cleaning staff are not so often customer-facing, so they have more choice regarding which face masks and shields to wear.

Where to buy hospitality clothing

Alexandra is a trustworthy supplier

When choosing which supplier to use for your hospitality uniforms, you should consider Alexandra workwear for the following reasons:

When purchasing a uniform online, you need to be sure that what you’re buying is of high quality and precisely what you ordered. 

Alexandra has a TrustPilot rating of 4.0/5.0 because we make sure all of our products are of high quality to fit exactly what our customers want.

We are also the UK’s most trusted supplier of workwear to the healthcare sector, an industry that relies on its clothing to keep people safe. 

We sell accredited clothing

As every industry and role within it has its regulations, you need to make sure the supplier you choose sticks to them. Alexandra designs all of its clothing to meet the strictest standards) and has even received a Royal Warrant to trade

We offer a reliable delivery

You need your staff to look their best on every shift, and to do that, they always need their workwear to be of a high standard. At Alexandra, we offer next day delivery on most of our items to make sure you can always keep your staff kitted out and looking their best.

Our website makes ordering easy

Purchasing online isn’t always easy, especially if the website you’re using is difficult to navigate or not carrying half of the items you’re looking for.

At Alexandra, we recently relaunched our website and redesigned it from the ground up to be easier to use. Our search function suggests relevant garments and remembers the ones you recently looked at to easily find them again.

We also have an easy-ordering system accessible from your account so you can quickly reorder your own uniform styles time and time again.

How to buy new workwear from Alexandra

To purchase your new hospitality workwear, check out Alexandra, who can supply you with a complete a full range of uniforms including face shields, bib aprons and chef aprons, UK-wide.

While you’re there, be sure to view Alexandra’s healthcare, PPE and businesswear ranges for more inspiration on how to keep your staff safe and looking their best.

Finally, to find out more about how Alexandra is trying to be among the biggest ethical clothing manufacturers, UK-wide, click here.

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