Restaurant Uniform Guidelines: All You Need To Know

When designing a restaurant uniform program, there are several aspects to consider. From the color and style to accessories and more, you'll want to ensure that your restaurant uniform guidelines are clear and concise.

Stock Mfg. can help you design a restaurant uniform program to fit your business's needs. With over 10 years of experience in the fashion industry, we know what it takes to create uniforms that are perfect for any type of atmosphere.

In this post, we'll cover the basics of creating restaurant employee dress codes and ways to add personalizations that complement your establishment’s atmosphere.

The Basics of a Restaurant Employee Dress Code

Most restaurants have a standard uniform code for their employees that establishes a certain level of formality, professionalism, and promotes the safety of the staff. This usually includes a shirt, pants or skirt, an apron or vest, and comfortable shoes.

Before you plan your uniform program and implement a dress code, here are some aspects to consider::

  • What colors would look best in my restaurant?
  • Should I include a logo or branding?
  • Is there a specific type of clothing that would be best for my restaurant style or atmosphere?
  • How are the customers dressed? Do they usually wear formal business attire or casual clothing? Will my employees' uniforms reflect this?
  • What types of shoes are appropriate for my restaurant's dress code and the activities my employees will be performing?
  • What types of accessories are appropriate for my restaurant staff to wear?

To keep your restaurant uniform program consistent, it's important to provide detailed information about what is expected of each employee.

Include a list of acceptable and unacceptable items of clothing (such as appropriate and inappropriate jeans or shirts) or accessories, and be sure to make the list easily accessible to all staff members. 

Additionally, provide clear guidelines on how employees should wear their uniforms, from tucked-in shirts to buttoning-up vests.

Below, we take a look at the different elements of a restaurant's dress code and what each element entails.


Many restaurants require their employees to wear a collared shirt such as a polo, dress shirt, or button-down.

Shirt guidelines:

  • For all restaurant types: Shirts should be pressed and free of rips, tears, or stains
  • For casual restaurants: Shirts typically have a more relaxed fit with minimal embellishments to create a more comfortable and approachable look
  • For formal restaurants: Shirts are typically long-sleeved and more fitted, oftentimes collared


Bottoms should be comfortable and professional. Chinos or slacks are most common, but some restaurants allow jeans (as long as they’re not too baggy or torn).

Bottoms guidelines:

  • For all restaurant types: Make sure the pants or skirt fit comfortably
  • For casual restaurants: Jeans are typically allowed, as long as they’re not torn or too baggy
  • For formal restaurants: Slacks, chinos, and skirts are typically required


Footwear is an important part of any restaurant uniform, as it provides comfort and safety for employees. From closed-toe shoes to non-slip shoes, there are a variety of requirements for restaurant footwear.

Shoe guidelines:

  • For all restaurant types: Shoes should be comfortable, professional, and non-slip
  • For casual restaurants: Tennis shoes or loafers are typically allowed
  • For formal restaurants: Dress shoes are typically required

Apron or Vest

Depending on the type of restaurant, aprons or vests may be required. This will give your restaurant a more polished look and also help protect clothing.

Apron/Vest Guidelines:

  • For all restaurant types: Aprons or vests should be pressed and free of rips, tears, or stains
  • For casual restaurants: Aprons are typically short and comfortable, but are not often required
  • For formal restaurants: Vests are typically more fitted and aprons are often one solid color to give a sleek finished look

Additional Guidelines

In addition to the above guidelines, it’s important to keep in mind any additional rules you may want to include in your restaurant uniform program. 

For example, you may have a certain hairstyle or facial hair requirements for employees, or even clothing items that are not allowed in the restaurant.

Here are some attire and appearance standards you can implement, depending on your brand:

  • Hair and facial hair should be kept neat and tidy
  • No visible tattoos or piercings (other than traditional earrings)
  • No hats or sunglasses allowed while working
  • No ripped clothing, such as jeans with holes
  • No clothing with offensive or inappropriate language

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your restaurant's uniform is clear and consistent for all employees and that they wear the appropriate work attire every time.

Restaurant Uniform Colors and Styles

When selecting colors and styles for your restaurant uniforms, you'll want to keep in mind the atmosphere of your establishment. Typically, restaurants opt for a business casual dress code that allows for some fun and creative elements.

The Bradley, for example, chose to go with a blue and white uniform. 

The blue tones come from our stretch chambray and unstructured navy blazer, complemented with our clean, classic white banded collar oxford and white technical polo. The fun pops of color come from our engineer stripe bib apron at Arbor and gold duck waist apron at Birdie’s.

For more formal restaurants, you may want to consider a color scheme such as white shirts and black pants. This classic look is always a safe bet for more formal establishments, especially if you don't want to draw too much attention to your restaurant uniform.

Check out Stock Mfg.'s collaboration with RPM Steak, a modern steakhouse in Chicago, for a classic example of how to use white shirts and black pants as the basis of your restaurant uniforms. The servers at RPM Steak wear a slim, double-vented suit coat in white tropical-weight polyester, white dress shirt, black tie, and black slacks.

Personalizing Your Restaurant Uniform

To personalize your restaurant uniforms, think of the place's history, the type of cuisine you offer, and the atmosphere you want your restaurant to convey. Logos or other customizations can be added to the uniforms for a unique look.

As an example of how Stock Mfg. helps create on-brand looks, our team worked with Hotel Kansas City to develop a restaurant uniform program that reflects the hotel's rustic history. Soft oatmeal heritage cotton henleys are combined with coyote herringbone waist aprons and supplemented with custom enamel pins for a look that is both stylish and functional.

Simultaneously, we fitted their bartenders with stylish stretch gray chambray shirts coupled with gold cotton duck waist aprons and a unique “outlaw” pin.

Other ideas for personalizing your restaurant uniforms include:

  • Adding a custom logo or artwork to the uniforms
  • Embroidering initials or names on the uniforms
  • Choosing a unique fabric or texture like twill or corduroy
  • Adding unique accessories like ties, hats, and suspenders

Your Restaurant, Your Rules

These guidelines and examples are just a starting point when it comes to designing and personalizing your employee dress code policy and uniform program.

Ultimately, you'll want to plan your actual dress code and select uniforms that reflect your brand and tell your story. 

You can mix and match classic and modern styles and colors to create a look that fits your establishment perfectly, while implementing simple but strict dress codes that ensure your employees look professional and put-together.

Remember, the right restaurant uniforms can influence customers' impressions of your restaurant, so make sure you consider selecting the right uniform for your business. And don't forget to have fun with it!

Stock Mfg. makes it easy to create a uniform program that fits your business’ specific needs. We offer RTW and custom-made uniforms from head to toe, with quality construction and fabrics. Contact us today to get started.