Whatever your role in the food industry, it’s important you choose the right workwear. The clothing you wear needs to be appropriate for your working environment, taking into account the overall risk management for food safety that’s in place. Choose the wrong clothing and you risk potential contamination, discomfort and unnecessary risk.
Here’s what to consider when choosing food industry workwear.
- 1. Keeping Cool in the Kitchen
- 2. Effective Protection
- 3. Consider the Level of Risk
- 4. A Professional Appearance
- 5. Easy to Clean
- 6. The Right Footwear
1. Keeping Cool in the Kitchen
One of the first things you need to consider is the climate of the area that you’ll be working in. Kitchens are notoriously hot places to work so you need workwear that’s light, comfortable and breathable.
Anything that’s heavy or made from a dense material can cause you discomfort. Choose breathable clothing and you’ll be able to concentrate on your work without worrying about overheating or sweating.
2. Effective Protection
Protection works both ways. You should be safe from risks within the kitchen while food should also be safe from contamination from staff.
Take footwear, for example. The shoes you wear should protect your feet from falling objects and hot liquids. Workwear that offers you good protection helps to reduce avoidable injuries in the food industry.
3. Consider the Level of Risk
The more perishable the food or drink that you’re working with, the higher the risk level. Your workwear needs to reflect this. There are three different levels of risk for anyone that works closely with food or drink.
- Maximum risk (extremely perishable food like salads or sushi).
- High risk (perishable food or ingredients that might need further processing like raw meat).
- Low risk (non-perishable food like potatoes or beverages).
Once you know the risk level, you can choose workwear accordingly. The higher the risk, the more stringent the design of the workwear needs to be.
4. A Professional Appearance
Your appearance should reflect the business you work for positively. If you work for a high-end restaurant, then customers will expect to see you dressed in a smart and professional way.
On the other hand, if you work at a small cafe, then your clothing will be more relaxed. Either way, your clothing should be appropriate for a work environment and highlight the business you work for in the best possible way.
5. Easy to Clean
Another key consideration when it comes to workwear in the food industry is how easy clothing is to clean. Looking clean and being clean are two different things so it’s important you choose workwear that isn’t easily contaminated.
Any workwear shared by members of staff needs to be considered. Aprons, hairnets, gloves - whatever is in use needs to be thought about in terms of contamination. Think about the workwear you’ll use and who’s responsible for its cleaning and upkeep.
6. The Right Footwear
The right work outfit starts with your shoes. You’ll spend a lot of time on your feet, moving between different floor surfaces and potentially dealing with slippery floors. When choosing a pair of work shoes, there are a few things to keep in mind.
They should be:
- Durable so you won’t have to think about replacing them for a while.
- Slip-resistant to keep you safe and on your feet while you’re working.
- Breathable and comfortable so you can deliver excellent customer service without being distracted by your feet.
- Supportive - especially for your joints. Without this foot and ankle protection, you’re more at risk of developing possible muscle and joint pains that could stop you from working.
No matter your role within the food and drink industry, whether it's as a waiter/waitress, in food production or as front of house staff, workwear will be important. Not just for maintaining a professional appearance but also so you’re comfortable, protected and able to focus on your job.
One of the roles that most needs to think about workwear is a bartender. They have a customer-facing job so their workwear should reflect that. This means bartenders need to be dressed professionally yet still be comfortable. Bars can be warm places to work so breathable material is preferred.
As a bartender, you have a lot to think about at any one moment during your shifts. You need to deal with customer orders, engage with guests to ensure they have a great time, think about stock replenishment, find time to collect empty glasses and so much more.
The very best bartenders can think about all this and more, delivering outstanding customer service and ensuring their guests are served and happy. To be a successful bartender, you’ll need to put in the work and our free resource is a great place to start.
How to Be a Successful Bartender
Once you have the right workwear, you can start to focus on other areas of your bartending career. Looking the part is just one of many things you’ll have to work on to be a successful bartender.
Bartending is a challenging but very rewarding career that can take you all over the world. If you’re interested in a career as a bartender, then you’ll need all of the essential information to give you the best chance of success.
We’ve created a completely free guide filled with tips and advice. You’ll learn how to work effectively with your team, the best way of communicating with customers and discover tips on keeping calm during busy shifts.
Get your free copy of our guide to bartender success now by clicking the link below and make sure you’re the best bartender you can be.