Why your restaurant needs to have and enforce an appearance policy.


Although not every restaurant, food trailer, or food truck enforces an appearance policy (if you don’t have an idea of what it is, here’s one example). Depending on your establishment, it might be obvious or excessive to enact such a policy. Regardless, here are some reasons why your place can benefit from having an appearance policy.

It’s good for your brand.

Depending on how you’re marketing your establishment, it can make a difference on your overall branding. Although it is important that your food being delicious is just as important, don’t forget that a successful restaurant is also based on presentation. Just as it doesn’t make sense to go full-uniform if you’re running what’s equivalent of a fast food place, it looks unprofessional for your back-of-the-house staff to wear a v-neck and shorts when your patrons are business professional.

It promotes good hygiene (for the most part).

Even though it might sound better to not worry about how your staff looks and just run your place, adopting an appearance policy is a good way to make sure your place’s hygiene is kept in check.

For example, let’s say your head chef, Mick Frog, decided to just wear a tshirt and jeans to work because after work Mick decided to hang out with his friends afterwards. Here are only some of the potential problems Mick presents with such a casual attire.

  1. Mick could present himself as a poor role model towards the other kitchen staff. While one could say that looking his “normal” might make him more approachable, he could lose his authority among his kitchen staff and open the door for some tension.
  2. Without a hairnet, Mick can make dishes hygienic and potentially increase patron complaints.
  3. Not using gloves or other hand protection means that Mick could create an unhygienic work environment and risk personal injury.

This can go on, but often times it’s not worth compromising your establishment just because you or your executive staff doesn’t want to enforce at least a uniform policy.

Make sure your staff has a say.

Don’t just implement an appearance policy as soon as possible. Work with your staff so that the transition is smooth and they are comfortable enough so that they will eventually adopt to the policy. Remember, your staff will be cooking or serving dishes non-stop, and they need to be as comfortable as possible (but still within your budget) so that you can potentially avoid accidents and maintain morale.