What Are the Best Uniform Materials for Restaurants?

Restaurant employee with customers

Staff uniforms are a vital consideration any restaurant owner will need to ponder. Not only will you have to come up with an appealing design to properly represent your brand, but you’ll also need to think about the material it’s made of as well. The right uniform will help your restaurant stand out and keep your staff looking and feeling great. Picking a high-quality, suitable material will enhance proper sanitation and customer experience.  

What Should I Look For in a Restaurant Uniform? 

Restaurant uniforms require a lot of unique characteristics. It needs to both capture your brand messaging and uphold health and safety requirements. Here are some of the most important qualities to look for in a uniform:


Breathability. This is especially important for back-of-house employees. Breathable uniforms help your staff to stay cool in a hot kitchen. 


Fit. Ideally, restaurant uniforms should be loose and boxy. But if you’re after a more modern, fitted look, you’ll need to compensate for the loss of airflow with sewn-in vents and mesh paneling. 


Color and style. This can differ from your front-of-house versus back-of-house staff. It may also vary if your kitchen is visible from the dining room. Either way, be sure these stylistic choices match your desired atmosphere and brand. 


Material. The fabric used to create your uniforms will be an important consideration to account for staff comfort, health standards, and customer perception.  

Best Restaurant Uniform Materials 

As we mentioned above, uniform choices will likely vary based on what area of the restaurant your staff member works in. A chef has distinctly different uniform needs than a waiter. Let’s break down each role and the various uniform pieces to determine the best material for each. 

Chefs and Back-of-House Staff

Back-of-house staff work in a hot, high-intensity environment. Their uniforms and the materials they’re made of should be up to the task. 


Jacket. This essential piece of a chef’s uniform will need to be breathable and durable. Heavy cotton is your best choice for a chef’s jacket because it will be light enough to keep back-of-house employees from overheating while being strong enough to withstand frequent washings.   


Pants. Mobility and comfort are crucial when it comes to back-of-house pants. Loose cotton pants are a great choice as they are roomier and allow for air circulation. 


Hats. There are quite a few types of hats a chef might wear. Of course, there’s the quintessential white chef’s hat. This option is typically made of disposable, non-woven material. Some reusable classic chef hats are made from a machine-washable polyester and cotton blend. Skull caps, beanies, and baseball caps are typically made of cotton for breathability. 

Wait Staff and Front-of-House Staff

Front-of-house work is a different game. These staff members are constantly on the move. They are oftentimes in and out of the kitchen while also interacting with the customers. Their uniforms will require a material that can stay clean and presentable while keeping them comfortable. 


Shirt. Every restaurant features its own unique aesthetic and mood. If you’re looking to achieve a casual feel, screen-printed t-shirts might be right up your alley. Those aiming for a more upscale look might require servers to wear a dress shirt. The material of their shirt will vary depending on the style. Generally, breathable material such as cotton is best for servers that will be working in hot weather while insulating fabrics such as polyester are best for cool environments. 


Apron. Meant to protect the uniform below, an apron should be sturdy enough to withstand frequent washing. The best materials for the job are either a polyester-cotton blend or heavy canvas. Moisture-wicking fabrics made from polyester might also be a good choice so the apron can help keep your front-of-house staff cool and dry as they flit from table to table. 

Find Your Perfect Restaurant Uniform 

Accent Branding is your trusted source for any and all of your uniform needs. Whether you’re looking for chef hats or server shirts for restaurants, we’ve got you covered. Browse our extensive collection of restaurant uniform options. If you need assistance distributing your uniforms to multiple locations or are simply sick of dealing with the dreaded company gear closet, consider joining our Uniform Program Management. We’ll make keeping up with your inventory a breeze! 

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