A how-to on cool restaurant uniforms

“Love what you do,” is a phrase you’ve probably heard a thousand times when looking for career advice. The idea that we should take pleasure and pride in our work is ancient – the Chinese philosopher Confucius is often quoted as having said, “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Idealistic as it may seem, there are simple things you can do as a business owner to make your employees feel valued, starting with the uniform they put on each morning. Creating personalised workwear that’s high quality and cool not only benefits your employees, but ensures customers will want to buy into your brand too. Whether you’re running a mass-market restaurant brand or a newly-minted street food truck, it’s always worth considering how you could be using merch in your business. Here is our guide to making your branded workwear the best it can be.

Be creative with placement

Think about where you want your logo to go – should it be big and bold, front and centre? Or somewhere more discreet? That decision depends on what you want your brand to convey. When the Victoria and Albert Museum commissioned new uniforms in 2017, staff chose designs that feature the V&A logo on the breast of most garments, rather than in the centre. This fits with the refined atmosphere of the museum itself, while still ensuring that customers can recognise staff when they need assistance. Walthamstow brewery Pillars, meanwhile, chose to print their logo on the backs of staff t-shirts, so they are revealed only when the bartender turns away from the customer to pull a pint.

Do you want to include a slogan?

Slogans can be a fun way to communicate with clients – and they can play a functional role, too. For its second Queer and Now festival, Tate worked with ICON Printing on t-shirts for its ‘vibe checkers’, staff who helped ensure attendees’ wellbeing during events. The slogan, “Talk To Me. Feeling Ok?” was printed in large letters across each. You can also use slogans to direct customers on how to order, where to queue, or any special offers you are running. “The Best Espresso This Side Of Milan,” runs the tagline on Caffe Nero’s staff t-shirts, a slogan sure to spark debate among customers.

Colour of t-shirts

Black is the norm in catering (and pretty handy for concealing spills), but other colours could help your food business stand out. Gourmet hot dog business Walthamstow Dogs has created a range of brightly coloured t-shirts for staff and customers, ensuring the vibes are sunny even as winter approaches.


Consider an all over print

If you really want to be bold, try repeating or even overlapping prints. For the V&A, designer Christopher Raeburn created a print based on objects from the museum’s collection, which features across staff t-shirts, fleeces and bags. At ICON Printing, we offer a huge range of printing services to help make your dream designs possible.

Think about texture

Embroidery can add a classy finish to workwear. It works particularly well on heavy, thick fabrics, so if your uniform includes caps, aprons, polo shirts or fleeces, embroidery is a beautiful way to add detail and texture. Choose between flat embroidery, which is stitched directly onto garments for a smooth finish, or 3D puff embroidery, which makes big and simple designs really pop.

Need personalised workwear for your restaurant? At ICON Printing we offer fast turnaround merch and uniform printing, counting clients from Voodoo Rays to Butchies. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.