I've been to a number of coffee events the last few years and always pay attention to the details when I visit shops or trade events. I've noticed some trends in the barista apparel scene, ranging from spiffy old-school sweater vests and funky hats, to jeans and tees.

Does your coffee shop establish clothing guidelines as part of your company brand?

What regional trends in barista apparel are predominant?

Does what your baristas wear really make a difference in customer perception of your shop?

Do you make barista hiring decisions based on what a potential employee wears to interview?

This is an area I've not seen covered in tradeshows, like the restaurant industry addresses. Is it because there's a "counter-culture" attitude?

 

Image from The Sparkyman blog

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It seems that I would be the first Starbucks employee to comment on this post...but don't throw the tomatoes just yet! lol

Answer to the first question- Yes, Starbucks has ridiculously strict dress standards. You've all seen it, green apron, black or white shirt, black or khaki pants, black or brown leather shoes and it goes beyond that. No nail polish, only two ear piercings (of a certain size of course), no facial piercings and NO TATTOOS. 

The answer to "Does it really make a difference in customer perception?"- I have to say yes, it just depends on what perception you're asking about. I have several tattoos and a facial piercing, of course which cannot be shown at work so rather than slave away in long sleeves I get creative in "hiding" my tattoos (ace bandage, band aids) which in essence invite more questions and the requests to see the art. In 10+ years of customer service I've never come in contact with a customer who was put off by my tattoos, rather the opposite. It's a conversation starter, a way for them to get to know me as me.

Coffee is a social passion, we all get to know our customers just as they are. Why shouldn't we get to know our baristas the same way?

This sounds like a discussion by William Least Heat Moon in his book Blue Highways. In it, he discussed his trip across country & how he determined if a Cafe was a good one or a bad one based on how many calendars he saw on the walls. The more calendars, the better the cafe. So it sounds to me like the more Tattoos, the better the coffee!

 

Glad I found this post, I was just contemplating my attire for a catering gig tomorrow. I've been catering for years but mostly at Weddings & high end corporate events. In that setting, Im generally in black pants, white shirt, black shoes, & sometimes a black bowtie. Or black pants, a nice color shirt & a nice tie. This gig tomorrow is a little different as its a film industry event. Photoraphers actually. Sounds like I need to go get some tattoos real quick & hit the thrift store & put together my Hipster outfit! Oh wait, thats putting too much thought into it. Then it wouldnt really be Hipster would it. I was in Chicago the week before last & visited various Intelligentsia Coffee's quite a few times & paid special attention to their attire. Before visiting Intelli, I had the idea of going with the Mechanic Shirt look & getting them Logoed. But the folks at Intelligentsia we're more into what I consider the Southern Dapper Hipster Weathermen. Wool Pants & Vest, Button up shirt (sometimes a little Western), colorful Bowtie & maybe even Suspenders. A musical style I've always called Punktry. The Avett Brothers are a good example of the look (but I consider them more Slamgrass in musical styles). So this look seems to be a combination Punktry Slamgrass Hipster. Wonder if Target has a section for that? This is starting to sound like a Seinfeld episode. I think Kramer started the Hipster Dufus craze.

 

Seriously I do think my guys are going to start having to wear that style (our only issue is we work outside at Festivals & all the Wool might get a little hot!) I like the Vest or Suspenders & Bowtie. Gotta get a good hat to go with that.

 



Mitch Buckner - Bella Caffe said:

This sounds like a discussion by William Least Heat Moon in his book Blue Highways. In it, he discussed his trip across country & how he determined if a Cafe was a good one or a bad one based on how many calendars he saw on the walls. The more calendars, the better the cafe. So it sounds to me like the more Tattoos, the better the coffee!

 

Glad I found this post, I was just contemplating my attire for a catering gig tomorrow. I've been catering for years but mostly at Weddings & high end corporate events. In that setting, Im generally in black pants, white shirt, black shoes, & sometimes a black bowtie. Or black pants, a nice color shirt & a nice tie. This gig tomorrow is a little different as its a film industry event. Photoraphers actually. Sounds like I need to go get some tattoos real quick & hit the thrift store & put together my Hipster outfit! Oh wait, thats putting too much thought into it. Then it wouldnt really be Hipster would it. I was in Chicago the week before last & visited various Intelligentsia Coffee's quite a few times & paid special attention to their attire. Before visiting Intelli, I had the idea of going with the Mechanic Shirt look & getting them Logoed. But the folks at Intelligentsia we're more into what I consider the Southern Dapper Hipster Weathermen. Wool Pants & Vest, Button up shirt (sometimes a little Western), colorful Bowtie & maybe even Suspenders. A musical style I've always called Punktry. The Avett Brothers are a good example of the look (but I consider them more Slamgrass in musical styles). So this look seems to be a combination Punktry Slamgrass Hipster. Wonder if Target has a section for that? This is starting to sound like a Seinfeld episode. I think Kramer started the Hipster Dufus craze.

 

Seriously I do think my guys are going to start having to wear that style (our only issue is we work outside at Festivals & all the Wool might get a little hot!) I like the Vest or Suspenders & Bowtie. Gotta get a good hat to go with that.

 

I am stunned to read that folks are prejudging the quality of a food product based on the attire of an employee. Why isn't just being clean and friendly enough? It's not fair to prejudge the product until you have tasted it. Granny might have an ugly sweater, but she might make the best damn coffee you've ever had. As for the apple pie, my long haired hippie father made a much better pie than my elderly white haired Baptist grandma.
In the shop I work at, during the summer it was on average 90 degrees in the shop, so just jeans and a t-shirt for me. I'm a fall kinda girl (love me some sweaters).

http://www.converse.com/

http://www.gap.com/browse/category.do?cid=67198

http://www.zappos.com/hats-accessories~1?gclid=CJKZlcjOyqsCFaEBQAod...!/search/accessories/filter/productTypeFacet/%22Accessories%22/categoryFacet/%22Hats%22/gender/%22mens%22/attrFacet_Hat_Types/%22Fedoras%22?

http://www.faketattoosleeves.com/

My coffee shop is part of a grocery store, so we get to wear the uniform (various colored polo shirts with company logo, black or khaki pants, nonslip shoes) we also get a black beret to wear. and we wear black aprons. boring i know. if i got to wear anything i wanted i'd probably wear a variety of the previously described hipster clothes. skinny jeans and cords, band tees, cardigans and hoodies. i have a sweet septum piercing but i have to hide it at work.

 

But that's also discrediting the Culinary Arts saying that they also are just a manipulations of Argicultural products which yes is exactly what they are. But you're taking a product and in many cases putting your own personal spin on it. So I'd say yes it can be an art.

Roeland Vester said:

I disagree completely. Coffee is not art. Coffee is an agricultural product. Manipulating the offspring of the coffee plant in such a way that the extract tastes mind-blowing is a craft.

Furthermore, I take offense to your denouncing of "left-brainers" in the coffee industry. While I certainly have no illusions on how artists see engineers, making snide remarks on the internet doesn't help anyone.


Val Casey said:

Coffee=art. Artists have style. There's so much of an aesthetic to coffee that goes beyond the technical aspect, and left-brainers just don't get it. In my experience, anyway.

This is part of Market society, It's impossible to get away from it with how we are today. It comes into the role of values where people pay the price they pay not because they actually understand it's value. It's percieved value, and yes it's a manipulating tool of capitalism where you can get more profit by making something appear to be worth more than it may be. That being said it is a good thing at the same time. If you have a great product then your staff and your cafe should reflect that. Yes I say that for the sake of profits. Being clean and friendly should be a given, so why not take it above that and offer an experience as well. It boosts sales and it can put you where your prices can be higher and be acceptable. Meet Homo-economicus

Sarah Thompson said:

I am stunned to read that folks are prejudging the quality of a food product based on the attire of an employee. Why isn't just being clean and friendly enough? It's not fair to prejudge the product until you have tasted it. Granny might have an ugly sweater, but she might make the best damn coffee you've ever had. As for the apple pie, my long haired hippie father made a much better pie than my elderly white haired Baptist grandma.

i like to wear this when working..makes people smile :)

http://www.threadless.com/product/2377/I_Was_Here

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