Just wondering if any cafe owners require their staff to wear uniforms, or if there are any baristas on here who wear them. If so, why are they required and what do you wear? If not, why?

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The uniform/dress code at both cafe's is as follows:
dudes: collared shirts, tucked in, no jeans/shorts, closed toed shoes
ladies: anything "non-tee-shirt", closed toed shoes
and everyone is required to wear an apron when behind the bar.

It allows a bit of flexibility, but keeps everyone looking like they're part of the same team.
i think it really depends on who your main demographic is, and what kind of store you are. but i'm generally against them. you don't want your employees wearing wifebeaters and cutoff jean shorts, but at the same time you don't want to look like starbucks (unless that's your goal, i guess). i'm totally fine with jeans and decent looking t-shirts, but closed-toed shoes are a MUST, for obvious reasons.

i do like a good black apron though, just because it keeps coffee stains off my pants and is good for holding towels and stuff.
At our shop we have no dress code. We however do have some rules to follow... closed toe shoes. hat/scarf. and nothing that will offend our customers.

We really have never had a problem with employees following these guidelines, however we are a laid back shop.
For the most part a lot of us just wear jeans and t-shirts, some of us do every once in a while wear aprons.

For me personally I feel as though a shop that allows employees freedom to express themselves in a community that encourages people to be themselves as well.
The current dress code at my shop, an independent roaster/retailer, is similar to everyone who responded. However, we're opening up another cafe and my boss wants everyone to wear white button-ups, black slacks and neckties. I'm concerned that such a drastic change will put our customers off, since we're currently the kind of place where we know 90% of our customers by name. We're also in Portland, where people tend to appreciate individual expression. Hopefully I can talk the owner out of requiring us to dress like caterers.
I have worked in cafe's with a dress code and without. The way dress codes and uniforms have been explained to me is that when the staff looks uniform the place looks cleaner and more organized. Personally I see the need for dress codes but I do wish we were allowed a little more leeway in out clothing. It gets really boring to wear the same looking shirt and pants for (in my case) 3 plus years. Also, I notice that you get a lot of people who end up having to wear the same thing all week long and you know that they are not washing those clothes every day.
i just hate feeling like i'm peeling off an identity when i get off work. i like being myself at work and that includes my clothing. when i worked at starbucks five years ago (how far i've come) i always hated putting on that stupid hat and apron and feeling like i was assuming this strange corporate identity
One time I heard a guy at coffeefest talk about this. He said that uniforms were a "must" and that something needs to separate you from the customer. In my opinion the counter, the fact that they're making your drink, and that the employee is sometimes stubbornly kind/polite to customer should tip them off.....

I believe in our employee handbook is says something like "if you're wearing something offensive to a customer it is your job to alleviate, not elevate the situation" but I've never seen that be a problem at our shop.

Clean people generally like to look presentable...and I think everyone's a bit happier if they can express themselves a little.
I'm currently working for a franchised location within a chain of cafes. Yes, they do have a dress code; but, aside from the logos, it's exactly what I wear all the time anyway: Black shoes and socks; black pants; black T shirt. Most also wear a black apron; the baristas wear a brown apron which says Barista on it. The girls tie their hair back; I wear a hat, which I find very comfortable.

Behind the counter, it is quite clear who we are; however, I think that a uniform, of sorts, helps out at other times. If one of us has to run to a store for something, it often gets us faster service. A new employee walking into the local pizza shop get our discount without having to say anything. Within the store, but not behind the counter, new customers will know who to ask questions of, if, for example, the washroom needs service.

I'm not at all opposed to them.
Bad idea!!!!

Neck ties are filthy things and that's why doctors in England are no longer allowed to wear them in hospitals. Major bad idea!!!!!!

Amanda said:
The current dress code at my shop, an independent roaster/retailer, is similar to everyone who responded. However, we're opening up another cafe and my boss wants everyone to wear white button-ups, black slacks and neckties. I'm concerned that such a drastic change will put our customers off, since we're currently the kind of place where we know 90% of our customers by name. We're also in Portland, where people tend to appreciate individual expression. Hopefully I can talk the owner out of requiring us to dress like caterers.
I have worked at places that required a specific uniform: black shoes, socks, pants, belt, tucked in undershirt, button up over shirt, apron, and sometimes a hat depending on the locations. A close friend referred to this as my 'goth coffee garb'. It was a very professional situation, so it was appropriate and expected. It was nice not having to think about what I was going to wear or worrying about getting any of my clothes stained at work.

I currently work at a place that does not have such a uniform, but we are expected to look nice and to not have grubby or torn clothes. We have a large shop, so employees wear aprons when they are working so that the customers know who they are and whether or not they are working since we don't just stay behind the counter. It is an independent shop, whereas the other is not. Here I am expected to actually have a personality, but at the other place I was just expected to fill the role and do my job.
We don't require our staff to wear uniforms. We want everyone to be able to express themselves with their clothing. I think it adds to the ambiance of our cafe. We just require their clothes to be tasteful and to wear an apron with our logo. I wouldn't wear a uniform so why should I require my staff to wear one.

The only problem I have encountered is someone who wore a sweatshirt - not a good choice. Everyone else dresses great and they each have their own style.
uniform=t-shirt

rule #1-keep it all appropriate
rule #2-look like you bathe

We're required to wear them so that everyone knows we're staff. Other than that, as long as we don't look like we've been on herione and rolling around in a sewer for the past few weeks, we're good.

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