When I mention I’m in the uniform business, It’s often assumed that I deal in school uniforms or team uniforms. Interestingly, occupational or work uniforms, ubiquitous as they are, are not really top of mind. And hotel uniforms, a subset of work uniforms, well they’re even less top of mind.
So, what exactly is a work uniform? As opposed to military, sports or school uniforms, a work uniform refers to civilian apparel worn in the workplace by members of certain professional groups during work or at official occasions.
Usually supplied by one’s employer, a work uniform can signal order, discipline, hierarchy and status.
It’s been said there are three types of work uniforms: Those that are necessary to perform an occupational role (e.g. firefighters), those that are more utilitarian (e.g. chefs, mechanics) and those that are largely symbolic and enable ready identification (e.g. valet parker, concierge, clergy).
J.A. Uniforms has long focused on the last two categories, with an emphasis on outfitting the myriad workers central to the daily operation of a large hotel. The list is long. After all, hotel workers include bell staff, front-desk attendants, engineering staff, spa attendants, room-service attendants, valet parkers, banquet staff, house-car drivers, housekeepers and others.
For hoteliers and guests, the benefits of a well-integrated uniform program are numerous.
A smart professional uniform can enhance a property’s image from the moment a guest lays eyes on it. The sight of a uniformed doorman, for example, can be reassuring to a luggage-toting late-night traveler fresh off the subway.
So too can the sight of a confident, poised concierge, easily distinguishable from his coworkers. Hand the concierge a package and rest assured that it will be properly delivered with dispatch.
Similarly, there is assurance in opening your guest-room door to a distinctly uniformed housekeeper or room service attendant.
A well-integrated uniform program serves as a visual reminder of the culture of service that coddles guests as they interact with their de facto hosts, hotel employees of every stripe.
It also fosters a sense of belonging among hotel coworkers.
In some cases, it imbues a sense of safety. Consider the valet parking attendant whose reflective garment provides heightened visibility in an underground garage or the chef who relies on flame retardant apparel.
To be sure, the role of uniforms is varied, but the necessity is indisputable. Uniforms, you might say, are the threads with which a hotel is woven.