Over the years, I’ve worked for a number of different shops and worn a lot of different uniforms, and have drawn some conclusions about the drawbacks of many of them, and how to improve them. In addition to the many technical problems I’m going to list, I offer that most delivery uniforms are indistinguishable from shop to shop, defeating the whole purpose of wearing them. Despite wearing a full uniform (red logo polo + khakis and ball cap), I was always mistaken for a competitor’s employee when I worked for WingZone, despite carrying a very distinctive bag and using an illuminated car topper. I feel that much of the point of a uniform is to look distinctive, so following the herd might not be the best strategy in this case. Many shops go with the traditional khaki pants, primary colored polo shirt, and possibly a khaki baseball cap, as modeled here by a Papa John’s employee:
I’ll start with the shirt. Drivers need pockets, preferably at least two on the front of the shirt. It makes keeping track of pens, money, cell phones and other delivery paraphernalia much easier, especially since you don’t want to be digging a cell out of a pants pocket while driving. Next is the color, light colors pick up stains such as pizza sauce, road grime and grease much more readily than darker colors such as black, my preferred color. I’m going to post a pic of my ideal shirt at the end here, and optimally it would have reflective white piping for safety at night, just to address that now since I’m stating my preference for black. Finally, I think that the polo design itself is not optimal, since it’s hot in the summer if worn with an undershirt, soils quickly due to the open weave design, and looks sloppy when oversized, as is common in the industry. I think that a synthetic material black with white highlights button up shirt designed to be worn open over a solid color undershirt would be much better in several ways. First the pockets, much better looking and common on this style of shirt. Next is the comfort factor, such a shirt could be worn open in the summer and buttoned in the winter, reducing sweating which can be a turnoff for a customer, and by being worn over something will be less likely to show sweat stains and such. Finally, with an open design sizing becomes far less of an issue, since an oversized shirt of this style wouldn’t look nearly as bad as an oversized tucked in polo does. Here is a picture of one plain example of the style I favor, in other words a bowling shirt:
Add a reflective logo on the front shirt pocket and a big one on the back, maybe some reflective piping, and it’s just about perfect.
Next up are the pants, typically khaki slacks. My biggest problem with these is wear and tear, especially if you don’t have shirt pockets and are always reaching into your pants pockets to make change. Money is dirty, and you’ll invariably end up with black streaks near the pockets that simply don’t come out. In addition, getting in and out of the car often leaves a black line across the back of one pant leg, and this too can be a difficult stain to remove. Don’t even get me started on pizza sauce, and after my WingZone experience, fryer grease and buffalo sauce. Black jeans or black khakis not only look more professional, but wear better too. If they’re black cargo khakis, even better, since drivers need all the pocket space they can get, extra pens or packets of cheese and peppers carried in those cargoes can really help the impression on the customer. I eventually got my Wingzone to agree to allow black jeans and slacks (except when corporate came through) because we looked like auto-mechanics otherwise. It really did make a huge difference for the better for our appearance across the board, since no one wants to see a greasy server, it just looked bad all around.
Which brings me to the baseball cap. Frankly, I’ve yet to see the person who looks good in one of these, nothing screams “low class” like a dirty, creased ball cap, which after a few months in the average shop any uniform cap will be. I was told once that one of the chains that I worked with had done a customer poll about the ball cap, and narrowly decided to keep it because some women customers said it was “reassuring” to look out the peephole and see the cap. It sounds kind of BS-ish to me, since if you’re really that surprised when 30-40 minutes after you order pizza the doorbell rings, a simple “who is it?” would clear up that mystery just as easily. Honestly, when I wear one with sunglasses (a driver essential during certain hours) I look like a bank robber, I just have that sort of face. Plus, per my earlier comment, they do nothing to distinguish your shop from the competition. If I had to pick a uniform cap for my own hypothetical shop, I’d be tempted to go with something like a Kangol newsboy cap with my logo on it, at least that would be distinctive and stylish. Bottom line, I feel that not only does the ball cap do nothing for a shop, but that it makes anyone wearing one look worse and less worthy of respect than without one, so out it should go.
So, to summarize for the impatient and semi-literate:
Bowling style logo shirt with reflective piping and reflective logo on back and front pocket.
Black khakis or jeans, especially cargo khakis
Ditch the ball cap!
And the usual disclaimer, the proceeding is my opinion based on years of driving experience, not to be taken as gospel, mileage may vary, etc etc.