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Jul 15, 2005 11:47 AM

Fast food uniforms

  • p

I'm working on a magazine article about the uniforms worn by fast-food employees (both current and past). Does anyone have any experiences or recollections regarding particularly notable -- or notably awful -- developments in fast-food attire?

-- Paul

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  1. I have been reading about McDonald's hiring designers to have a go at the staff attire. I attached one article below.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Coyote

      Not to sound snotty, but Tommy Hilfiger would be perfect.

    2. No, but if you want to sound erudite, you could read Paul Fussell's book, "Uniforms."

      1. I distinctly remember those hideous polyester brown uniforms from Burger King back in the late 70s-early 80s. And the women had to wear those silly bonnet-like caps. I felt so bad for them.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Eric Eto

          I worked at Wendy's in the mid 80's and the women had to wear these bandana like 'hats' the men had caps. I asked the manager repeatedly to allow me to wear a cap as I had long straight hair and the bandana would always slip off even when I used bobby pins. He refused since they felt the women looked more feminine in the bandanas (with blue polyester slacks and a pin striped apron - yeah oozing sex appeal) anyway, once the thing fell off while I was stirring the chili -INTO the chili. After we threw the batch of chili out the manager finally allowed the women to wear caps

          1. re: Eric Eto

            ha. i worked at burger king during high school in the early 80s and wore that very same awful brown and yellow polyester uniform. this discussion brings back a very strong sense memory of the smell of hamburger and french fry grease that was permanently embedded in my uniforms, no matter what my mother did to try to clean them. she would hang them in the basement after washing them, so the smell would not permeate my other clothes. when i read the quote from the mcdonald's exec about designing uniforms that their employees would want to wear outside of work, my first thought was there's no way that man has ever worked in one of his own restuarants. no employee would want to carry that smell around with him or her in public.

            1. re: Pate'

              How about the rest of the outfit? That has to be the WORST uniform in the fast food industry. Everything about it screams "Laugh at me!" Plus, the girls (they're always girls) have to do that stupid lemonade churning dance in front of everyone in the mall.

              1. re: nooodles

                Those uniforms were the first things that I thought of when I saw this thread.

                When I was in high school, I wondered why those girls would choose to work there and wear those scary outfits; there was not exactly a dearth of jobs in the mall. They didn't seem particularly unhappy, either--maybe Hot Dog on a Stick paid more!

                1. re: gina

                  My first image also. Those uniforms have transcended tacky, and have transported their wearers (or "the possessed") into some weird fast food cosplay realm.

                  1. re: Shep

                    "3. What is the story behind the Hot Dog on a Stick™ hat and uniform?
                    The Hot Dog on a Stick™ uniform, including the hat, was inspired by a whimsical mid-1960s trend when jockey caps and hot pants were in style. The employees say the hats, which are hand-made and customized to fit each new employee, make their jobs more fun and enable the company to attract enthusiastic, outgoing and good-natured employees, and draw attention to the store"

                    I gotta tell ya, as I read the self promotion on the website, I kinda stopped laughing and started paying attention. How many businesses of any kind offer any real sort of vesting to their employees? Maybe those clown suits are the proud uniforms of triumphant syndicalists.

                    Or, maybe not.

            2. The **worst** uniforms that I have ever seen were some of the double-knit polyester uniforms. You are working in a 70 year-old hospital kitchen located in the basement with no air conditioning during the summer months in the deep south.

              It is even worse when you are using a fryer in a similar uniform.

              A lot of kids will no longer work a fast food place with a dopey uniform. Places like McDonald's have been proactive in designing more humane uniforms.