Every restaurant has a workflow, a synergy between the kitchen and front-of-house staff that makes it all work. An essential part of that flow is the equipment used for each individual task. Not just your kitchen equipment or your POS, but everything right down to the server aprons worn by your staff. Servers need to be well-equipped to handle the multi-tasking demands of waiting tables and handling checks. They need a pocket for their order pad and a place to clip their pen. They need another pocket for silverware and straws, another for cash, change, or tips.
Not all server aprons are up to the demanding job of keeping your wait-staff organized and moving quickly. If your aprons have been causing problems or you’ve been seeing inefficiency in the dining room, it may be time for an apron upgrade. Let’s take a closer look at the top 4 signs that your current server aprons just aren’t cutting the mustard.
1. Server Aprons Have No Pockets for Storage
An apron with no pockets is useful in the kitchen for protecting clothes from spills, but a pocketless apron is nothing but decoration for a server. It may make a snazzy addition to the uniform, but your servers need real pockets. If your aprons completely lack pockets, your servers have noticed and might even have begun ducking the apron entirely. After all, what’s the point if there’s nowhere to dock the order pad?
A new apron set would allow you to upgrade your servers’ dining room look and seriously increase their comfort and efficiency on the floor.
2. Server Apron Pockets are Too Big, Everything Gets Lost
Another common problem is aprons that have one or two oversized pockets. These might seem like an upgrade, but the actual benefit is minimal. Oversized pockets have two very distinct problems. The first is that they are always a mess in there. Straws, keys, change, and pens all fall to the bottom. The order pad jostles around on top and anything else that needs to be carried might as well rattle along.
The second problem is that these pockets are often too deep. If the bottom of the pockets falls below the length of the server’s arm, they can’t even reach inside their pockets without ducking or scooping which is hardly efficient for your team. Or comfortable, for that matter.
3. Pockets Gap and Drop Their Contents
Another problem with big, oversized, or badly designed apron pockets is gapping. A gapping pocket falls open any time the apron is moved or bent over, and servers move a lot. You may notice aprons dropping order pads and pens on the floor on a regular basis, spills of change, or an avalanche of straws falling on a regular basis. This is a clear sign that your apron pockets are poorly designed and those aprons probably should never have been sold professionally without a few extra stitches to keep them upright.
4. Server Aprons Don’t Fit Your Largest and Smallest Staff
Another common problem is sizing. There is no height limit on servers and some of your staff may be unusually tall or short. When this happens, you’ve got an apron situation. Tall people need aprons that can adapt to their elongated body, which means a longer neck strap and maybe a longer apron. Shorter staff also struggle with aprons that are too large and neck straps that hang so low that the apron begins below their chest.
The solution for unusually heightened staff is often to give them waist-only aprons that primarily provide the much-needed pockets. Since servers aren’t in the kitchen, you can skip the body-size-limiting full-apron design.
5. Apron Straps are Not Adjustable
Apron straps absolutely need to be adjustable. The cheapest aprons often don’t even come with a sliding clasp on the neck strap to allow for taller and shorter wearers. You will need aprons for servers (and chefs and cleaning staff) of all shapes and sizes. The most inclusive way to do this is simply to use an apron design that has completely adjustable neck and waist straps. You might even try an over-the-shoulder design with a hip apron.
6. You Often Hear “I’m Sorry, My Apron Just…”
The final sign is something you hear as a restaurant manager spoken softly over and over in the dining room: “Sorry, my apron just…” whispered by servers as they pick up another batch of spilled straws or rummage for their order-writing pen is a clear sign that your aprons are causing problems. Not just back-of-house problems, but in-front-of-the-customers problems.
Fortunately, apron problems are easily solved. If your servers need a new design of apron to eliminate problems and improve their workflow, we’ve got you covered. Check out our hip-mounted server apron with a useful collection of tight, upright pockets ready to old, serve, and fit comfortably for every single one of your wait staff.