Bill’s Restaurants uniforms
Bill’s Restaurants are a hugely creative, inspiring restaurant group for middle-market young professionals and family demographics. The restaurant chain started as a family greengrocer’s shop originally and has now grown to have over 80 sites across the UK, covering many major cities.
The group started with one site, but soon grew very quickly and decided that it had had enough of its dreary, ill-fitting company uniform.
Complaints with the shirts were:
- The cotton fabric was too heavy so staff were too hot all the time
- The women’s shirts didn’t fit well so men’s shirts were being tailored to fit them
- The fabric had no stretch and tended to untuck at the waist
- Staff couldn’t wait to get out of the shirts at the end of the shift as they were so uncomfortable and it was not something they wanted to be seen in
Bill’s wanted to make sure that the new uniforms would be a good investment and would be long lasting, both in terms of style and practicality.
Our process to create the perfect uniform
Once we understood the essential uniform briefing requirements of comfort, practicality and budget we could then speak about style. We pulled together some story boards with style ideas, uniform sketches, and fabrics swatches. The style direction given to us by the head of training, was to draw inspiration from the group’s roots and add a contemporary look and feel with quirky retro touches to complement the brand’s casual dining style.
We asked questions to dig deeper including the colours they loved, whether they wanted men and women to look the same, what their staff would like/dislike. This inspired us to create a design for what they really wanted. The head of training, the managers, some of the head office staff and some of the restaurant sites came together to look at the ideas. They loved it and felt excited, they felt the brand feel and customer demographic had been captured and targeted well. Rather than just designing a uniform, we had designed stylish and practical clothes people would love to wear.
Once the final designs were chosen, we made prototypes for a trial focus group of 20 or so staff. This enabled us to find out what the staff thought, speaking to the end user of each uniform directly to hear what they thought about the fit, fabric and design and how they would feel doing a 12-hour shift in it.
Our bespoke uniform solution
The fabric was lightweight, breathable and comfortable with stretch, sporting a uniquely woven micro check design.
The staff really liked the look and said they would feel comfortable and proud wearing it outside of work. The real litmus test would be to ask yourself, “would I be seen dead in this?”
The ladies had more bust shaping and darting for an optimal flattering fit with ¾ sleeves. The men had slight shaping at the sides and long body darts at the back to create slim fitting shirts and a neat preppy collar that could be worn open or closed.
The staff reported back saying they loved their shirts. They felt so much more comfortable for long shifts and we’ve found staff generally stayed for longer.