In almost every aspect of life, clothing partakes an enormous role. Yes, even when it seems like it doesn’t matter.
I used to work as a part-time waiter, at a restaurant called Sushi Yasu (yes, I served sushis all night long). Although sometimes, rush hours made me stress and move around frenetically, I loved this job.
It made me learn a lot about outer perspectives of myself and of others. Every time I worked, I spent my whole shifts observing my customers’ outfits and them, mine (a glimpse of how to think like a fashionable man).
Thankfully, I wore a uniform, which took away a lot of time that I would’ve possibly spend in front of my closet, thinking about what to wear!
The thing is, I didn’t wear a uniform as soon as I became a waiter. At first, I used to wear casual shirts/polos, with the staff’s table cloth and jeans.
I basically wore that with my otherwise casual outfit. Anyone can tell it’s not really a professional work-wear.
Later in my work life, I wore black pants, a black and yellow kimono top and a matching bandana. The difference in my work-wear made a pretty interesting change in my working environment. Here are a few images of my old “uniform”.
My old situation and work-wear
When I used to wear a tablecloth, although I tried to wear nice tops, people wouldn’t take me seriously. They would avoid my look, not trust me on my recommendations and treat me like a kid. Obviously, I hated it. Some customers were different and would talk to me as a normal waiter. Nonetheless, I wasn’t fully looked at as a real waiter.
As for my tips, they were honestly satisfying, I wouldn’t complain about it. I just didn’t get as much tables as my co-waiters (frankly, it irritated me) and I felt insecure about talking to customers.
Little story: I once served a table that wanted sake (Japanese alcohol) with their meal. While I was asking, waiting for them to choose their alcohol, the customers were looking around for another waiter, completely ignoring me. When another waiter came, they ordered their alcohol to him. I felt insulted.
One day, I decided to step up in my work game and asked my boss to get me a kimono as a uniform, like the other waitresses (the only other male waiter wears business casual outfits). My request was granted and I got a bandana as a bonus. The change was drastic.
What happened next
Although we aren’t talking about drastic changes such as promotions or higher payroll, changing my uniform considerably changed the way my customers perceived me.
I had a traditional uniform that connected me to the place I worked at. The customers saw that I was finally a fully grown waiter. If the staff can entrust me with their customers, the customers can entrust me with their dinner experience. That’s the message that a proper uniform gives to the people.
Additionally, I got compared to the Karate Kid, the first one with Ralph Macchio. In some ways, the customers could connect me to a pop icon, making the whole experience of dinner fun and relatable.
So what changed?
The look of the customers changed for the better. They looked at me as a trustworthy waiter. When they would enter the restaurant, they would look at me first, so that I could guide them to their seats. They want me to serve them. They also ask for my opinion and take the latter into account (it’s a lot easier to sell them the menu’s priciest items such as the Tuna Belly-Toro).
Personally, I got more confident. I finally felt like I was a true waiter and I was not afraid to take tables anymore. As I was not afraid of my customers looks, my whole experience as a waiter was a lot more enjoyable and I had fun interacting with the customers. That was the benefit of being confident (learn how to get confident with this link).
Furthermore, my tips increased from 40~50$ to 60~80$ a night. The regular customers interacted a lot more with me and were friendlier than ever. The tips I got from my tables clearly increased since my service got 15% (of the bill) more frequently than before. I could clearly see the changes.
Basically, after changing my work-wear to something more suitable:
- Customers trusted me easily
- They asked for my opinion more often
- Selling items were a lot easier
- My work got more fun
- Tips increased
- Overall diner experience of my customers improved
This experience of mine shows you how, no matter what environment and type of clothing, the appearance matters both to the others and yourself.
As a natural behavior, humans trust more people who look trustable. You simply have to hone your crafts and take advantage of it!
Thank you for reading.
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Ryoma Martin, from The Soul’s Garment
At your service