The Right Apron for the Job

Uniforms worn by front of the house staff are one of the first things guests see in any restaurant. As with signage, decor, and ambience, every detail of these uniforms helps diners formulate their first impressions of your establishment.

Aprons are an important part of many server and busser uniforms and say more than you think. Often, aprons are chosen as a convenient way for waitstaff to carry notepads and ticket books or to protect the uniform pieces underneath. The style, cleanliness, and usage of an apron can help or hurt the image you are trying to portray.

Selecting the right apron for your image should be carefully considered.

Waist Aprons – A waist apron ties at the waist and covers your lap. This option offers maximum flexibility for on-the-go staff. Waist aprons are what most people imagine when thinking of a server apron.


Bib Aprons – Bib aprons cover the chest, lower torso, and lap with a slide-on neck strap and waist ties. These aprons provide more protection to the rest of a server’s uniform and have a professional look.

Bistro & Bar Aprons – Length distinguishes bistro aprons from the rest as they typically fall below the knees. Most bistro aprons have pockets suitable for carrying bar tools as well as note pads and pens.



Cobblers and Smocks – These styles are easily recognizable because they offer the most coverage of any apron. Cobblers feature a front and back panel that cover the entire torso and lap and tie at the sides. Smocks look similar to a button down t-shirt and sometimes have longer sleeves.

Picking the right apron for each position on your staff can be a trick decision. A few questions to consider before buying are:

  • What is the purpose? Are you looking for something to keep the uniforms cleaner, something with maximum storage, or is it a purely stylistic decision?
  • How often will staff wear the apron? For those who will get a lot wear in their aprons, be sure to select a heavier, stain resistant fabric or even a reversible or 4-way option to help the apron last longer.
  • Is the job mostly stationary or does it involve a lot of movement? Finding a comfortable option for each position can help staff do their best work.

Aprons are an important part of restaurant uniforms and should be selected with as much effort as every other part. Once you consider which factors are most important and what your goals are in using aprons, the right choice will come easily.

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