Japan restaurants spruce up uniforms to attract female hall staff

Japan restaurants spruce up uniforms to attract female hall staff
A part-time worker (L) wearing a new uniform designed by Wego Co, an apparel chain from Tokyo's Harajuku youth fashion district, hands an ice cream to a customer at a B-R 31 Ice Cream Co shop in Tokyo's Meguro area. Photo: Kyodo

Japan restaurants spruce up uniforms to attract female hall staff

TOKYO — Understaffed Japanese restaurants and food chains are introducing what they think are stylish uniforms in a bid to attract more young female workers.

B-R 31 Ice Cream Co, a major ice cream shop operator based in Tokyo, in February replaced its old uniforms with ones designed by WEGO Co., an apparel chain from Tokyo’s Harajuku fashion area popular among customers in their teens and 20s.

“We made the change after some of our outlets asked us to come up with an appealing uniform that would be helpful in recruiting part-timers,” an official of B-R 31 said.

About 400 of its shops have already brought in the new uniform and the company plans to introduce it at all of its 1,200 outlets nationwide.

The new uniform features a shirt with the “31” logo from the company’s name on it. Workers have a choice of three colours - pink, navy and light blue.

The previous uniform worn by female workers had pink and white stripes. The officials said the new uniform projects a more active image and is considered to be more popular among young women.

A 20-year-old female university student who works three to four days a week at an outlet in Tokyo’s Meguro district said, “I like it as it doesn’t look like a regular uniform.”

“Even when we get really busy, I think I will feel energetic wearing this,” she said.

Seven & i Food Systems Co, the Tokyo operator of the Denny’s family restaurant chain, also changed the uniforms of its female staff from April at about 90 Denny’s restaurants in Tokyo and neighbouring Kanagawa Prefecture.

The former uniform was mostly brown. The new one combines a brown skirt and a colourful blouse - staff can pick from light pink, light blue or light yellow - with a thin red belt as a decorative accent.

“We designed it to fit workers across a variety of ages,” a company official said, explaining that its hall staff are mainly in their teens and 20s but also include older women too.

The company aims to adopt the uniform at all its Denny’s restaurants across Japan in three years.

Its rival Skylark Co said it is also introducing a new uniform at its Jonathan’s chain of family restaurants, replacing pink checked shirts with plain white ones so as to match its refurbished buildings and interiors.

“The simple uniform has so far received good feedback from both our staff and customers,” an official said. KYODO