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Best Practices for Growing Apparel Sales in the Hospitality Sector

uniforms and workwear for the hospitality industry

Depending on the industry or place of business your customer works at, their work style may alter to accommodate their activities or duties. The hospitality industry, in particular, is a multi-billion dollar service industry that encompasses food service, lodging, transportation, cruise lines and the entertainment industry. A hospitality account such as a restaurant, hotel, or an amusement park consists of multiple groups usually divided into front-of-house staff (concierge, guest services, ticket agents, servers, bartenders and hosts) and back-of-house staff (facility maintenance, operations, kitchen staff, porters and housekeeping).

From basic outfitting to function-driven attire, it’s important to suggest a style that reflects the individual’s job responsibilities. And as more organizations strive to enhance their corporate appearance and style, the use of complementary garments continues to surface as a major trend in the promotional apparel industry. Individuals working at the same company may have different job duties – and ordering garments from a supplier who offers complementary pieces appeals to those who have their staff wear uniforms, either outdoors or inside the office. Whether your customers are interested in having their staff wear a polo, t-shirt or a jacket, quality suppliers can offer options in designs with complementing colors and styling, but carry enough unique characteristics to stand out from the crowd. This is also a great tactic for companies who embark on regular personnel events – it’s easy coordination that results in a polished and professional look.

In this article, we will take a look at the latest trending styles available for uniform and workwear programs, as well as some sales techniques that can help you land that next purchase order!

Uniforms for Retail, Restaurants, Resorts

versatile workwear for outdoorsFor those who work in environments like a grocer or store, the designs they may need are usually geared towards a polished look, while being budget-sensitive. Look for basic apparel to outfit these customer-facing representatives that includes Easy Care properties, and is offered in a wide range of color and size assortment. Short and long-sleeved polos in solid and tipped styles are trending at the moment, especially those which have wrinkle-resistant features to help keep the individual professional and crisp-looking all day. Polos that match well with a jacket, for example, are also something you can keep in mind for expanding your customers’ uniform program in the future.

uniforms and workwear for resaurantsRestaurant staff may require other apparel that stands up to tough stains or spills. Think styles that have soil and wrinkle-resistance, moisture wicking properties to keep staff fresh and at ease during their shift, and stain-release functionality to keep spills from saturating the fibers of the garment. Styles that best suit this industry may include polo’s with UV protection (especially for those who serve their customers outdoors) or twill shirts that come in either long or short-sleeved styles. Pockets are an additional convenient feature for those who wish to store their pen or pad of paper in a safe location.

Even though it may be all work and no play for resort staff, outfitting them in island-inspired styles will definitely evoke the vacation mood for tourists. Easy fit and draping textured ‘camp shirt’ styles are ideal options for wait staff, tour services personnel, bellhops, bartenders and resort retail employees. Look for short-sleeve shirts to complement the warm weather, as well as beach-inspired shades such as Cloud Blue, Khaki, Pineapple, Parrot Red, Sand or Palm Green to suit the tropical environment.

workwear and uniforms for resortsOther popular styles for the lodging and gaming front-of-house staff include mélange performance shirts that have a sophisticated appearance, with moisture wicking for added comfort. By selecting a brand offering an array of color-matching styles, you will be able to mix and match, in the same color palette, between other styles such as wovens, polo’s and cardigans.

Uniforms for Auto Shops, Construction Workers, Landscaper

When it comes to workwear, you can never be too prepared for messy situations. Fabrics such as heavy cotton twill, sturdy polyester or duck are standard to tackle tough work duties, but this season, look out for styles that also include performance and comfort features. Moisture wicking properties come in handy when the worker is primarily outdoors or sweating frequently, while a stain-resistance option sheds stains after you throw it in the wash, keeping the individual looking refined and ready for work the next day. Also, pay close attention to duck blanket lined jacket styles to suit your workwear needs, as the fall and winter seasons are not too far away. Constructed for the long haul, designs such as these may also come with neck-protecting corduroy collars and nylon quilted sleeve lining to keep the warmth in and the cold out.uniforms and workwear for auto repair and construction

Selling Workwear: Tips and Tricks

Larger hospitality accounts will have a Uniform Coordinator or Buyer that oversees multiple commodities, including uniform and promotional products. When qualifying an account, it is important to understand if the purchasing decision maker is a Uniform Coordinator, Purchasing Agent or the individual department head. Oftentimes, each of these areas will have a hand in decision-making, which makes it important to solicit each discipline. It is best to present to all parties of interest at once, so that there is buy-in.

It is also key to approach a buyer with a compelling value proposition, so there is a reason to do business with you. It is equally important to research your prospective customer in advance to ensure you understand their business. One way to pique the interest of the prospective buyer is to request an appointment to show the newest styles that are best suited for their property. Once an appointment is secured, dress to impress wearing one of the styles that you sell, decorated with your company logo, and be sure to reach out to your supplier Sales Representative for support on new product suggestions. Presentations segmented by front-of-house/back-of-house, structured with several options in each Best/Better/Good format, will work well to keep the attention of your buyers.

In Summary….

No matter what the intended use is for your customers’ next workwear or uniform purchase, it’s imperative to know the styles that are most in demand and what functionalities will suit your prospect’s requirements. Encouraging them to select garments that are complementary can also benefit a uniform program in the long run, especially if your client has multiple employees in various locations (outdoor or indoor). Workwear style has definitely evolved over the last few years—but the most important goal remains the same for quality suppliers who produce this apparel—making sure to create pieces that are guaranteed to make your client’s logo pop!

case study uniform exampleCASE STUDY
INDUSTRY: Transportation


APPLICATION/EVENT:
A large trucking transportation company that provides regional and long-haul LTL services was experiencing problems with their current uniform for drivers. The drivers are constantly on the move and they are also responsible for loading, unloading, and customer-facing interaction. It was important for the driver’s appearance to be clean, crisp and consistent (while functional in the work environment). Their current uniform was trapping heat, not holding color, and snagging (as the drivers were working closely with freight handling).

SOLUTION: The Harriton® Micro-Piqué Polo offers all the key components that made this the ideal uniforming solution. The micro-piqué fabrication provides an odor-fighting, snag resistance and moisture-wicking fabrication. The piqué is a knitted fabric with a tighter weave in the pattern of diamonds, which creates resistance to snagging. The fabrication offered three important qualities that make this the ideal solution for hard-working employees on the move!

Joe’l Bastien
Director of Strategic Accounts
alphabroder

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