Blog: Leonie BarrieA Big Mac and fries?

Leonie Barrie | 11 July 2005

McDonald’s says its decision to draft in celebrity designers to re-vamp its restaurant workers’ uniforms is intended to “capture that spirit of being forever young,” with a hip-hop look that they’ll want to continue to wear to the club when they’ve finished their shifts. I’ve long since left my clubbing days behind me, but I do know that work clothes – in any shape or form, let alone a McDonald’s uniform – would be the last thing I’d want to wear out on the town.

Having a well-known name to design a workplace uniform is no guarantee of success. As with anything in life, you’ll never satisfy all of the people all of the time. Airlines are probably one of the biggest culprits for jumping on the celebrity designer bandwagon – and if you’ve ever taken the time to ask flight attendants about their garb you’ll realise most have at least one criticism to level at the person responsible. One of the biggest oversights of all is the fact these are work clothes – and as such they have a completely different function to fulfill than everyday attire. 

McDonald’s would also seem to be making a big mistake by assuming that the majority of its 600,000 US employees are teenagers. An older person is going to feel ridiculous dressed in a trendy, active design. There’s also the reverse to consider. Will any negative connotations from designing the McDonald’s uniform rub off on an upscale brand such as Ralph Lauren, one of the designer names being weighed up?  

“Clothes may make the man,” as the saying goes, but they contribute very little when it come to buying fast food hamburgers. The Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Index estimates that the uniforms employees wear make a 0.005 per cent contribution to loyalty and profitability. That’s one-half of one per cent. A ‘clean’ uniform makes closer to a 1 per cent contribution. McDonald's will have to sell an awful lot of hamburgers to make up for the cost of half a million new uniforms.

USA: Designers To Spice Up McDonald’s Uniforms?


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