Earlier this week Starbucks announced that in its Canadian and US locations, employees would be able to put a little personal spin on their uniforms.
Don’t be surprised if you see your local Starbucks barista sporting colourful hair, dark denim and a knit beanie the next time you order your venti cappuccino: the company is leading the way when it comes to changing the (often) strict uniform codes in corporate coffee houses.
In Canada, 20,000 employees are now able to add personal touches of expression to their work uniforms. According to a press release sent out by Starbucks Canada, the new dress code means that baristas can rock any colour hair dye as well as a range of colours and patterns on their clothing.
Mary Saunoris, Starbucks’ communications specialist, says the change is a way to contribute to an exceptional work experience. “Our partners have told us that they want more freedom and flexibility to bring their full self to work,” says Saunoris, “The new dress code allows them to bring out more of their personal taste and handcrafted style behind the iconic green apron.”
Although Starbucks is encouraging baristas to express their personal style, some fashion statements remain taboo, including nail polish—for fear of food contamination—and any piercings beyond earrings and nose studs. Visible tattoos must not contain images or words that are offensive, sexual or hateful.
In recent years the service industry has received some backlash over uniform requirements—with some places requiring women to always wear short skirts, high heels or low cut tops—though this hasn’t really been a problem when it comes to coffee houses.
We’ll have to wait and see if other coffee giants (Second Cup, Tim Hortons) decide to follow suit.
What do you think of the uniform change? Should employees be allowed personal expression on the job?