Chef Uniforms – Own or Rent?

By Ken Buben 

Many Restaurants, hotels, caterers, nursing homes, and other foodservice establishments choose to “rent” their kitchen uniforms from a linen supplier which in turn services these uniforms for a fee.

Sound’s good right? But let’s look at the drawbacks to this system. First is the fact that many of these “cleaning” companies keep bringing the operator soiled product even after they had been “cleaned”. This is because the supplier recycles the uniform until it virtually falls apart. I was at a restaurant a few days ago at 8:30 am. This restaurant has an open windowed kitchen. I noticed a young chef with a chef coat that was EXTREMLY dirty. I asked him how long he had had it on. He said he asked the owner the day before if he could take it home and launder it himself instead of having the linen company do it. Well, the result was obvious that the dirt was so ground in that it would never come clean.

chef coat

Let’s consider the cost of using a cleaning service. I’ll use easy numbers for this exercise. And chef coats only.

Let’s say an operator has twenty chefs on staff each working five shifts and let’s also assume this operator is open from 7am to 10pm, hence the twenty staff.

20 times 5 equals 100 chef coats the operator is “renting” at about 50 cents per chef coat. Anyone can see that this equals fifty dollars a week; times 52 is $2600 per year. $2600 per year for sometimes filthy uniforms? Not if I owned the establishment. What would be worse is if the establishment had a carving station, pasta station, or if the chef went into the dining room to greet quests.

In my opinion a chef should own his own chef coat and be proud to wear it every day and replace it before it gets grungy.

It’s a fact that a patron in a restaurant has cleanness at top of his or her list of “Will I Eat Here Again?”

Image courtesy of stockimages at & Image courtesy of Aleks Melnik at


7 thoughts on “Chef Uniforms – Own or Rent?

    • Bren, that’s why I wrote the blog – wouldn’t you rather have your own uniforms or clothes cleaned yourself instead of having them go into a very large washing machine with the germs of others working in the restaurant industry?

      • Uck! Yes, the thought of my clothes being washed with others is rather revolting. Definitely gives one something to think about!

    • Corina, hibbie jibbies definately puts you in my age class. 🙂 Do you realize that the majority of the uniforms that are worn in food service are thrown into very large washing machines? And those machines are perhaps not sanitized in order for the laundry to save money. Even in your home washing machine I personally suggest that once per week run a hot water wash with no clothes but with bleach.

  1. Pingback: The University of Chef Uniforms | blog.fancychefuniforms

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