A typical company that requires formal uniforms expects to tweak things every few years. A slight design change here, maybe a subtle color change there. Every once in a while, it becomes necessary to completely revamp the uniform from the floor up. But how often should these types of complete overhauls be undertaken?
Commercial airlines are notorious for changing up the uniforms every few years. As for everyone else, complete overhauls do not occur that often. One exception to that rule is the Burger King chain of fast food franchises.
Burger King uniforms have undergone a number of very drastic changes since the 1970s. Pictures of each uniform iteration speak for themselves. According to Business Insider, Burger King’s drastic uniform changes have been an attempt to simultaneously keep up with the times and differentiate them from their chief rival, McDonald’s.
Loud and Proud Gives Way to Reserved
The very first Burger King uniforms were loud and proud. Workers wore bright red and yellow outfits with big hats very fitting of the disco era. Imagine what the Partridge family might wear if they ever opened a family restaurant and you have a good idea of what Burger King was rocking back then.
Loud and proud gave way to an overindulgence of color in the mid-to-late 80s. Rather than wearing mostly red with a yellow accent, workers were donning uniforms with multicolored stripes that reached out and grabbed your eyeballs. Red plaid was another option for some franchises.
From the 1990s and into the early 2000’s, Burger King took a more reserved approach. Their uniforms became a bit more subtle. In addition, the company strayed from its original red and yellow design so as to not continue facing criticisms of being too closely matched to McDonald’s.
The modern Burger King uniform looks nothing like any of its predecessors. It is a whole new look for Burger King that coincides with a new logo and branding image.
Burger King Figuring out Its Brand
To an experienced uniform rental company like Alsco, Burger King’s drastic uniform changes over the last 40 years is a clear indication of a company trying to figure out its brand. We already know that Burger King and McDonald’s are the top two burger franchises in the world. We also know that they have been battling one another for dominance in the same way as Coke and Pepsi or Microsoft and Apple.
From the mid-70s through the early 2000s, Burger King’s identity was tied closely to its rivalry with McDonald’s. The company’s uniform choices were a testament to that. But company executives finally figured out that they want their identity to be what they offer as a fast food franchise, not in how they compete with other burger chains.
That’s when Burger King finally rebranded itself. That’s when they redid their color scheme, their logo, and worker uniforms. Perhaps the most telling aspect of Burger King’s recent rebirth is a new uniform design that pays homage to the sandwich that made them a household name: the Whopper.
Don’t Mess with a Good Thing
Tying this all together is the realization that there is no need to mess with a good thing. A company with strong brand recognition doesn’t need to overhaul uniforms every five years. Subtle changes here and there are enough to keep uniforms current with the times. It’s only when a company is struggling to find its brand that they also find uniform overhauls necessary.
How often should you revamp your company uniform? That depends on how well you’ve established your brand.