Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the society.

Photo

Restaurant Dress Codes and Attire


  • Please log in to reply
72 replies to this topic

#61 Sneakeater

Sneakeater
  • participating member
  • 4,455 posts

Posted 01 October 2009 - 07:46 AM

If a restaurant doesn't have a stated dress code, it doesn't follow to me that you can wear anything you want.
It's more like they're trusting their clientele to dress appropriately.

I know you guys think this isn't an apt analogy (for reasons I frankly don't grasp), but there's no stated dress code for funerals. Everybody is just expected to know what's appropriate.

#62 Florida

Florida
  • participating member
  • 388 posts
  • Location:Chicago, IL

Posted 01 October 2009 - 08:36 AM

If a restaurant doesn't have a stated dress code, it doesn't follow to me that you can wear anything you want.
It's more like they're trusting their clientele to dress appropriately.

I know you guys think this isn't an apt analogy (for reasons I frankly don't grasp), but there's no stated dress code for funerals. Everybody is just expected to know what's appropriate.


If a restaurant doesn't have a stated dress code, it doesn't follow to me that their patrons will wear anything they want. However, if someone dines at a high end restaurant and chooses to wear a polo shirt versus a jacket, why should I care? How does that affect my meal? It simply doesn’t.

If Batali can wear shorts and orange clogs and Bourdain can go virtually everywhere in his ratty Yankees shirt, I see no reason why I should have to conform to some unwritten, archaic "rule," if the restaurant I am dining at doesn’t even require it.

#63 paulraphael

paulraphael
  • participating member
  • 3,073 posts

Posted 01 October 2009 - 08:42 AM

2) Robuchon sets the dress code at his restaurants. The dress code is not set by the collective will of the people dining there.


The collective will of the people exerts a strong influence. Diners vote with their reservations and their pocketbooks; restaurant owners have only limited sway.

Of course someone like Robuchon might get customers if he insits on tuxedos, but he's in the exalted minority. Most chefs and owners work hard to get people in the door. Creating an environment that diners don't like (and this could include a dress code that's too strict or one that's not strict enough) will hurt business. That's why this debate DOES seem like a kind of negotiation between the restaurants and the patrons (and between the patrons who like to dress up and those who don't).

#64 Simon_S

Simon_S
  • participating member
  • 689 posts
  • Location:Dublin, Ireland

Posted 01 October 2009 - 09:04 AM

I know you guys think this isn't an apt analogy (for reasons I frankly don't grasp), but there's no stated dress code for funerals. Everybody is just expected to know what's appropriate.


I think that's a very apt analogy, but "appropriate" attire for funerals is another thing that varies with age and other factors, at least in my experience. Many younger acquaintances are of the opinion that when it comes to funerals, their presence is the only important aspect, their attire is irrelevant. I can disagree (and I do), I can judge (and I do!) but ultimately these are not absolute questions. What you consider appropriate restaurant attire (sports jacket) would have been considered *very* casual by the standards of previous generations. These things shift over time.

Basically what I'm saying is, you're getting old! :biggrin:

#65 Dave Weinstein

Dave Weinstein
  • participating member
  • 222 posts
  • Location:Duvall, WA

Posted 01 October 2009 - 09:18 AM

I know you guys think this isn't an apt analogy (for reasons I frankly don't grasp), but there's no stated dress code for funerals. Everybody is just expected to know what's appropriate.


There isn't a single "dress code" for funerals either.

Don't believe me? Wear that nice suit as you hike through the back country to scatter a friends' ashes off a mountain.

The dress code for funerals is driven by sub-culture, although most are fairly formal. However, the people coming to a funeral generally are from the same sub-culture as the deceased, and will dress to cultural norms. When there are conflicts, the standards of those closest to the dead are appropriate.

[True story. I had a florist send an all pink floral arrangement with a central turnip for the funeral of a (male) friend. It was deeply appreciated by the family, because it referenced shared experiences and some inside jokes. It is not, however, an appropriate floral arrangement in the general case.]

The problem here is that you are insisting that your sartorial standards are the proper communal standards for fine dining, and implying (if not outright stating) that everyone should know that.

If the restaurant doesn't set a standard, who are you to set one for them? If you only want "dressed up" fine dining, confine your meals to those restaurants that require what you deem appropriate attire, just as those who care about the food and not the clothing will consider whether or not they want to dress up to meet a restaurant's requirements before making a reservation.

#66 Florida

Florida
  • participating member
  • 388 posts
  • Location:Chicago, IL

Posted 01 October 2009 - 09:56 AM


2) Robuchon sets the dress code at his restaurants. The dress code is not set by the collective will of the people dining there.


The collective will of the people exerts a strong influence. Diners vote with their reservations and their pocketbooks; restaurant owners have only limited sway.

Of course someone like Robuchon might get customers if he insits on tuxedos, but he's in the exalted minority. Most chefs and owners work hard to get people in the door. Creating an environment that diners don't like (and this could include a dress code that's too strict or one that's not strict enough) will hurt business. That's why this debate DOES seem like a kind of negotiation between the restaurants and the patrons (and between the patrons who like to dress up and those who don't).


Well if it is the consumers who have the decision making ability, than there is very little argument to be made for formal wear as the vast majority of restaurants do not have a dress code. Sneakeater himself has noted that EMP will seat him even if he is not dressed “appropriately.” They are valuing his potential as a customer ($$$) over their own dress code.

Would also note, in America, it is very difficult and very risky to refuse service to someone. After all, the common belief is that “the customer is always right,” even when they are not. Refusing service is questioning that belief and people are not fond of having their beliefs questioned. Furthermore, refusing service to someone opens up the door for the accusation of discrimination. Businesses being businesses will go out of their way to avoid the PR nightmare that comes with such an accusation. It is far easier to allow for a dress code infraction than it is to repair a tarnished image.

#67 Sneakeater

Sneakeater
  • participating member
  • 4,455 posts

Posted 01 October 2009 - 10:15 AM

If the restaurant doesn't set a standard, who are you to set one for them? If you only want "dressed up" fine dining, confine your meals to those restaurants that require what you deem appropriate attire, just as those who care about the food and not the clothing will consider whether or not they want to dress up to meet a restaurant's requirements before making a reservation.


That's interesting.

Actually, my personal preference is for "not dressed up" fine dining. My favorite restaurant (NYC) is Momofuku Ssam Bar. I love that I can go there dressed however I want* and get food as good and ambitious as at the finest places in town.

But OTOH, I know that when I do go to the other "fancier" places, different dress is appropriate.
________________________________________________________________
* Not really "however I want." I'd feel uncomfortable if I went there from, say, a court appearance, when I was wearing a suit.

#68 Carlovski

Carlovski
  • participating member
  • 1,547 posts
  • Location:Hampshire, UK

Posted 01 October 2009 - 10:26 AM

Good point about the changes in what is acceptible attire. I remember an old episode of Sherlock Holmes where Holmes had invited Watson to dinner. Watson turns up in an immaculate looking 3 piece suit, to which Holmes comments 'Dressing casually are we?' - as he wasn't wearing a dinner jacket. Apparently it was the influence of his American wife...
I love animals.
They are delicious.

#69 Kouign Aman

Kouign Aman
  • participating member
  • 2,653 posts
  • Location:San Diego

Posted 01 October 2009 - 02:02 PM

Show up at Galatoire's in New Orleans, sans jacket, and they'll gladly hand you a white waiters jacket to wear. I suspect they have a stash of ties too.
They've been a successful restaurant for some time and look to stay that way, despite or perhaps in part because of enforcing their dress code.
"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

#70 Toliver

Toliver
  • participating member
  • 4,644 posts
  • Location:Bakersfield, California

Posted 02 October 2009 - 10:34 AM

If the restaurant has a dress code, customers can either conform to it, or take their business elsewhere.

If the restaurant does not have a dress code, or has one less rigorous than some customers would desire, they can either go with the understanding that people will dress more casually than they would like, or take their business elsewhere.

Frankly, the only people who have a right to set "what is expected" run the restaurant.

I've posted this story before...
Alex Spanos, owner of the San Diego Chargers NFL football team, arrived at the Star of the Sea restaurant. The Star of the Sea was an "Old School" fine dining restaurant overlooking San Diego Bay. The restaurant had a dress code for men requiring a suit and tie in order to dine there. When Mr. Spanos arrived he wasn't wearing the requisite suit and tie providing a dilemma for the restaurant. Stick to the dress code and turn away a high profile customer and let him take his business elsewhere or abolish the dress code? The dress code was done away with from that moment on.
So a restaurant can stick to their guns and enforce the dress code and risk losing buisness (and potential business from friends and associates of those customers turned away), or they can drop the dress code and bring customers and their money into the restaurant.
A sad footnote, the Star of the Sea restaurant eventually went out of business (it's now an "event" site for wedding receptions, etc).

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'
Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”
– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”


#71 sethd

sethd
  • participating member
  • 282 posts

Posted 02 October 2009 - 12:14 PM

Recently, I showed a picture of the ornate, beautiful dining room of restaurant Louis XV in Monaco to my colleagues (perhaps the worst dressed professionals in New York) and asked them all the following question, "What is the appropriate dress for eating in such a restaurant?" They all said at least a Jacket and tie and some mentioned that a dinner jacket would be within reason.

I

#72 Florida

Florida
  • participating member
  • 388 posts
  • Location:Chicago, IL

Posted 02 October 2009 - 02:23 PM

The exceptions do not prove the rule.

However,

Jackets are required for gentlemen during dinner and all day Sunday.


While they may be successful, I guess business during the day isn't that successful that they are capable of enforcing the jacket rule during all hours.

While,

Dressing: Jacket required and tie recommended.


So, even Monsieur Ducasse has to post the dress requirements because they are no longer assumed. And this is a restaurant that charges 80E for a salad and is located in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

#73 Omnivor

Omnivor
  • participating member
  • 7 posts

Posted 28 April 2010 - 03:48 PM

Noma in Copenhagen has recently voted the best restaurant in the world on the St Pellegrino worlds 50 best restaurants list. Their interior is very stylish, no table cloth, nothing unnecessary standing around...dinners are dressed casual and really seem to enjoy themselves and especially the excellent food! I take this as a good sign :smile: . People should feel comfortable when dinning not having to wear anything they normally would not!
I personally think it would be much more important to not allow people in reeking of perfume! I don't mind what fellow dinners are wearing, but I do mind how they smell. Too strong perfumes can ruin a whole evening, since you can't taste your food properly any longer. I am afraid I have to say that in my experience there is a strong positive correlation between wearing a suite or sticking to the stiff dress-code and the obsessive use of perfume of any kind! This is actually the main reason why I avoid restaurants with dress-code.