Behind the Scenes of a Uniform Program in a Large-Scale Hotel Opening

Behind the Scenes of a Uniform Program in a Large-Scale Hotel Opening

Posted by Noel Asmar on


In Conversation with Brigitte Rhu, VP of Sales for NAU

When considering the various elements involved in launching a grand hotel, one typically thinks of developer meetings, architectural renders, interior design slides, and menu crafting. However, one crucial and often overlooked aspect of establishing a new hotel is the uniform program.

This task is significant and not to be underestimated, as Brigitte Rhu, VP of Sales for Noel Asmar Uniforms, can attest. In a previous position, Brigitte played a key role in opening a massive resort casino in Las Vegas, featuring 4000 rooms and an estimated 9000 staff members – all of whom required custom-selected, role-specific, and properly sized uniforms.

Brigitte shares her insights into the complexities of outfitting such a large team and explores the common best practices involved in this undertaking, a project that commenced two full years before the hotel's actual opening.

Starting Uniform Conversations Early

Brigitte emphasizes the importance of initiating discussions about uniforms simultaneously with design conversations. In her experience, the head of uniform services joined the project two years before the grand opening, collaborating with architects and designers to ensure a seamless integration of uniforms with the overall design of the property. She shared,

“A lot of care and funding goes into the design of a project like this. Uniforms should blend seamlessly with those design choices, creating an embodied extension of the brand from the front door, throughout the space.”

With this seamlessness of design in mind, Brigitte and her team began the process of selecting the perfect uniforms. They engaged with various uniform vendors, seeking input and exploring diverse options to match the unique requirements of each position within the hotel. Boards, whether physical or digital, were utilized to visualize and render uniform designs within the distinct spaces of the hotel. From their favorite vendors and represented styles, samples were requested.


Samples are Requested. Now What?

To better hone in on their uniform selections, Brigitte’s team held a fashion show with all of their favorite uniforms, featuring models donning uniforms tailored to every position, from cooks to cocktail waitresses. The audience was comprised of all the decision-makers for the project, making sure approval was acquired from everyone involved. Brigitte shared,

“We considered everything from cut to color to zipper placement, while keeping function in the forefront of our minds. We also considered vendor track records, choosing suppliers like Noel Asmar – with a history of expertly outfitting housekeeping and spa staff – for their reliability and commitment.”

Considering every detail helped ensure a blend of functionality and aesthetics, and making sure vendors could execute such large orders, increased the likelihood of the project’s success. 

Establishing Budgets and Strategic Ordering

It might feel like the hard work is in the selection process, but the actual program requires strategy, process, and precision. At the moment of uniform approval, the team must turn their attention to budgets, and the nuts-and-bolts of ordering for a team that doesn’t yet exist.

Detailed budget breakdowns should be created based on gender, size, employee par levels,  and position-specific estimates. Once approved, first orders are often placed based on local and historical data of related business staff outfitting, often following a “bell curve” strategy for sizing (with the most common sizes ordered in the greatest quantities). Brigitte shares,

“You can learn a lot from studying nearby hotels and historical uniform data, but in the end, the first order is an estimate. You plan for the most likely composition of staff, and also have a strategy in place for when things don’t go to plan.”

Taking a Systematic Approach to Uniform Distribution

For Brigitte’s team, distributing uniforms for 9000 staff members required a systematic approach. A dedicated warehouse served as the hub for measuring, altering, and outfitting. Seamstresses ensured precision fittings, with measurements being meticulously recorded and paired with each employee's par levels – the number of uniform sets allotted based on the amount they are expected to work. These uniform sets were assembled with their measurements, ready to be dispatched to the seamstresses along with a sealed name tag.

Once altered and organized, the uniforms were deemed “ready” for distribution to each new member of staff.

Always Plan for the Unexpected.

Planning for the unexpected is essential when outfitting a large team, especially in the context of a project of significant scale. Embracing Murphy's law – that if something can go wrong, it will – underscores the need for meticulous contingency planning. In the realm of a massive uniform program project, deviations from the anticipated bell-curve model are inevitable, particularly when opting for custom solutions. The ability to foresee and address potential issues becomes critical. 

This involves understanding the lead times from vendors, assessing their capacity to generate new stock, and determining the availability of extra inventory. Additionally, preemptive measures such as ordering more backstock are essential to ensure a comprehensive inventory of uniforms in every size. 

Despite careful planning and extensive study, unexpected variations (like the scenario in Brigitte’s project in which the initial 200 people in the cleaning staff required extra small uniforms instead of the anticipated mediums) highlight the importance of having a well-structured plan in place for such contingencies. Acknowledging the imperfections inherent in such endeavors is a key aspect of effective project management.

Noel Asmar is Well-Versed in Large Uniform Programs.

Noel Asmar Uniforms has earned a reputation for being exceptionally well-versed in managing large uniform programs, showcasing our expertise through collaborations with esteemed establishments such as Hyatt, Marriott, Salamander, MGM Resorts, Caesar’s, 4 Seasons, OMNIs, and more. 

Our proficiency extends across staff sizes ranging from smaller openings to those requiring uniforms for up to 1500 staff members. NAU’s adept handling of such programs involves a harmonious blend of coordination, precision, and design. It’s our meticulous efforts behind the scenes that contribute to the seamless execution of seemingly effortless uniform programs. 

Recognizing the significance of uniforms as an extension of a brand, we ensure that this aspect is as integral as any facet of the overall design. By prioritizing attention to detail, strategic coordination, and creative precision, NAU consistently delivers uniform programs that not only meet functional requirements but also elevate the brand identity of the establishments we collaborate with. Contact us for more information about our uniform program or shop our hotel and hospitality uniform collection.

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