McDonald's aims for premium image with designer uniforms

LONDON - McDonald's is providing its staff with a new range of uniforms designed by Bruce Oldfield, famous for dressing Princess Diana, Jemima Khan and Sienna Miller, in an attempt to appear more upmarket.

The old outfit's bright colours have been replaced with more subtle shades of black, beige and brown for the air-hostess style uniforms.

Female management and front of house staff will wear high heels, pencil skirts and scarves, male counterparts will have suits, and the staff who serve the food will wear polo shirts, all in similar colours.

The new uniform will appear in the UK next month for all 67,000 workers to complement the company's restyled restaurants, at a cost of £2m.

McDonald's said that the clothes made staff feel more confident and customers respect them more.

David Fairhurst, chief people officer at McDonald's, was reported in The Guardian to have said: "We've been on the journey of confidence. And part of that confidence will come from having the staff feel good in their uniforms.

"The new uniform reflects how there is now a more upmarket feel to the business. You still have the value meals but there are also the premium ones, and these uniforms give a more premium feel."

Oldfield said that it had been fun to design the "contemporary look" for employees at McDonald's and that he had come up with a design that is practical and stylish.

In a previous attempt to change people's perceptions McDonald's last year started a campaign to get the Oxford English Dictionary to change its definition of a 'McJob'.

The McDonald's Corporation posted a 24% gain in first-quarter profit yesterday, thanks to strong international sales, but investors were nervous about the company's first monthly decline of US same-store sales in five years.

McDonald's is not the first fast food chain to go for the premium market. Yesterday, its rival Burger King announced plans to roll out an £85 burger as part of a wider strategy to boost its premium credentials.

The UK's most expensive burger is set to launch next month in a limited number of outlets in upmarket central London locations.