Toronto Bier Markt Servers Win Fight Against Skimpy New Dresses

The waitresses at Bier Markt are about to look a little different – again.

That’s because the female servers are no longer required to wear the tight, skimpy dresses they were given on October 5.

Cara Operations – a company that owns a handful of chain restaurants across the country, including Bier Markt – have changed a new uniform policy that forced female servers to wear the revealing dresses. The move came after CBC’s Go Public made inquiries.


In a move that was more backwards than anything (some might say, shortsighted), the new wardrobe policy replaced the former gender-neutral uniform of black pants and a golf shirt. While the male servers were told they could wear jeans, a button down shirt, and Converse runners, the females were told they must wear a short, sleeveless blue dress and heels or boots, with no sweaters, jackets, or thick tights.

Apparently, the dresses were so tight and tiny that they were almost bathing suit-like. Not to mention, the servers were expected to cough up $70 for the dress.

According to CBC, more than 40 females from four different locations complained to Cara’s human resources department – and I can’t say I’m surprised. In my personal experience, waitressing already involves all kinds of unwanted attention and sexist commentary by virtue of a having tray in your hand and the fact that you’re there to “serve” the customer.

A skimpy outfit only makes it worse.

Not to mention, working a busy 8-hour shift in heels is one of the worst forms of torture you can put yourself through.

When the females complained, they received an email response saying that stated: “The uniforms were based on our brand and industry standards and are not intended to sexualize team members or to discriminate.”

As a result, one female quit.

In the face of the pressure, the company did initially bend a little by offering the option of a slightly longer version of the dress and allowing females to wear a cardigan once the weather got colder – as long as it was a short one.

According to the CBC, in an email to Go Public, Cara claimed the new uniforms were chosen to reflect Bier Markt’s “stylish image,” and that the staff were involved in the selection process. Apparently, the company made the changes in the pre-existing uniforms based on the feedback from staff.

Photo: The BierMarkt

Even so, in response to the Go Public inquiries, the company decided to change its policy to allow females to wear the same uniform as men.

“Based on continuing feedback from a few employees, we have now made the male uniform option a unisex option available to female staff as well. Female staff who prefer to wear the jeans, shirt and running shoe option may return the dress for a full refund,” Cara told Go Public in an email.

The thing is, Bier Markt isn’t the only restaurant to employ provocative dress codes – and some are even worse (The Tilted Kilt in Toronto, I’m looking at you). I guess sex still sells – whether you’re selling lap-dances or beer and wings on a Sunday afternoon.

But having the choice to sell it shouldn’t be taken away from an employee.