Build Your Business:

Niche Focus: Hospitality Employee Identification Options

By Randy Carr, Contributing Writer

As an alternative to printed plastic, engraved name badges offer a different look and texture. Because they are laser engraved, the name and logo cannot wear off. Photo courtesy of NameBadges Intl., Miami, Fla.

June 30, 2022

If you are catering to businesses in the hospitality niche—such as bars, restaurants and hotels—with employee uniforms, you are leaving money on the table if you are not also offering staff identification.

A professional name badge or patch helps customers identify an employee vs. another customer, especially if the establishment’s uniform is a basic T-shirt or staff are permitted to wear street clothes. It’s also handy if a customer is being waited on by a specific person and wants to ask another employee to have them stop by the table.

Turnover can be high in the hospitality business, and a name plate also allows managers and other employees to more quickly learn a newcomer’s name.

Another advantage has to do with image and reputation. A professional name badge leaves a favorable impression of the business and creates the perception of quality and good service. It should communicate a positive message about the brand.

Ensure Brand Consistency
All employees should be wearing the same type of name tag in standard colors, graphics and typefaces. When a customer sees the tag or emblem, it should reinforce the company’s image and make it easier to remember the company. You want it to become instantly recognizable.

A customer is always going to feel more comfortable asking a clearly identifiable staffer for help vs. not being sure. Name tags also increase security and prevent the possibility of an imposter gaining access to a restricted area.

In any business that is large and busy, employees may not always know each other–especially if they work different days and shifts. Permanent identification makes it more difficult for an intruder to enter an employee-only area and makes it easier for an outsider to be spotted if an attempt is made.

When choosing which type of name tag or patch you want to use, there are a series of questions to ask.

What type of fabric is the uniform made from?

Is there a high turnover of staff or do employees switch around locations frequently such as in catering to events?

Do you want customers to be able to easily distinguish a manager from supervised staff?

Are you interested in presenting a casual, laid-back type of atmosphere or a more formal one?

Name Tag Options
Plastic name badges are the most popular, because they look professional and are one of the most affordable options. They can be printed in unlimited colors and come in a variety of background color choices and borders. They also have a protective epoxy coating to protect the surface.

If an establishment has a high turnover or employees work at a variety of events with an ever-changing carousel of people, a reusable badge might make more sense. This type features the logo or name of the company, but instead of permanently printing a name, there is a window allowing for a printed card to be inserted.

Typically, you can choose from a variety of window sizes, and the supplier will provide a template to print out the names onto perforated card stock to insert into the window.

Engraved name tags are also made of plastic but are laser engraved and therefore the name is a little more durable vs. printing. It also offers a different look and texture than a printed plastic badge. They are not coated with epoxy as it is not needed, and they come in a variety of color combinations.

The most upscale of the three options are metal badges. These look professional and high end and are printed in full color. They also are coated with the protective epoxy to protect the surface. Typically, you can choose from a gold or silver border. If a business wanted to distinguish employees, metal badges might be chosen for management.

For the plastic and engraved styles, you can choose from a pin or a magnetic backing. The metal badge is available only with a magnet. The pin is less expensive and if the fabric will not be damaged by the pin, this is an excellent option. The magnet, of course, is easier on the uniform material.

There are suppliers who offer no minimums, which make it easy to order badges as needed. In general, you should allow five days for production and two days for shipping.

Emblem Options
For a more permanent type of employee identification, and one that is perceived to be part of the uniform itself, you can choose an embroidered name patch. These are often oval or rectangular in shape with a solid background and the name embroidered in a single color. You can choose which color of Merrowed border you prefer.

These can be sewn on or applied with an industrial heat seal adhesive that will withstand even commercial laundering. This option is more suitable for uniforms worn by the same employee. Most likely, the staffer has several shirts or outfits, so one can be laundered while another one is being worn.

If the company is interested in recycling a uniform from a departed employee, a logoed patch can be removed and adhered to another garment with the use of heat strips. These are made by putting polyurethane adhesive on a carrier sheet that is precut into stock sizes. Simply insert the heat strip between the old emblem and the shirt, heat seal it, and the bond will be as strong and as durable as the original.

The final option is to have employee names directly embroidered onto the uniform. This is a viable option if staff tends to be more long term or if they are paying for their own uniform, and new staff will always be getting a brand new shirt.

Randy Carr is the CEO of World Emblem in Hollywood, Fla., a company his father founded in 1993. It is a global supplier of a wide range of emblems and patches with multiple manufacturing facilities in the United States as well as one in Mexico and one in Canada. You can reach Randy Carr at or visit the website at