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Destler Dodge

illustration by Andrew Philpott

RIT Dining Services has recently instituted a policy that prevents workers from wearing any type of jewelry that could be harmful to the integrity of the food. For example, workers cannot have any dangling earrings, since they could fall off and land in the food, or wedding rings, since they could puncture the gloves and touch the food, thereby harming it. The policy also has rules peartaining to tattoos that might look unappealing or offensive to customers. This means that any obscene, racist or sexual tattoos must be covered up while working.

Kory Samuels, the executive director of Dining Services, gave some insight on the policy. “It goes more into depth than just uniforms; it dives into the ultimate idea that there is a good customer experience.” Samuels, who advocates for professionalism in the workplace, said: “It’s a higher expectation, for the food quality you put out and the way in which you present yourself.”

Eddie Zamites, a student manager at the RITz said “I feel like we have an image we have to uphold here. You have to be professional.”

Samuels argued that as an organization, especially in a higher education setting, there has to be outstanding customer service in order to be successful and part of this service depends on personal image. “Let’s look at our customer service initiative, first part being how we present ourselves, and how we’re going to continuously improve our services … all that compasses towards customer service.”

First year Film and Animation student Holly McMahon agreed with Samuels about covering up tattoos and compared the rules to similar workplace expectations. However, she had some doubts about the jewelry policy, stating that “The ring aspect doesn’t seem really necessary, because they wear the gloves anyway.”

Zamites explained that tattoos are more of a personal image concern, whereas piercings are more of a food safety concern. “We don’t want people coming back saying that they found earrings in their food: that’s just not professional.” He also specified that if “you have an offensive tattoo you have to cover it up.”

McMahon believed that people should be able to express themselves the way that they feel is right, depending on the situation. “Sometimes with work, you just have to do what they tell you to; within reason, of course. In general, it isn’t something that should make people really outraged.”  

Overall, RIT Dining Services upholds the belief that in order to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction, measures must be taken to secure these goals. As Samuels said, “You need to develop that level of professionalism and build upon those skills for careers and responsibilities later in life.”