Rules Culver's Employees Have To Follow

Culver's, a fast food staple of the Midwest, has a few lesser-known weird rules that employees have to follow, ranging from ultra-specific nametag placement to Culver's branded greetings for guests. The fast growing restaurant chain prides itself on the quality of its hospitality, with its website claiming "It's our pleasure to serve you –- and we do it with a smile."

Since the Culver's True Blue Crew is known for their welcoming attitudes and above and beyond service, it makes sense that there would be some structure behind the scenes to create the best possible environment for guests. While this all seems positive, the company has a fairly middle-of-the-road 3.5 star rating as an employer on Indeed, with decidedly mixed reviews. Some reviews on the job website Comparably are very positive: "Ever since I started working there I've met the best and funniest people. I considered my blue crew my second family" while other are harsher: "They need to get better at treating their employees as kindly as they treat customers." In general, the rules reported by employees seem to be centered around maintaining a clean, uniform appearance in the restaurant and interacting positively with guests.

Culver's employees reportedly recieve inadequate breaks at some locations

There have been a few complaints online about the frequency and duration of breaks given to Culver's employees. While the requirements to provide breaks for hourly employees vary by state — it seems that people are generally unsatisfied with the breaks given and some of the restrictions placed on those breaks.

One teenage employee described working a 7-hour shift with no official break, and not being allowed to sit down for brief water breaks. Another previous employee on Reddit reported being chastised for taking a lunch break during a 7-hour shift and described the official Culver's policy they had access to as stating: "There may be occasions where a break cannot be granted if the break would adversely affect the level of guest service."

These restrictive rules likely vary across different locations and management styles, though the issue of very short or infrequent breaks is a recurring complaint across other negative reviews by front-of-house employees. Ultimately, this may be an effort to maintain the focused and attentive team that Culver's is known for, but the effect is a weird rule that seems to have left an understandably negative impression on the employees.

Culver's franchise owners must undergo very specific training in Wisconsin

Given the huge success of Culver's within the realm of fast food and its current push to develop in new locations, there is a great deal of appeal for prospective franchise owners. However, gaining ownership of one of these restaurants is not as simple as just investing in a Culver's and reaping the benefit. Would-be owners are actually expected to complete a series of assessments and lengthy training procedures before they can be considered for taking ownership of a franchise location.

First up in this process, the prospective owner must be graded on their performance in each of the different roles within a Culver's restaurant. If this goes well, only then will the applicant be invited to begin a four-month long training program in Sauk City, Wisconsin, near the site of the first Culver's location.

Once someone successfully becomes a franchisee, Culver's emphasizes that they are expected to work within the location full-time as a hands-on owner and operator. This position and the training program required are certainly involved, but the payoff is a profit of 4% of the gross sales of your location each year.

Culver's employees are encouraged to say my pleasure instead of you're welcome

Similarly to the manners encouraged in Chick-fil-A employees, though perhaps not as rigidly required, there are reports of Culver's employees being encouraged to use very specific welcome and goodbye greetings. Just like Chick-fil-A, past and current Culver's employees have reported being instructed to replace "you're welcome" with "my pleasure."While unconfirmed, this policy likely has similar roots to the Chick-fil-A approach, which originated when the founder of the franchise (S. Truett Cathy) stayed with the Ritz-Carlton and found the staff's impeccably mannered responses of "my pleasure" to greatly elevate his experience.

Culver's places such an emphasis on hospitality that this kind of elevation of service is on brand. Other Culver's employees have also apparently been told to greet guests by specifically saying: "Welcome to Culver's" instead of other non-branded welcoming phrases. There is a strong possibility that this phrase stems from Culver's trademarked motto: "Welcome to delicious."

Culver's employees are not allowed nail polish of any color

While it is commonplace for restaurants to ban fake nails around food preparation due to the risk of them falling off or becoming a sanitary issue, Culver's also does not allow its staff members to wear nail polish of any color. The rule banning nail polish is said to prevent a hampering of workflow, according to the Indeed page on Culver's uniform guidance. 

While this may seem like an odd restriction on self-expression, it is actually in line with guidance from the official FDA Food Code which discourages wearing either artificial nails or nail polish in any food preparation process. This is due to the potential risk of the varnish chipping off and contaminating exposed food and is also further discouraged by individual restaurants due to their desire to maintain a uniform appearance amongst staff members.

This rule has been critiqued in the restaurant industry as a stifling of creativity, and people have highlighted the simple solution of wearing gloves over polished fingers during any food handling.

Name tags of Culver's employees must always be on the left side of the apron

If you have ever graced the threshold of a Culver's, you may have noticed that the True Blue Crew team members all wear their name tags displayed on the left-hand strap of their aprons. This is probably not a coincidence and is actually in line with recommendations for optimal name tag placement, which suggest that the name should appear on the left side of the body so it can easily be viewed during a typical right-handed handshake. 

There is no specific justification given for this placement by Culver's, but it seems likely that it is in place in order to be highly visible and to encourage consistency across the team members' appearances throughout each of the Culver's locations. This name tag placement is also used in other franchises, including Starbucks.

The name tag itself in fast food service roles is intended to encourage a more familiar atmosphere, by letting the guests identify who is serving them and presumably presenting an opportunity for individual feedback. However, this "forced familiarity" may actually be a source of annoyance according to the common complaints of fast food employees.

Culver's uniforms specify that socks should not be visible

Another oddly specific uniform rule provided by the Culver's guidelines is that while team members' pants should be hemmed to be of an appropriate length, they should also be long enough to meet the sole of the employees' shoes such that socks are not at all visible beneath the hem. This is again most likely an attempt to maintain a professional and consistent appearance across all team members, but no more specific explanation is given in the handbook.

Interestingly, in line with some of the other uniform guidelines, it is apparently up to the owners of individual locations to regulate the kinds of socks allowed in their employees' uniforms. Reportedly, some locations have allowed for more creative sock choices to allow the team to express their individuality while still rocking the iconic royal blue Culver's uniforms.

In general, past and current employees seem to agree that black socks were required by their managers, so it follows that the required black pants should conceal any sock regardless of any variations allowed in sock style choices.

Tattoos, piercings and dyed hair are allowed to vary by Culver's location

Other options for employees' creative self-expression that seem to be allowed by some Culver's locations include body modifications such as tattoos and piercings, as well as unnaturally colored hair. The actual restrictions placed on these aspects of the team's appearance are again variable across the franchise, and it is stated in the handbook that these decisions are at the discretion of individual owners and management teams.

These rules are in place given that the Culver's uniform guidelines aim to encourage professionalism and a clean, welcoming atmosphere according to the handbook. It may therefore seem nontraditional to allow for tattoos or piercings in front-of-house workers, but while this may once have been more unusual, permitting visible tattoos in the workplace is becoming more common across industries. In fact, this policy is in line with other fast food franchises that have an open tattoo policy, such as McDonald's which only bans tattoos that may be considered offensive.

Belt's are required by all Culver's team members

In addition to the mandated blue Culver's branded shirt and black work pants, employees are all required to wear a black belt during their shifts. There is no written justification for this rule, but we can safely assume it's to encourage a more professional, polished appearance. This is in keeping with the overall aesthetic of the uniform, as some locations put their team in more traditional office-style outfits, including full button-down shirts and ties.

However, others allow front-of-house employees to wear simpler collared polo shirts instead. It's probable that the uniform will continue to evolve and change with the times, similar to how McDonald's uniforms have changed over the years.

It appears that generally, the black pants, black non-slip shoes, and belts are not required to be provided by Culver's, though this again may vary by location. Regardless of their provision, the belts are required to be worn for every shift, with some reports of strict management sending employees home for deviating from this rule.

Hats are required as part of the uniform at Culver's

The final eyebrow-raising rule that Culver's employees must follow is the requirement set out for all employees to wear one of the approved Culver's branded hats during their shift. As with the aprons and the mandated shirts, the classic Culver's blue also makes a strong statement in the form of its employees' headgear.

While Culver's requires their employees to wear one of the provided hats while on shift, either the visor or the beanie models are acceptable depending on the role one serves in the restaurant. This is likely a protective sanitary measure similar to requiring hair to be worn up, but it also serves the purpose of additional consistency across employees' appearances. 

Interestingly, there appears to be no explicit requirement for employees to wear hair nets, as the headgear is preferred for restraining the hair appropriately. Among the other regulations that vary across the franchises' locations, Culver's also leaves the length of facial hair allowed to be determined by specific owners and management teams. Beard nets are again optional, depending on the location, but it seems to be consistently required that beards should be kept trimmed and short.