Made In Chicago: Serve Style

(WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

(WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

CHICAGO (CBS) — Briggs Doherty’s family has run a custom clothing company in Chicago since 1939. And nearly a year ago, he decided to branch out to uniforms.

“My wife and I go out to dinner nearly every night. I notice what the servers are wearing, is it comfortable? That’s my background,” Doherty said. “Restaurants spend a fortune on their restaurant but spend nothing on their people.”

As founder of Serve Style, he said he knew the uniform business was an underserved one. WBBM’s Lisa Fielding reports.

“I saw that there was a very big void in the industry for the service industry,” Doherty said.

Software helps workers print patterns for Serve Style uniforms (WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

Software helps workers print patterns for Serve Style uniforms (WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

Inside the Gil Sewing Corporation, located at 3500 N. Kostner, is where Serve Style uniforms are made -uniforms for restaurant employees, hotel staff and others in the service industry. Throughout the building, one can see sewing, pressing and cutting stations busy producing custom chef’s jackets, bellboy jackets, server shirts and pants.

Doherty said they’ve already designed and made uniforms for Fresh Farms and Drury Lane.

“We made them a particular sport coat and shirt and so on. We also do Drury Lane’s wait staff.”

Daughter, Courtney Wright said when they talk to employees, their biggest requests are comfort and durability.

Courtney Wright, daughter (left) and Briggs Doherty (right) with Serve Style uniform shirt (WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

Courtney Wright, daughter (left) and Briggs Doherty (right) with Serve Style uniform shirt (WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

“They’re only able to get something from a catalog until Serve Style. Not all bodies are the same. Now this way they have something that is a better fabrication that may fit their body and last eight hours while they are on their shift,” said Wright. “If they want to differentiate, they’re doing so much with the design of their restaurants, why not put the money into your people which is their biggest asset.”

(WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

(WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

Doherty said the uniform business is a competitive one, but he said Serve Style’s customized designs makes the company stand out, something he hopes to expand.

His ultimate goal, he said is to make Chicago’s service employees look and feel good while they work.

“There is a big difference between one by one and mass production.” Doherty said. “It’s dressing people to look good.”

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