LEYE's Big Bowl switches to green uniforms

CHICAGO Big Bowl, the eight-unit casual Asian chain owned by Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, said it is switching to "eco-friendly" server uniforms made in part from bamboo.

The uniforms cost four times more than conventional clothing for waiters and waitresses, but the switch fits the chain's efforts to be more "earth-friendly," according to president Dan McGowan. He noted that the chain already uses heirloom pork, naturally raised chickens from small farms, sustainable seafood, bags and other paper goods recycled from other materials, and fair-trade coffee.

The new uniforms will be worn by all servers, Big Bowl indicated in a statement. Thirty percent of the fabric is silk, and the rest is made from bamboo fibers, the release indicated.

Big Bowl said it generates about $30 million in sales annually from its restaurants, which operate here, in Minneapolis and in Washington, D.C. Lettuce Entertain You bought back the system from casual-dining giant Brinker International some 18 months ago.

Lettuce Entertain You, based here, operates 30 restaurants in total, ranging from a Magic Pan Crepe Stand to the fine-dining Everest.