Internship at the Ritz Carlton, Bangalore

Description:

I am interested in pursuing a career in the hospitality industry, and so I thought it would be a good idea for me to get some experience one summer once I was old enough to work in certain countries, so that I’d gain some exposure and experience, but also some firsthand knowledge about the hospitality industry. I applied for an operational internship at the Ritz Carlton Bangalore, which was also the first Ritz Carlton in India. I worked for five weeks (3 days off) and split my time in Front Office and in F&B (Food & Beverage). It was an unforgettable experience, and the knowledge and experience I gained were very valuable, especially because I had the chance to work with Managers who had considerable talent and experience. I was the youngest employee ever that the hotel had ever had, since internships during high school were extremely rare and unheard of. This meant the majority of my colleagues were 7-30 years older than me and were able to provide me with constructive criticism and advice.

Learning Outcomes:

Awareness of Strengths and Areas for Growth

In Front Office and in F&B, I discovered that one considerable strength I had was the ability to be able to talk and converse with guests very easily. Especially other nationality guests (German, English, Japanese) as I would know a few phrases in their language and usually have at least one friend from their country. Furthermore, I wasn’t nervous about talking to guests, and they were quite open with me, possibly because they could tell I was much younger, which meant sometimes my colleagues urged me to get feedback from guests since I learned to anticipate guest needs well.
Another strength I had was I was able to remember a lot of what was being taught to me, especially in Front Office when I was taught the majority of functions in applications such as Opera and Mystique. I was expected to use these applications within a few days of learning them and malfunctions would have been a disaster, and so I strived to practice multiple times everything I was taught to ensure I would remember it. The amount of information and details I had to learn were at first astonishing to me. By the end of my first three weeks, I had been able to give three tours to guests looking to host events when Guest Services was busy with a Dell conference. I had crammed enough that my supervisors felt confident about allowing me to show guests around.
Some areas for me to grow in which stuck out to me especially were in F&B. At times my lack of physical strength was an obstacle to overcome when I was expected to carry 40-50 heavy plates at once. Going back and forth with 10 plates was what I would have to do sometimes, and this made my work not as efficient as it could have been. I managed to overcome a part of this obstacle by using my right hand to hold the edge of the salvar while balancing it on my left hand so I could hold considerably heavier stuff than before while retaining balance and looking professional. Another obstacle I had to overcome in F&B was efficiency. Being brought up in Japan with a slight Japanese mentality, I’ve grown very used to feeling the need for precision. For instance, it would take me at least 5 minutes longer to fold up 10 napkins (book style) than a colleague because I would be obsessed with fitting the creases just right and making sure the edges were folded perfectly. I would need to instead find a balance between precision and speed when working practical jobs.

Undertaking New Challenges and Working Collaboratively

I pushed a lot of boundaries by working in an environment with only adults, in a working environment I was unfamiliar with. Though the hotel was very much at the standard of a Ritz Carlton Hotel, aside from the guests, I mainly interacted with only Indian staff and admin, and so there was a slight difference in environment that I had to adapt to. Furthermore, I had to learn how to network considerably. As even though it was my parents’ contact that helped me with applying for an internship, it was my responsibility to make the most of my job and network. I did this by researching a lot (on LinkedIn) about the experience and skills of a lot of the Managers and workers at the hotel. It was easier then, for me to talk with them, get their advice, and ask for assistance if I needed to once I knew them better. This in turn became helpful as when I needed recommendation or a SWAT analysis, they knew me well enough to provide constructive feedback. F&B allowed me especially to work collaboratively. While my entire internship consisted of learning and having many colleagues teaching me alongside doing their jobs, the majority of collaboration happened in F&B. For instance, when I was working in events, Aishwarya (a fellow intern just out of university) and I split the work so that she would cover clearing the plates in the left wing, while I would refill coffee in the right wing and polish champagne flutes in the pantry. This was essential in banquets which became very hectic and chaotic once lunch or dinner began, with clearance being essential.

Showing Perseverance and Commitment

I was working during my summer vacation but the job provided me with absolutely no time to slack off. I was treated like an another employee and was expected to work the same amount of time as well. I worked 9 hours a day, though as is the case in the hospitality industry, hours were sometimes unpredictable and I would have to stay an hour or so longer until closing up. Usually I would do the 9 am – 6 pm shift, but in F&B this changed and varied depending on occupancy rate, number or workers, etc. Sometimes I would do the 11 am – 8:30 pm shift if I was working at the Ritz Carlton Bar that particular day. Similarly I would start earlier if I was working at the Club Lounge. I had very few days off (3 days in total) for a period of 5 weeks and this could sometimes be exhausting, especially in the middle of two IB years, however the experience I was gaining, the fun I was having, and the amazing colleagues I met were worth it.

Developing New Skills

It would be impossible for me to come close to listing all the things I learned during my internship. So I shall just list the biggest parts of Front Office and F&B

Front Office
-Learn how to answer/transfer/page a phone call from a guest/employee/third party inquiry
-Opera and Mystique full understanding
-Learning how to place and deliver a wake up call
-Learning to 7 wonders of the Club Lounge
-Understanding the welcoming of a guest and Guest Service amenities
-Understanding the Ritz Carlton three steps of service
-Learning the types of rooms (features, area, introducing, floor numbers)
-Understanding the structure/design/amenities of all the rooms
-Understanding the Rewards Program
-Learning how to deliver/order newspaper
-How to place an order for in room dining
-Welcoming a guest and dealing with a complaint/feedback/suggestion
-Understanding the architectural features of the Ritz Carlton Hotel
-Understanding how to Check in/ Check out a guest
-Understanding room rates, occupancy rate, arrivals for the day
-How to use Go Concierge
-And much more

Food and Beverage Service
-Telephone handling Procedures
-Restaurant Concept and Layout (of all 6 outlets)
-Restaurant Timings and Inquiries
-Menu/Buffet Understanding
-How to handle a guest complaint.feedback/suggestion
-How to set a table cover
-How to pick up restaurant linen
-How to carry plates, flutes, etc
-Preparation for morning and afternoon tea
-How to seat a guest in a restaurant
-How to operate a Coffee machine
-How to serve water, tea, coffee
-How to take an order
-How to serve a pre-plated dish
-How to preform clearance on a guest table
-How to serve wine by glass
-How to make basic bar beverages
-How to confirm guest satisfaction
-Understanding Banquet spaces
-How to setup the banquet space for an event
-How to read a BEO
-How to take an In Room Dining order
-How to setup in Room Dining tray
-How to enter a guest room
-How to explain an order

Below are some photos and letters from my internship:

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