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12 August 2015

FOUR WEEKS AT SHERATON SHANGHAI HONGKOU: 4 jobs, language barriers and first satisfactions

by Francesca Lesca (Italy), Les Roches Jin Jiang student, F&B Management Trainee at the Sheraton Hongkou Hotel, Shanghai

 

As I started to apply for internships, during my first quarter at Les Roches Jin Jiang, I was looking for four essential features:

  • An internship in Shanghai, because it would have been the logical step to take after 1 year of studies in this city .
  • A position in the Food and Beverage department, because of passion and previous work experience.
  • A Management Trainee position, because I wanted a real challenge and to be able to put in practice all the knowledge acquired at LRJJ.
  • A worldwide renowned hotel chain.

And here I am now as a F&B Management Trainee at the Sheraton Shanghai Hongkou Hotel, a 471-room, recently-built, business hotel not far from the Bund.

 

My first 4 weeks here as a Management Trainee (MT) have been exactly how I expected them to be: exciting, interesting and hands-on.

 

I spent the first two weeks in “Feast”, the main restaurant where breakfast and lunch are served. Here, all of my colleagues and most of the guests themselves are of Chinese nationality and  speak English at the basic level. I have to admit: the first week as a hostess was quite challenging, especially because one of my tasks was to ask guests for their room number. Learning that the number one (yī) can also be pronounced as yào in Chinese was very useful.

During my second week I worked as a waiter. Here, again, I had some issues with understanding when to take plates from Chinese customers, as they usually take more dishes, place them in the center of the table and share them.

The third week, I transferred to the Lobby Lounge, where the pace is completely different when compared with other Food and Beverage venues: fewer guests who rather enjoy beverages instead of meals, or just enjoy afternoon tea.

 

I had the chance to discover more about the Chinese art of making tea: how different types of tea are prepared and served.

 

Last week I joined the Sheraton Executive Club on the 37th floor. Working during breakfast and happy hour time there means meeting guests twice a day and starting to know them and their tastes: who likes watermelon juice, who wants cinnamon on the cappuccino, and who prefers to have some extra spicy sauce for the omelette.

This kind of relationship with the guests has been reflected a few days ago in a very kind and appreciated “Thank you letter” addressed to me and the assistant Front Office Manager, a letter that was shared with all associates by HR department, leading to compliments from all in my department.

Such an intense beginning! What will be next? Follow me and my next posts from my internship in Shanghai!