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15 November 2016

My time at the Brew

by Riyah Mahbubani, Intern at Kerry Hotel Pudong

Doing an internship at the Kerry, I had no idea what to expect. Considering that the only thing I knew about Kerry was that it was under the Shangri-la and the Shang – as I liked to call it—was one of the strictest brands in China and the industry, all I anticipated was hard work and sweat.

Fast forward to the end of the month and I realized the many cumbersome responsibilities I had to take. Being the only foreigner amongst my team made me carry more weight than the others. First of all, I had to be the face of the Brew.  I had to greet and assist the guest to their seats like a normal hostess. However, running around and taking orders like a regular waitress doesn’t cut it. I have to talk to the guests and create conversation with them as if it was a FnB guest relation. But what really took me by surprise is how emotionally exhausting it was to spend hours on a daily basis, constructing conversations  and spending time making an impression that would provoke them to come back.  Regardless - the positives outweigh the negatives: I manage to make a lot of interesting connections from all walks of life from a Colombian supplier to a female DJ. Also being a waitress can be the easiest job in the world but however, the benefits of this position are not neatly written on paper. In this position, I would think the skills I would garner would be emotional endurance, stamina and being able to control my emotions.  It’s all part of the hospitality package and it’s real life that’s pushing me to learn them at a faster pace.

The Brew is a bar but unlike most, it has craft beers. Nathan Ross, the brewmaster as he’s called, creates interesting and new beers from varieties like the Indian Pale Ale to Vanilla Dugite Stout. What’s interesting about this Brew is that it doesn’t hide the machine that provide the product, in fact, it sits proudily in the middle of the bar, seating around the glass casing.  The area is a mixture of indoor and outdoor. The indoor area are the tent(holds around 80 people), billiard room (20 people) and the bar area (70 people). The outdoor area is the patio area with around 20 tables with chairs each. What makes this floor plan really hard is that I have to constantly run in and run out. However, considering that it is a large restaurant, there is more opportunity for revenue.

Let me give you some insights about my daily working routine: Depending on the weekday, I’m either in the office or doing operation. In the office, I normally help with marketing. That includes uploading promotions to various sites like SmartShanghai or Cityweekend to help promote different festivals or exhibitions that our hotel hosts. But recently, my projects have including creating a competitor sheet for various festivals in competing hotels.  Also, I’m normally given creative projects to do like find unique ways of trying to advertise different festivals. For example, recently, I was asked to take part in a photo shoot to illustrate “Turkey to Go” for Thanksgiving. It included being shot jumping to depict me “running after turkey”. In that sense, a lot of what goes on in an office can be pretty tedious but the bottom line is that it can lead to interesting opportunities.

On the other hand, during operation is using a lot of my physical stamina because depending on where I’m allocated, I have use different skill sets like for example, if I am working in the tent area, its to be expected that I have to take of guests –all at the same time. It takes a lot of patience and learning how to control your emotions so that it doesn’t overwhelm me. I have to make sure I don’t lose face or project my frustration back to the guests, which can be very tempting sometimes when it all comes at you at once. Especially when the guest insists they’re right when in fact, they’re very wrong.  Having to hold ground emotionally is a great asset in this industry especially when learning to deal with difficult employees, co-workers or people in general. Maybe in the beginning of this internship I was a bit too open about how I felt, clearly written on my face, but now just one month into my internship, I find myself assimilating into a more covert and “secretive” person.

To conlcude, this internship proves to be a great working ground for me in order to establish a professional mindset in the hospitality industry.

Stay tuned for more!