Let’s start working

Work. That’s why I’m here for. As I mentioned in a blog before, it is part of the second semester to do a 6-months internship in a luxury hotel. It is our choice in which department we want to work. If F&B, Guest Relation or Culinary Arts, we can apply for the department we are most interested in. I chose F&B. First of all, I have already the most experience in working in a restaurant. We learned a lot in Glion and I’ve worked in a restaurant in Germany, before I started to study. Therefore, I am definitely more confident in working in F&B than I would be at the Reception or somewhere else. Furthermore, it is even harder to work at the Front Office when you don’t speak the language, which is spoken in the country. That’s is in my case a big factor.

Furthermore, I am always super interested in the food. I thought about working in the kitchen as well. Because we are studying to become a manager and not a waitress or a cook, the main goal is to see how the hotel system works, how to deal with guest complains, etc. At the end you get definitely a better overview over the hotel’s system when working in service, instead of in kitchen. Moreover, you are in contact with the guests, which makes the work every day a bit different and more exciting.

The Ritz Carlton Kyoto has 4 different food outlets. Mizuki, which is the Japanese restaurant, the Lobby Lounge, where you can enjoy casual breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, as well as dinner, La Locanda, the Italian restaurant and The Pierre Hérme Pastry shop. Of course, In Room dining is a big part in such a hotel as well. I definitely wanted to work in either Mizuki or La Locanda. Because one expectation in a Japanese restaurant is to speak Japanese, La Locanda is much more appropriate for me to work in. I understand, that when someone is going to a fine dining Japanese restaurant, that you don’t want to have an European waitress. It would be definitely more interesting for me, to learn more about the Japanese cuisine, but well…

I have definitely more knowledge about the Italian cuisine, which is an advantage. La Locanda is definitely more a fine dining restaurant than a typical Italian restaurant we know from Europe. There is no Pizza, Spaghetti Carbonara, Caprese or Vitello Tonato. Most of the guests come here to enjoy a 6-9 course menu. It is an Italian inspired cuisine with often local Japanese products, which makes the food kind of unique.

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I started working at 10:30am. Most of the interns started already at 6am for the breakfast and lunch shift. I am working for the lunch and dinner shift. I am not sure yet if its good or bad. You just need to take it how it is anyway.

When I arrived, the laundry-lady gave me a tie, which I have to wear. I was just like.. WTF? Excuse me? It was already ridiculous that we needed to wear the boy’s uniform, but now we have to wear a tie as well? Thank you! How am I supposed to know how to make a tie? I’ve never wore one and actually, I never thought I would. It was so funny. Of course, no girl knew how to make a tie. Therefore, the manager made them for us. I don’t know if that was a good first impression, but well. What should we do?

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I was wondering how strict the manager would be with us, how many expectations they would have and if the whole structure would work the same as at the fine dining restaurant, Le Bellevue, at Glion. For the first day we were working at the Back Office. That means we were mostly carrying out the food and cleaning up the plates from the table. We didn’t get the chance to serve the food or to be in contact with the customers. But for the first day it was fine. We were more the connection between the kitchen and the service, which was good to get a first impression how everything works. But I had the feeling to know already everything after a few hours. I just hope that there is more to learn and that we will get more responsibility after a while. But I am sure we will!

Around 3pm we got another tour through the hotel. It is super confusion. Everything looks the same. We will need a while until we will have a good orientation. Afterwards Nelly, the other intern I am working with, and me got our lunch/dinner break. The food here is… okay. I just see myself eating everyday rice, miso soup and probably fish. But that’s how they eat here, I guess.

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At 5pm the dinner shift started. Before the guests are coming, we always have a little meeting. Just bad, that the meeting is in Japanese. It was super weird, just to stand there and pretend to follow the conversation, they all have. But many employees don’t speak English or just not super good. Bad for us! It is often hard to understand what they want us to do. When they explain something, we just have to guess what it actually means. But I think we will be fine. Hopefully!

I don’t know if I said it in a blog before, but at The Ritz Carlton Kyoto many guests are Japanese. In average around 40%. That makes it even harder to communicate with our customers. The high season, around Sakura, is going to start at the end of March/ beginning of April. We will have definitely more responsibility and a better opportunity to show what we can when we have more international guests coming. I think the other employees will be happy to have us. Because there English is not that good, they are much shyer and unsure when communicating with international guests. That’s going to be easier for us to help.

The day of work was long. Around 9:30pm we were done for today. The atmosphere was surprisingly relaxed, our colleges very nice and the system similar to how we learned it at school. Nevertheless, it was definitely an exhausting and long work day for us. The trays are heavy, you are non-stop under pressure, you are on your feet the whole day, need to be friendly to everyone and smile no matter how you feel right now. I can feel already that it’s going to be tough! 6 months of work, and we are already exhausted after one day. Good luck!

Because we were so many interns at the lunch shift, we have to come the following days at 1pm. That means also that we have to stay longer, but I think it is better for all of us. Overall, I felt pretty comfortable today. They are all very nice and treat us as a real part of the team. But let’s see what the next days will bring!

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