Internship Report – March – August, 2016
This report is an internship report that discusses the elements of my internship at the Oriental Garden AS, Norway. This is a Chinese restaurant in a major European city where there is a crosscut of cultures and identities of consumers. This report will focus on the theoretical knowledge acquired and the effectiveness of the training that was undertaken. This report will also present aspects of my reflective log and provide a conclusion on the overall impact of the internship on my personal abilities, and knowledge.
The internship was done in Oriental Gardens, Oslo. It is an upmarket Chinese restaurant that provides a wide array of Chinese cuisine for the general public. The restaurant has two branches in affluent parts of the Norwegian capital. One is located in Grensen which is a rich residential area and another in Majorstuen which is an equally rich and upmarket neighbourhood. The facilities have some of the most modern furniture, cutlery and fittings. It offers oriental cuisine and focuses on presenting the meals and products in a European context targeting the mainly European clientele and other minorities including Asians. However, it is suited for executive meals for top-level members of the society.
The clientele are usually wealthy Asians and minorities. However, the vast majority are middle—class to top-level European and native Norwegian clients. The facilities are linked to major attractions which make it opened to tourists and other foreign nationals who visit Norway for holidays and business travels.
The demand is high during the conventional summer months when there are many clients visiting the restaurant. This includes holidaying visitors. However, outside the summer months, there are peak-periods where consumers visit to eat. This is during lunch (11am to 3pm) and during dinner (7pm to 11pm).
Oriental Gardens is a family-owned business. The management are Asians and they have a long tradition of running restaurants of this nature. There is an employment of qualified chefs from the Asian community who understand unique elements of meals of oriental origins. There are also European chefs and other cooks who deliver services. Most of the waiting staff members are either European (Norwegian) or Asian. The management is based on virtue ethics that mark Asian business ideologies. Everyone is committed to his role and people just wait with devotion for their activities to be demanded. Rarely, bells are used to alert people who forget their obligations.
Oriental Gardens offers an upscale form of dining. Most oriental restaurants are focused on casual dining and targets the working class who need to grab something to eat quickly. However, Oriental Gardens, Oslo is a fine dining restaurant that combines Asian cuisine with Eurocentric serving methods and processes.
Fine dining is a meal course oriented service provided by restaurants and it is based on a ceremonial meal for a couple or group or individual who eats at the restaurant. Oriental Gardens typically serves a four-course meal that targets people from the corporate world and high-end families and other consumers who come to the restaurant.
The Servicescape is a concept about the kind of physical environment that comes at the point where a service is exchanged. Fine dining is done through a décor system that have high-quality luxury items and products that are expensive. They create a Servicescape that is of a high quality that adds up to the consumer’s experience and make it memorable and worth an extra price. Oriental Gardens provides expensive and high quality furniture that make the guests relax and have a positive feel. This is accompanied by a good smell infused with a mixture of Eastern and European aromas that make the experience unique. The air conditioning system is something that make the restaurant smell extremely good. There is always relaxing music either from Asian or other world-class classical or popular performance. This is soothing and relaxing.
An aspect of the décor is that it is eye-catching and there is a colour-harmony that is of a high quality. The leather of the chairs are brownish coffee-coloured. And the fittings on the wall are of a similar colour which blends. The window panels are of a lighter brown colour and the wall paintings cream coloured. There are white pictures on the wall and the lightening is strong enough. Due to this, pictures taken indoors are of a high quality and make the experience memorable and likely to be posted on the Internet or Social media, thereby promoting the restaurant to the outside world.
The waiters are well trained to understand and appreciate the aspects of fine dining. They have detailed education, experience and understand the ethics of waiting. They have an eye for indicators that a guest needs the next course of his or her meal and then provide it quickly and in a timely fashion. They serve with a sense of duty-orientation. They always stay sensitive to the clients and provide them with their needs and expectations.
The dress code of the waiters varies according to the event and time. This enables them to appear smart and always give consumers a different feeling at different times. Waiters also have some Asian ethics, like willingly bowing to show that they are at the service of the clients.
As a fine-dining restaurant, Oriental Gardens is viewed as a unique and distinct entity that operates within a market as a one-off entity. Other entities and organisations in the field do not appear to be of the same category. This adds up to their brand value and reputation and gets them to be efficient and effective.
The food portions that are presented to consumers are appealing. There is aesthetics and an emphasis on the cutting and the styling of meals that are presented. This is designed to create a visual impression on the consumer and make the consumer appreciate the kind of service that is being offered. This makes each experience memorable and promotes better relations and connections with the client.
Consumers are expected to have a basic understanding of Asian and European etiquette. Most consumers might not meet those standards, but they are accommodated through polite standards and expectations. In spite of this, most consumers are of the right attitude and standard. This helps to make the restaurant retain its appeal and reputation.
Effectiveness of Training
The training was a 5-month internship. It required 40 hours a week and this include a commitment to adhere to company policies and regulations. The agreement covered the need to work like a normal person, but gain guidance from the internship supervisor Ms. Sandy. She gave me an orientation in the first week. This include an insight into the rules and regulations that are applied in the restaurant. They are normal rules, but the observation was that there were numerous traditional values and ethics relating to respect and honour that was taken seriously by the restaurant and its management.
My role was always to change within the 5-month period. And this included a need to do things in various capacities and processes. Therefore, I had Ms Sandy training me and telling what was new and how things were done when circumstances changed. This helped me to get a clear view of the obligations I had at any point in time. The guidance was important because it clarified things and made life easier and meaningful.
Most of my activities involved dealing with guests. The main duty I had was to anticipate and understand guests’ needs. I was told from the onset that the most important thing is to know and understand what a client is feeling and what a client needs. It appears that in running a specialised restaurant like Oriental Gardens, there is the need to understand customer expectation and meet it and where necessary, exceed those expectations. Therefore, most of my training in the first month was to learn how to understand and appreciate customers’ orders.
There is something I learnt which is about consumer evaluation and assessment. This way, one has to be smart in enough to anticipate and understand what consumers are most likely to need. This is done by looking at some of the most minute details of the clients – like name and information and how the information is presented. This is done by trying to figure out the kind of person a consumer is and then follow up with the right kind of service delivery.
I also learnt that consumers’ information in the database is important. Consumers must be understood and their history must be taken seriously. This is because a restaurant like Oriental Gardens is meant to be based on previous customers. Such customers are easier to retain and they are always good agents for attracting new clients. Therefore, it is necessary to keep their records and in my internship, I learnt how to review such clients, evaluate their history and profile them and predict what they would want. Most of the clients are also companies and other entities. Therefore, the relationship and bond is something the company invests heavily in and I learnt in the internship that such persons are important and such relationships must be preserved religiously.
Thus, when an order is taken, there is the need for all the relevant parties – chefs, waiters and others to be ready just to serve them before they arrive at the restaurant. And it is necessary for effective work to be arranged so that the four courses are delivered within timely intervals when the client shows up to take the order.
There were times I had discussions and interactions with other senior managers who taught me important things about the restaurant industry. This includes discussions about finance and other areas and aspects that were really beneficial and provided me with insights and information that was outside the scope of things I learnt.
The internship came up with various challenges and opportunities that enabled me to learn and appreciate things. There were numerous things that were new to me and this helped me to come up with various processes and procedures that allowed me to understand the world of hospitality businesses and how they work.
Understanding Chinese Cuisine: I had only a few theoretical knowledge about some specialized Chinese cuisine. However, Oriental Gardens had Shenzhen and Cantonese cuisine which is quite different from Chinese meals and how they are served in the fine dining context. So I had to spend time reading about these meals and then gain insights from Ms Sandy who helped me to understand and appreciate theme and how they are served.
Differentiating Orders: The consumers were of many different backgrounds and it was confusing at first. In the first three weeks, I was mixing orders and I had to get Ms Sandy supervise the things I was doing to avoid making errors that were significant. However, after the first month, I could make clear differentiations and deal with orders and sort them.
Anticipating Client Expectations: In the second month, I was assumed to be able to take orders as and how it came up online and deal with it quickly in order to dispatch instructions on how the staff members must act. This was difficult and I had to get guidance and confess to ask for help. It took a longer time, but I mastered the art of anticipating what consumers want and predicting the steps and expectations of clients in order to meet their uttermost expectations.
Communication with clients: The Norwegian client often came up with their local language. Throughout the internship, I had to be able to switch through several languages at every point in time. This is because they were of various backgrounds. Switching to Chinese, French, English, Norwegian and other languages was always difficult. However, at the end of the internship, I realized that the vocabulary used in all context was often straightforward and it is possible to master many different dialects and understand ways of communicating with clients.
Food and Beverage Sorting: This was a challenge that always came up difficult throughout the internship. I had to find the right kind of wine when clients were not specific. It took me time to understand how consumers could be pleased in terms of the wine they were given.
I have had an internship as a port-man at the Ritz Carlton in Shanghai. That gave me the desire to further my education and qualification in the hospitality industry. Eventually, I ended up in this course. Ultimately, when I graduate, I want to become a manager in Ritz Carlton.
This internship gave me a role in a Chinese establishment operating in Europe. It made me understand how Chinese culture could be mixed with other cultures. The system also provided me the ability to learn other languages and methods.
The hotel will need to improve the supervision of clients. The rules are sometimes too lax. Personally, I learnt that I need to also focus on promoting the use of the Internet and coordinating phone calls. This is not something that is common in China. Also, the ability to anticipate consumer needs is something that I will need to improve and take to China to enhance our hospitality industry.
Reid, R. D. & Bojanic, D. C., 2015. Hospitality Marketing Management. 3rd ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.
Rosenbaum, M. & Massiah, C., 2011. An expanded servicescape perspective. Journal of Service Management, 22(4), pp. 471-490.