Hello World! This is Kenneth Chan blogging all the way from Hong Kong. For my internship, I am working in InterContinental Hong Kong as a F&B Trainee in the Harbourside Restaurant. At Harbourside, guests can choose either a la carte or buffet options. Most of the guest that comes usually chooses the latter option as our buffer is one of the best in town (Also the most expensive for our dinner buffet). Our lunch and dinner buffet is very popular so bookings are almost always full everyday (Bookings should be made two weeks in advance for the best sittings). This restaurant is called Harbourside because……..it’s beside the harbour!! Jokes aside, actually InterContinental Hong Kong is located at the edge of the Victoria Harbour which separates Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. Harboursidefaces towards the harbour so that’s where it got its name; it has a spectacular view at the harbour and Hong Kong Island.
So, let me show you my day in life as a trainee in Harbourside. I’ll will be using my afternoon shift that starts at 2:00pm and ends at 11:00pm for this blog as it shows lunch and dinner buffet.
Getting to work
One would imagine all the tall buildings and skyscrapers when I mention I live in Hong Kong but it has a fair share of rural places too and that’s where I live. (With my sister and her two dogs, the only reason she is living so far out from the city center) I live pretty far from hotel and usually take me about 1.5 hours to get to work so I would leave my house around 12 in the afternoon. To get to the hotel, I would need to take a bus to the Light Rail station. From there it would take me to the MTR(Mass Transit Railway) station which would take me all the way a station very close to my hotel.
Before I go on, I should really talk about some of the positions that I have been trained.
There are five positions that I have been trained in at the restaurant and they are Front Server, Back of House, Hostess, Bartender and Manager.
Front Servers – Take food and drinks orders, serve food and drinks, make drinks (ex: Ice Lemon Tea, Hot Cappuccino), Collect empty plates for buffet guests, clear tables, place table settings
Back of House – Buffet table setup and maintenance during meal periods, Checking stocks, picking up linens
Reception Hostess – Lead guests to assigned tables, replying guest inquiry, answering phone calls
Bartender – bar operation, cocktail mixing, wine cellar control, checking inventory.
Manager – Supervising staffs, checking buffet tables, handling guest comments and complains, prepare the daily F&B log
When I start my work at 2:00pm, the lunch buffet would almost be finish as it ends at 2:30pm so the first thing I do is to check which section of the restaurant I have been assigned to and go to help out at that section. My position at this time is a front server and I would clear empty plates off tables and take and make drink orders. Speed is everything in every Hong Kong job so everyone is in a rush at this time (even the guests) when guests starts to order their complementary drinks that comes with the buffet. Once the guests start to leave, I would start clearing tables and put dinner table settings down for the night buffet bookings.
By 3:30pm, most guests would be gone except the chatty people who can chat for hours and new guest would arrive for our afternoon tea set. Since there is significantly less guest during this time, I would use this time to fill up my section (Cups, plates, utensils and towel) and check to see if the table settings are in the correct order.
Today is a little special because there is a wine tasting class at 4:00pm. This class is provided by InterContinental to give the employees knowledge about the upcoming promotion wines.
Around 5:00pm, it’s lunch/dinner time! The staff canteen “Chopsticks” is very close to the restaurant so it is very convenient for me and my colleagues. Sometimes I might see fellow classmate Vicky Chan and RRU Alumni Sara Ngai eating as well but I only see them mostly during my morning shifts.
My break ends an hour later at 6:00pm which is just before start of the dinner buffet at 6:30. At this time, I will help out the reception hostess and lead guests to their assigned table. Once most guests have arrived, which would be around 7:00, I will go back to my assigned section to help out. As I help emptying plates of guests’ table, I will also need to check up on other servers as well as the buffet table to see if everything is in order. This is part of what being a manager is about and also the role I am training today.
At 8:00pm, most guests attention will be directed towards the outside view as it is the time for the “A Symphony of Lights” which is the World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show. Other notable scenery include various boat tours with some awesome looking sail boats
Around 8:00 to 9:00, as people start to settle in and had a few plates of food in their stomach, I will check up on the guests to see if they enjoy their meal and if there are any problems. As 10:00 approaches and the dinner buffet ends, it is time for me to start clearing tables, put down morning table settings and help with closing the buffet.
At 11:00pm, my day is finally over but not everyone else as the restaurant is still open until 12:30pm. I sign out, get changed and make my way home.
Going home is a bit faster at night as there are fewer people (although it is still much more than Victoria in day time) so I get would get home around 12:30pm. After the daily hygiene activities, email checking and some internet surfing. I finally get on the bed around 2:00pm and get some much-needed sleep.
Life as an InterContinental Hong Kong Trainee
There are many other trainees at InterContinental Hong Kong from many schools throughout the world with me and Vicky being the representatives from Canada. We have many activities together which includes our monthly meeting, the trainees outing and volunteer activities. Check out some of the pictures below. Alternatively, go read Vicky’s blog for more pictures