One of the most unique parts of the Post Graduate Diploma course is its emphasis on craft based learning (CBL) through experience. The Post Graduate Diploma course grooms students to become managers, and part of becoming a successful manager is to be able to understand the tasks required from staff, bottom-up. By having a bottom-up approach, managers can empathize with their staff as well as eventually improving the level of service. Our service in practical duty showed us the importance of details in the field of hospitality.
We had 4 days of working a straight 8 hour shifts at the Marketplace, the school’s buffet restaurant, as waiters and waitresses. Our group of 16 Post Graduate Diploma students had to learn teamwork, dedication and have a can-do attitude consistently. More importantly, we had to exercise our memory! On day 1 itself we started serving students lunch and were expected to remember their appetizer or soup orders in order to arrange the correct cutlery. The number of times I would forget the order and ask again was embarrassing. It’s funny how you don’t realize how difficult a job is until you do it yourself. Our initial briefing also forced us to get more than acquainted with a clock. Part of service requires you to know which side of the table to say the menu and which side to serve the food. Each side of the table is looked at as a clock, so the menu is always 6 o’clock and serving is 12 o’clock. Saying the menu and serving food from different parts of the clock definitely made this more challenging!
However, by day 3, things started looking up. I became better at remembering the food orders and I was proud that I could still manage to work after a long day of standing, serving and carrying plates (like a pro!). The instructors gave us as much information as possible in a short amount of time – it was surprising. By the end of the 4th day I knew how to open a wine bottle, fold origami-like napkins and set up a formal eight seating banquet table.
The next time I went into a restaurant I definitely respected my waiter more!