Here at Les Roches, the Market Place is the major Food and Beverage outlet, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner to a large percentage of the students and staff each day. It is a very important part of our training in HOI as service students and HOII as kitchen students. Because it is the largest and busiest of the outlets, there is an element of pressure and working quickly and efficiently is very important.
We spent two weeks working in Market Place, one week on breakfast/ lunch shift and the other on lunch/ dinner shift including a class on Service Concepts. Each day we were allocated a section and a number of tables in each section. Each morning we set the tables for lunch with special napkin folds, after lunch we set for diner and after diner for breakfast. There we had to give a menu explanation, take orders, serve water and clear the plates when the guests were finished.
The goals of our practical training were learning about 6 major points:
- Teamwork– this is important in any group activity and more so when there are a number of tables to be served and the work load is shared.
- Guest interaction– you have to make small conversation with the guest that you are serving and begin to get to know them so that the next point becomes easier.
- Anticipation– this is where you pre-empt the guests wishes and act before they have to ask.
- Observation– you have to be aware of all you tables and their needs and also see where you teammates need help.
- Communication– is developed and is a necessity with you team mates, teachers and of course the guests.
- Organization– in a pressurized situation it is necessary to be well organised. A trick we learned was never make a trip to a table or back to the side board empty handed, always pick up a plate here or there and bring a water jug to top glasses up.
In service concepts we learn a range of things from using kitchen equipment, cutlery and plates to flower arranging. Each day we had a different topic to cover and we managed to fit a whole lot into two weeks.