Final Internship Reflection- 1 Hotel South Beach

My internship experience at 1 Hotel South Beach was an incredibly memorable one. I am forever grateful I was able to intern there for the summer. During my time at the hotel, I met some really influential people who have shaped the way I view the hospitality industry and the food and beverage industry. The people I worked with constantly challenged me to do better and improve on my skills. Something that some of my leaders would do that I found really helpful was they would ask me what I believed we needed for an event or for anything else. At first it was kind of weird and sounded like they were babying me saying, “so what do you think we should do now? Do you think this is all we’ll need for this event?” etc. However, I realized that it was a lot better than them just telling me list by list what we needed for an event set up because it challenged me to think hard about all the details that go into an event. This method of teaching that my leaders would use on me was a very effective leadership style that I want to carry on and use if I am ever in a position where I was training someone below me. 

Before coming to 1 Hotel SB, I did not know much about putting on events at restaurants or hotels in general. My co-workers who worked in the event planning/managing side helped teach me all about event outlet orders, which is the critical piece to putting on a successful event. Going into my internship, and what I wrote about in my personal contribution paper, I was really excited about helping out with events in all aspects. Working on the food and beverage side of the hotel, I was able to experience and help curate events at our restaurants. Putting on events at the restaurants was different from working in banquets and doing events for them. One thing I wish was different during my internship was that I wanted to gain experience in the banquets field. I never got to help with banquet events which is one flaw from my internship experience. Even though I know that I wouldn’t like banquet events, because of the way they are so structured with not much room for creativity, I feel like I needed experience with them. Coming into my internship, I had a completely different idea of what food and beverage events would be like. I actually thought they would be more like what was produced in the banquet department, like weddings and bigger stuff. However, my supervisor and I just did lunches and dinners for the rooftop restaurant. 

The process started with a client reaching out to us either through email, leaving a message at the host stand at the rooftop, or a referral would come through to us through another co-worker in another field perhaps. After we received this request, we would do a follow-up with the client. This was called following up on a lead and there was a specific format that had to be followed. Most people wouldn’t send that much information about their desired event so we would start off by sending them this specific template we had saved that would ask about date, time, number of people, av needs, and then we would send them our group menus and beverage packages for them to choose from. After following up with a lead, I learned how to continue to contact/follow up with a client. Once a client chose a menu and beverage package, I would create an event outlet order. This was the most important part of putting on an event. This excel form was so important because it was a contract that had to be signed by the client, making them agree to the terms of the event, the price, the cancellation policy, addition/subtraction of guests etc. It was also important because it would be sent to all the people involved in the event, all the chefs and restaurant managers. This partially saved our butts from getting in trouble because if all the managers and chefs had access to the document, then there shouldn’t have been any mistakes in the food or service. Also, this document served the purpose of informing our managers on the set up of the event, the timeline of the event and for the chefs, any food allergies and how much food to make. Along with learning how to create event outlet orders, I learned how to create specific menus based on a client’s selection. While I didn’t do this part much due to the majority of events being on weekends when I didn’t work, I also learned how to set up and manage an event. 

I would use my leadership skills a lot during this because I would get to delegate tasks to the servers and I was able to practice my restaurant management skills a lot. This was my favorite part because it helped me realize how much I preferred the operations side of hospitality over the administrative/office part. That knowledge will now dictate what position I apply for when I reapply in the winter. Part of what I liked so much about my internship was that I was able to explore so many different parts of the food and beverage industry which gave me so many different experiences to put on my resume and allowed me to learn what I liked and didn’t like in the industry. 

Besides showing my personal leadership skills in event management, I was also able to be a leader managing the rooftop restaurant. I took the initiative upon myself to ask our assistant director of food and beverage if I could shadow him for a day. While we were lacking a GM for the rooftop restaurant, he was filling in for that position. When I shadowed him being the manager on duty, I realized how much I liked to be on this side of the restaurant business. I really liked being a manager because it allowed me to combine my leadership skills by delegating tasks for the team to do to improve service and my communication skills by checking in with clients and making sure they are happy with the food and our service. I am a very personable person so I enjoyed reaching out to guests and asking them about not only their experiences at this restaurant but their overall experience at the hotel because even if something went wrong in housekeeping, which isn’t my department, I have the power to reach out to the housekeeping team and relay the issues a guest was having. This relaying of messages to other teams was very helpful to the overall success of our hotel because it made everyone in the hotel accountable for their quality of service. 

I really admired the way my co-workers worked to make sure that at the end of the day, the guest always left satisfied. This isn’t always an easy feat. It would take a lot of extra work from my co-workers sometimes to regain a guest’s trust with the hotel if something had gone wrong. I also admired how hard everyone in the hotel would work to make a guest happy again even if their problems with the hotel had nothing to do with that worker’s department. It really highlighted the general feeling of  family that I loved so much about my internship. 

I think that our Critical Thinking class really helped me understand how to approach problems that would come up at work. It also really laid the foundation for how to go about resolving situations and gave me insight on other’s problem solving skills and an understanding of why my co-workers would solve issues certain ways. My Critical Thinking class prepared me to create a mind-map in my head to successfully navigate my way through any obstacles at work. Theories and Models also provided me with knowledge of specific theories of leadership that were applicable to all situations I faced at work. 

For example, something I wrote about in one of my blogs was about transactional versus transformational leadership at the rooftop restaurant. Under old management, the restaurant was a complete mess and the staff basically ran the managers and created their own rules. When they switched to new management, those managers had to get used to the staff thinking they ruled the place so they were using a lot of transactional leadership to get the outcomes they wanted in their staff. The managers would hand the staff a carrot and if they didn’t accept the carrot, they’d face consequences like suspension or termination. The new management team really wanted to pick the best staff and let the worst ones go before they could begin their transformational leadership style. If they had the best staff possible then those people would most likely begin to obey the rules and follow the leaders without having to be handed a reward every time. Eventually, the staff would naturally respect the managers and want to follow the rules just because of their respect for their managers. Had I never taken that course, I wouldn’t have been able to analyze the situation so in depth and realize effective leadership styles. It’s very important in any field of work to understand the most effective ways to lead because good leadership leads to good outcomes in a company overall.