food,  Lifestyle

Immersion at Cravings Shang-ri La

July to August 2013

“Cravings Restaurant & Bakeshop, a full service restaurant offering a wide array of specialty baked products such as European breads, cakes and pastries, serving continental dishes for casual dining, take-out, banquet and catering. For twenty years, Cravings has mastered the dishes that guests craved for and now, menu items have a more defined flavor yet healthier. The presentation of the meal is simple, fresh and irresistible.” – I got this from their site. As soon as I started working as a trainee at Cravings Shang-ri La, I immediately felt the ease and comfort with the working place itself and the people as well. Everyone was nice and courteous. On the other hand, I quite felt sad when I was separated with my friend. We were in the same mall but she was assigned at C2 Classic Cuisine. But I saw this as an opportunity to meet new people and make friends.

On my first day, some of the people I have worked with were not familiar with my school. But as soon as they found out that I am from a Lasallian school, they kept on asking me about the employees’ meal, whether I eat this kind of food or not which I know that they were just kidding around. Based on what they have told me, they heard stories, and some of them even encountered Benildeans whom are difficult to be with and find it hard to adapt in a working place. Not to brag or anything, but I am glad that they liked me and even told me that I know how to interact with different people and to adapt easily in my working environment. I was delighted to know that I was able to change their perception about me and my school. At first, to be honest, I was quite unsure and I don’t feel so confident with this immersion because I see working in the Food and Beverage department as something hard and intimidating. Carrying heavy trays, clearing tables, product knowledge and dealing with hungry guests was all I have in mind. But I told myself that I will overcome my fear and do my best. Surprisingly, not only I was able to apply the skills I’ve learned from our Foodsys subject but I was able to hone them. For example, I am now able to carry trays with drinks, serve food, take order, greet guests and clear the tables. This experience also improved my communicating skills because I have always been timid and shy. But this broke my shell and made me comfortable in interacting with different people, especially with the guests and my co-workers. I was also exposed to unpleasant things which I never imagined myself to be touching or going anywhere near. During my first day, I was asked to stay at the reception area which I found myself really awkward. By just standing there and wait for guests to come in, I don’t really felt at ease. Not until our Account Executive, stayed beside me in the reception area that day. From there, I learned how to greet guests and passersby. Since it was in a mall setting, you really have to get the attention of the passersby and make them dine in your restaurant. Also, standing for eight hours each day was really tough for me during my first few days at work. But during the succeeding days, I don’t mind it anymore since I got used to it.

Moreover, some people try to look what is on your menu, and you have to please them and be able to answer whatever they ask. As much as possible, I render them service the best I could, and avoid to disappoint them. Since we also offer buffet, we have to make sure that the guest knows that they can still order from the menu even though we have the eat all you can promo. Some are having confusions with it, not knowing that they can still order an ala carte meal. You have to give them options which they can choose from.

 Credits to my friends Marla Aquino and Michael Rentoza for these photos!
I love you guys for visiting me ♥

Not only I greet and escort guests but I also take orders. As soon as my duty begins, I start taking down note what we have in the buffet, what our Soups of the day are, and all the 86 and running out items for the day. This is very important to keep in mind because in this way, you could be able to inform the guests which items are not available on that day, and what they can find from your buffet. I also serve the guests some water, drinks and food. I also take the initiative to replenish our buffet meal and salad bar. I organize them and make them look appetizing in the eyes of the guests.

I’m very much thankful to this guest who allowed us to take a photo with them!

Cravings’ cakes ♥

The famous Chocolate Caramel cake!

Double Chocolate cake!

 Cravings’ soup and salad buffet for only P299!

Furthermore, I also work in the back area. Folding tissue papers and organizing the tissue boxes are things which I enjoy doing. I even wipe off the newly washed chinawares and flatwares. I do not usually wait for someone to ask me to do it, I would rather be in the back area doing these things, rather than doing nothing at all in the reception area. What I meant by “doing nothing at all in the reception area” is that there are dull moments in which only a few people passes by in front of our restaurant, especially during deadly hours.

The employees from Cravings are all funny and happy to be with. Regardless of the heavy and tiring work, you would always see them smiling and cracking up jokes. They made me feel welcome and that I am included in their “family.” They are passionate about their jobs and they would always exert their best in every task they do because I would see them always double-checking their work. I also admire how determined are they in their work. They also try to teach and help me in every task that I do. These working attitudes they showed me gave me the motivation to work harder and be passionate about it because without passion, you will never succeed in your chosen career. Our captain waiter, Sir Criz, once told me that he can see how passionate I am in everything I do. The way I greet the guests, the way I fold the tissue papers, either little or big tasks, I do it with passion. Among all the other trainees, I am the only one who go to work six times a week for eight hours each day, and sometimes I overtime. 

With Sir Aries and our Head Chef, chef Garry, also known as “Psy”

 Kuya Ben, Mommy Daisy, and our Captain waiter, Sir Criz!

 With my girls.
Head cashier: Ate Lyn
 Receptionist: Ate Tracy
Events Manager: Jessica

With our Restaurant Manager, Sir Ryan.

 Sir Fox and Chef Dennis

My attitude towards my work was improved. I became more patient since I have encountered irate guests.I am proud to say that despite of those things, still, I was able to do my job well. I also became more motivated with my work since that I have supportive people surrounding me in the restaurant. They helped me develop my skills and taught me new things that I wasn’t able to learn in school. Also, I never take my job as something embarrassing nor tiring because I love what I’m doing and I can say that I am very proud of it. After this memorable experience, somehow I’m thinking that I would want to work already. But honestly, I still prefer working in the hotel. For some reason, I am more comfortable in a hotel setting, rather in a mall. Also, I know that I still have to learn so many things at school before I get into this big world, but well at least I could say that this experience helped me to get motivated and more confident at work. I am very happy that my immersion resulted to something positive. Through this, I felt so excited to work in a hotel or a restaurant already. Now, I’m looking forward to doing my practicum which is going to be next year. I hope that this kind of attitude of mine towards work would continue to improve as I go on in the future.