I was very fortunate to work for a gourmet restaurant during my working holiday. The Hibiscus Tree is a Sichuan restaurant which promotes Sichuan cuisine and Chinese culture in Adelaide City. As a waitress and kitchen hand, my contribution to the team is important because this is a small team – the business manager expects everyone to contribute to the growth of this business. As a result, I can offer my insights into localization and help the restaurant to grow quickly. As for my strengths and weaknesses, I will use my strengths to my advantage and work on my weaknesses during this placement. In this way, I can turn my weaknesses into strengths in the long term.
Firstly, the menu must indicate that the customer can specify how spicy each dish should be. This is a significant localization strategy which will help The Hibiscus Tree to grow its business fast in Adelaide because it will attract more local customers.
Secondly, I will learn more communication skills in an intercultural context. This is an important aspect during this placement as cultural differences play a key role in sales and marketing (Clarke & Chen 2009).
Thirdly, I will observe and learn how an international brand operates in Australia effectively and successfully. This is a good way to use the theories that I have learned in a practical setting. Additionally, a profound understanding of how a hospitality business operates in Australia will help me with my future career.
As an international brand from China, The Hibiscus Tree is a Sichuan restaurant which promotes Chinese culture and Sichuan cuisine in Adelaide. Although this brand is already very successful in China, this franchise is still at its start-up stage in Australia. Hence, a useful marketing strategy (localization) is required.
During a job interview, the interviewee would be well-advised to focus on adding value to the interviewer’s business instead of focusing on what they can get from the employer. This is a very important interview technique. Moreover, the interviewee should do sufficient research on the business before the job interview and prepare high-quality answers to challenging questions in advance.
The candidate has to know their strengths and weaknesses during the placement so that they can further use their strengths and improve their weaknesses when they commence work.
- It’s an educational experience.
While collecting information about the Mission, Vision, Strategy and Values of the organization, I have consulted with Iris Huang, the restaurant’s director (the internal consultant) for her advice.
As a waitress and kitchen hand, my role is paramount in a small team. One of my responsibilities is customer service. Since I have some prior knowledge and skills in this regard, I can cope with difficult customers reasonably well. Meanwhile, my manager has offered proper training. For example, when a customer was complaining, I apologized to them and provided sufficient explanation. What’s more, I gave the customer a voucher so that they would come back and become a return customer. Therefore, the issue was resolved successfully – it eventually became a win-win situation for the restaurant and the customer. Indeed, although technical skills play a key role in every aspect of this business, soft skills such as effective communication is the key to successful customer service. In order to make this Chinese restaurant successful in Australia, localization is important. Vishwanath and Rigby (2006) argue that international brands would be well-advised to localize their offerings in different countries because cultural differences and preferences could determine the success of a business directly. As a result, my manager asked me to update the menu. Now the menu is flexible: the customer can decide how spicy each dish is. I used Canva to design the new menu. Canva is a platform where anyone can effortlessly become a graphic designer online. Clearly, Canva is a useful tool in this scenario.
Batching is a technique that can be applied to my work. According to Ferriss (2016), batching refers to a process which groups similar activities together so as to improve productivity as well as focus. I find this technique very helpful. For instance, when I arrive in the morning, I prepare all ingredients in the kitchen before 11am. In this way, I do not need to worry about this part of my work for at least 6 hours. Thus, I can focus on other tasks in the restaurant.
“A working holiday visa is the best thing in the world because it allows me to have a gourmet trip – I can work in my favorite restaurant and have a good time.”