During my working holiday in Australia, I worked for an international restaurant that I absolutely adore.
- The wisdom of a holiday:
I asked the restaurant director how to keep more repeat customers. Iris’s advice is to make sure that the food is scrumptious, i.e., the combination of salt and sugar has to be right. This needs to be tested very accurately in the kitchen. In addition, customers will never forget how staff members in the restaurant make them feel; hence, outstanding customer service is expected at all times. Last but not least, the environment in the restaurant must be elegant and clean because many customers are actually paying for the environment as well; as a result, ensuring the restaurant’s cleanliness is of vital importance.
Furthermore, I asked her how to find more customers on the Internet. Her suggestion is to optimize the online presence of this restaurant through Search Engine Optimization. Firstly, the restaurant’s website must include relevant keywords. Secondly, the restaurant has claimed its business on Google My Business, and now the restaurant needs to ask happy customers to write more positive reviews on Google.
Since the last report, I have learned a variety of things about the organization. First of all, word of mouth is a paramount marketing method, e.g., many happy customers are recommending The Hibiscus Tree to other people on Adelaide BBS, an online forum for Chinese people in Adelaide. Secondly, the restaurant’s location was carefully chosen because it is near Chinatown where a large number of potential customers frequent.
In the first place, after studying the Competing Values Approach, I have realized that I am an innovator as I am good at living with change, thinking creatively and managing change (Quinn et al. 2007). In terms of my managerial skills, I am a producer because I am good at working productively, fostering a productive work environment and managing time and stress effectively (Quinn et al. 2007).
The main challenge that I have faced is communicating effectively with local customers who are English speakers. Although my English is reasonably good, I find it slightly challenging when I try to build rapport with Australian customers.
My future plans include improving my English-speaking skills and general communication skills. I need to have a good understanding of human dynamics and human behavior – this is beneficial for my employability development.
- What my role has taught me:
As a kitchen hand and waitress, my role is to facilitate the work in the kitchen and provide customer service in the restaurant. In the induction, I quickly learned that I also have other responsibilities because this is a small team & I am supposed to contribute to the organization in other ways as well, e.g., I need to come up with marketing strategies and management techniques.
The Mission of the Hibiscus Tree is to become the most successful Sichuan restaurant in Adelaide. The restaurant’s strategies include online marketing and offline marketing (organic word of mouth). Therefore, I have used my existing marketing knowledge and skills to support the restaurant’s Mission. For example, when I was redesigning the menu, I asked the manager to create new items on the menu regularly because introducing variations or new products can keep the customers engaged and interested (Kotler & Keller 2015). Further examination shows that new items and variations trigger dopamine release in the customer’s brain; therefore, this technique has been widely used by successful businesses such as Starbucks, McDonald’s and KFC worldwide. Hence, currently, the management are making plans to implement this strategy in the business.
As an international brand based in Sichuan Province, China, the Vision of the Hibiscus Tree is to promote Sichuan cuisine and Chinese culture worldwide. The Hibiscus Tree in Adelaide is a franchisee; therefore, this restaurant’s messaging has to be on-brand. Arruda (2019) contends that almost everything is marketable as long as it is aligned, i.e., the brand messaging has to be consistent.
The Values of the Hibiscus Tree include quality, satisfaction and authenticity. More exactly, quality refers to the high-quality food, drinks and service; satisfaction is about making customers satisfied through communication and customer service; authenticity means the brand’s image and messaging are authentic and represent Sichuan cuisine and Chinese culture well.
The Mission and the Strategy of the Hibiscus Tree have been relayed to me via the induction. The management make sure that it is carried out by clearly explaining their Mission, Vision and Values to me at the beginning of my placement. Further, I try my best to ensure that my daily tasks and activities at work effectively support the Mission, Vision and Values of the Hibiscus Tree.
“Australia is a multicultural society.”