I worked for a Sichuan restaurant which is based in Adelaide, Australia. As I had a working holiday visa, that experience was about travel and good food!
A Sichuan restaurant:
The Hibiscus Tree in Adelaide City is supposed to be localized because the business owner would like to use localization as a marketing tool in Adelaide. Indeed, as a Chinese restaurant in Australia, this business may encounter some cultural differences in this environment which might affect its operation and revenue (Clarke & Chen 2009). As a result, offering insights into cultural differences and localization is an important interview technique, as this is about focusing on the interviewer during the job interview (Hoehn 2015). In other words, understanding the main challenges that the interviewer faces and providing valuable solutions could be paramount interview techniques. Furthermore, Sethi (2019) argues that preparing effective answers to difficult interview questions has to be a priority before the job interview.
As an international brand, The Hibiscus Tree was founded in 2011 by a Chinese couple who are based in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, China. Because this business is wildly successful, it started to become a franchisor in 2016. Its goal is to promote Sichuan cuisine worldwide. In July 2017, The Hibiscus Tree in Adelaide City was founded as a franchise. Its address is 23 Field Street, Adelaide, SA 5000. Because The Hibiscus Tree is near Central Market (Chinatown), it is located in a high-traffic area in the city center. Obviously, its convenient location helps the restaurant to attract more customers every day. As a matter of fact, this Chinese restaurant’s target market is international students from China as well as local young people who would like to try different cuisines. Many customers order takeaway from this restaurant as well. The Hibiscus Tree (Adelaide)’s average daily spend is AU$30 per customer (lunch/dinner). Its weekly revenue is approximately AU$10,000. There are 5 staff members in total. The interview is conducted by the restaurant’s director Iris Huang. She is the business manager. I am being interviewed for this position: waitress and kitchen hand.
As The Hibiscus Tree is aligned with my values, on a mission that I genuinely believe in and doing good work that I love, this organization is the right workplace. Before the job interview, it is very important to do an audit of this business (Hoehn 2015). Therefore, extensive and intensive research on The Hibiscus Tree has been conducted before the job interview.
During the job interview, several challenging questions are asked. Since the answers have been prepared beforehand, the job interview goes well.
My expectations are gaining a good understanding of the hospitality industry in Australia (particularly the difference between the hospitality industry in Australia and the hospitality industry in China) as well as using the knowledge and skills that I have learned in a practical environment.
The most challenging aspects of this placement are communicating with very different individuals in English and operating professionally in the kitchen.
My strengths are improving learning and performance, problem solving, application of number, business awareness, flexibility and adaptability as well as creativity and initiative. My weaknesses are communication, working with others, setting and achieving goals, leadership, self-confidence and judgement. These are the findings after completing the self-assessment exercise. I really love travel and good food!
The Hibiscus Tree in Adelaide City is a Sichuan restaurant, a franchise from a Chinese brand. Although it already has many customers who are international students from China, the business owner would like to find more customers who are local young people in Adelaide. Hence, localization is key. Indeed, Vishwanath and Rigby (2006) state that the era of standardization has already ended as consumer communities are gradually growing more and more diverse in lifestyle, values, wealth and ethnicity. Thus, The Hibiscus Tree (Adelaide) is looking to localize its offerings, thereby attracting more local customers.
The interview is successful because I have identified the challenge that the employer faces before the job interview and prepared my answers to difficult questions in advance. For example, during the interview, I provide the interviewer with specific ways to localize the restaurant’s offerings, e.g., the food cannot be too spicy if the business is looking for more local customers because the climate in Adelaide is dramatically different from the climate in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, China. More specifically, Adelaide has a Mediterranean climate with mild wet winters as well as hot dry summers (Stokes 2014). During the summer, Australian customers are unlikely to eat very spicy food because of the hot and dry climate. Thus, the restaurant should let customers decide how spicy each dish should be when they place an order.
As to my strengths and weaknesses, I will play to my strengths and work on my weaknesses. More exactly, I am able to balance my studies, employment, social life and home commitments effectively. Also, I can accept and learn from constructive feedback and criticism. In fact, I will regularly ask for feedback in the workplace. Because I am good at problem solving, I can remain calm under pressure, make informed decisions and implement effective & practical solutions. Since I work with numbers and data very well, I can make the appropriate calculations while serving customers in the restaurant. Due to my business awareness, I can work within business systems effectively. Furthermore, I am able to cope with change; I always show a positive attitude to uncertainty. In addition, I like learning new ideas and building on these ideas; I can develop creative ideas which could be implemented at work.
“In terms of working on my weaknesses, I will improve my communication skills so that I can work with others more effectively and efficiently. Further, I will plan my own work and stick to deadlines, thereby setting and achieving goals properly. Even though this is not a leadership position, I can still be approachable and helpful to new co-workers when they begin work – I may help less experienced co-workers as well. What’s more, I must learn how to deal with difficult customers, thereby building self-confidence at work. When it comes to judgement, I will learn when to act and when to ask for help.”