In May I had started an internship for a company called Centerplate. I was hired to take on a manager in training roll at their Belmont Racetrack location. I oversaw their restaurants and catered events throughout the whole track. The number of people we served changed from day to day and could be anywhere between 20 people to 5,000 people. Throughout the time working there I learned valuable skills as to how to effectively manage employees and how to take care of the workplace.
After working as a server for 5 years and finally leaving the restaurant industry, I was a little skeptical of going back into it as a manager. It wasn’t what I thought I would have been doing, or the internship I thought I would have but overall it was a great learning experience. A large take away from the internship was learning to communicate with employees that did not speak the same language. It was challenging at first to communicate where things should go and what items we needed when on both sides, no one understood. With the help of my coworkers and google translate I was finally starting to catch on to certain words and phrases that would help everyone. After all the times you hear in class that business is international and how important it is to be diverse, it helps to be put into a situation like that early on.
While working there I was also introduced into a few situations that had given me an opportunity to see how to handle things that are not always good. Being a manager means you have to keep the best interest of all the employees and it isn’t just about yourself anymore. If there is something going on that can affect others you need to do something about it and having the ability to do it was eye opening into what it takes. Handling bad situations take on a different skill set that is hard to learn until you are in a real life example. Learning about the protocols and how to write it properly and unbiasedly is a really good thing to understand and know.
For part of the internship I had actually moved locations for a month as the rest of the employees and managers went up to Saratoga Racetrack for the second half of the summer. I was asked to go but I had summer classes and couldn’t; so instead I worked as a supervisor at Jones Beach. This taught me different skills since the job changed from a restaurant to a quick service place. One of the things I did there was do inventory at the start and end of the shift. It was time consuming and sometimes very tedious, as you have to count individual paper plates, but it helped me to see how to do orders, what products we use more than other and how it helps keep track of all the items sold that don’t have bar codes, like ice cream and hotdogs.
Working at Jones Beach also taught me how to deal with employees that are young and may not be there because they want to be, but because their parents want them to be. When employees don’t want to be there they may not perform to the best of their abilities and it is hard to learn what to say and do when handling someone like this. I was able to learn different techniques and ways to approach them in order to make them comfortable and more willing to do their work.
There are a lot of more things that taking this internship has taught me but I think the most important thing I have learned is that you have to take the opportunities presented to you, even if it’s not what you had originally wanted to do. If you don’t take risks and do things that you may not want, then you won’t learn things about yourself or things about different parts of business. You have to be able to do things that make scare you because that is what gets you to be eventually be comfortable if those situations come up again. It also helps you embrace change and the unknown. Overall taking the internship helped me narrow down what I want to do.