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My Encounter at Al Wahda
My Attachment Experince at Al Wada Hotel
I would like to document about my internship "training" experience at Grand Millennium Al Wahda. I also indicate the gains I obtained from my practical experiences and how the knowledge sharpened my skills in my profession in the hospitality industry.
The hotel is only half an hour’s walk from Abu Dhabi Airport. The location of the hotel is next to Al wahda Mall. There is a health club with a pool at the roof top of the hotel plus a spa. The modern rooms are designed in a classical way. The rooms have features such as private bathrooms, spacious seating area and television sets. Apart from the restaurant facility, there are also shops as well as an arcade. The facility offers around 850 comfy and equipped, air conditioned rooms. Facilities in the rooms include CD players, Climate control, tea/coffee maker, direct-dial phone, and fax machine, Ipod docking station, speakerphone, voice mail and clock radio. Other features that are found in these rooms include; ergonomic chair and washer, blackout drapes, curtains and desks. With regard to entertainment, each guest room has a television set with free movie channels, video game consoles and satellite television services. The guests at Grand Millennium Al Wahda are offered free internet services, television internet access, both wired and wireless internet access as well as housekeeping services. Newspapers are also available in these rooms. The business center operates from 8.30 a.m to 6.30p.m, while the restaurant sector operates up to 10.p.m.
I took a total of six months in my internship at this hotel. During my training, I learned about room service. Here, the training was concerned about the setup for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and with regard to the preferences of different people. The restaurant’s menu includes Italian, Arabian, Eastern Cuisine and International dishes which are prepared by experts. Then I was taught on how to make and receive phone calls in a professional way in receiving orders. All the food prepared in the restaurant is checked regularly by the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority. Dishes that are prepared by the use of pork ingredients are usually separated from non pork dishes. This is meant to cater for those people who practice the Muslim faith. The hotel also offers a range of snacks such as the shawarma which is the most popular and cheap, chicken curved from a revolving spit, and the bread that is filled with beef. Juices in the hotel range from mangoes, bananas, oranges, melon, avocado, pomegranate, strawberry, kiwi and several others.
My work in this department entailed making sure that each guest was comfortable during his or stay in the hotel. The supervisor used to assign me a total of ten guests to serve on a daily basis, hence I had chance to interact with people of different calibers and backgrounds on each day. I made sure that they took breakfast of their choice, had their preferred snacks, supper and everything they needed for their stay at the hotel. Cleaning of the cutlery and utensils after they were used by the guests was also my duty. In addition, I was required to ensure cleanness in the rooms as well as in the general reception of the hotel. This made me very busy throughout the workday and to be honest enough, I had no rest time. Come evening, I had become a virtually tired man.
Taking orders and also assisting customers to make decisions with regard to food choice, services or any other issue was also part of the training kitty. I also learned on the aspect of serving customers in an exemplary and professional way. Such training involved; maintaining personal etiquette in approaching customers, how to knock their rooms, how to speak to them and also how to handle their complaints. Although I had prior knowledge on the value of customers in this industry, this aspect was portrayed more in this setup where I learned not only from the management or work colleagues, but also from real life experience interactions of the guests and why there was a need of placing value to them.
There was a tent at the hotel which catered specifically for Muslim workers of the hotel especially during the holy month of Ramadhan. I became involved in the tent activities for the whole month of Ramadan since I am Muslim.
In my operations at Al Wahda, I was required to wear the staff uniform just like the rest of the staff members. My work as I outlined earlier, entailed serving the guests and making cleanness on the rooms and also the cutlery. With regard to the high number of clients, I was required to move faster and produce high quality services. I learned that working in a team was the most efficient way to work. The training in this facility also familiarized me on the requirement of working in a busy environment. I gained knowledge on the importance of meeting customer’s needs and their preferences. Though it was generally an enjoyable moment for me, there was also an upsetting time as when meeting naughty or troublesome customers. All the same, I learned on how to deal with such cliques of people as it was normal to find them in such a business set up. I found it even more wonderful serving an Arabic menu; since I am myself an Arabian and hence I am conversant with Arabian foods which were a bit easier to prepare and serve.
After a one month’s service at the tenth, the management placed me in another department; the All day dining restaurant. While there, I learned on the food setting for different customers all the way from breakfast, lunch and dinner. Each serving section had a side satiation which had the napkins and the cutlery to make a new setup after the guest is done. There was also changing and hygiene room for the staffs. These experiences taught me how to treat my customers well and also serving in an efficient manner. This way, the guests will be satisfied and keep on coming at the same venue and also bring more other customers. The experience in the dining restaurant, culminated in my knowledge and skill developments in the hospitality sector. I realized that one could learn a lot right from serving customers and the day today operations of the business entity. I learned also on what worked well for the hotel, how to attract customers and how to incorporate other ideas in the operations for the benefit of management and also the staff.
In comparing the number of customers in the restaurant from the time I reported and the time I moved out, the number had practically surged. The assistant manager of Grand Millennium Al Wahda had come up with an idea that proved effective for the business endeavor. He chose two days as buffet by introducing the concept of unlimited alcohol for clients who reported on that day. This made many people become highly interested in coming to the hotel and take food as they also enjoyed the unlimited alcohol. This in essence made the restaurant more popular in comparison with the competitors. Other customers from the competitors started trooping to the hotel. This idea from the assistant manager indeed proved to be an effective one.
From the dining department, I was moved to the reflections bar where I dealt with many kinds of spirits and liquors. I was eager to work in this department because, back in my country, Arabia, there is virtually no such kind of alcohol. It was interesting to be introduced on different types of alcohol and also the preferences of different people in this area with regard to the spirits and liquors. Another thing I learned was that the clients preferred certain types of alcohol to a company particular type of food. From my experience, I learned on the best kind of endeavors that could attract customers in a hotel setup.
My experience from the banquets and events department was equally thrilling. I learned on different styles of table settings, organizing functions efficiently and the value of being positive in the work place. I learned also on how to follow up on the food preparations and also provide the necessary requirements for the different kinds of functions. I visited the departmental office and learned on how the contracts for functions are reached, documentation, pricing for each function, how phone calls are made and received, email communication to customers and the general customer and staff relations.
From my opinion, the management and the staff of the restaurant are doing quite fine in improving the service in the hotel.
The important aspect to be possessed by a staff in room service as I noticed is to develop positive attitudes towards his or her work. In this, one was poised to succeed. The waiters in such a work environment for instance, would need to be cheerful and avoid being gloomy when dealing with customers. Developing positive attitudes is one of the Professional approaches that are needed by serious staffs in dealing with customers to guarantee their coming back. High standard in cleanness is another factor that need not be ignored. All staff has to keep their nails and hair as short as possible. They are also mandated to wear gloves at all times. However, there was another loophole I saw in this hotel whereby cleanness on the floor and tables was not followed up to the standard. The management has to check on that otherwise, it would be jeopardizing the health standards of the place.
The experience in the Ramadan tent was that the people fasting (workers) did not have proper Ramadan menu and sometimes when they could go to the main cafeteria in search of food they could find none. Apparently, most of the times, there was no enough food to serve all the workers. This was more of experienced with workers who were Muslims. When the assistant manager who was called Mr Basil realized this problem of the workers, he came in and rescued the situation. The food for Muslim workers were specially prepared for and kept for them up to the time they were ready to take them. A negative aspect which I however encountered was that the hotel staffs were overworked, in that they didn’t have time to relax or socialize with their friends or family members. This hampered their productivity. It would have been nice if the management of this hotel considered setting flexible time for the workers as well as motivating them in their work. This would enhance their productivity.
With regard to my experience at Grand Millennium Al Wahda; at all day dining, there was some bit of complaints from the clients that they were not getting their preferred meals or services. Some also wanted different menus which they could choose at their own desire but which the restaurant could not offer. It would be better if the management introduced different meals to cater for different people’s preferences so as to satisfy them even more. They should also introduce different kinds of promotions that are aimed at attracting customers even more.
Additionally, I would prefer that In Al Wahda, the buffet night non cocked food to be put on the ice or refrigerator so that the guests can find them all fresh. This because perishable goods such as the fish, lobster or shrimps may appear smelly if not preserved correctly. It is also recommendable that the management changes the type of music to meet the different customer’s expectations and not be a boring to some.
In the reflections bar department, we are worked for nothing because everyday is considered as ladies night. These ladies are normally offered some free drinks for promotions; hence the company looses a quite substantial amount of money from such offers. It would have been better if such events were organized at least once per week to cut on the company expenses. The Television set should be fixed with DSTV or other ways that make the clients who are football fans or particular programs have access on the same.
Finally, in the banquets, I noted that there is no supervisor or manager who speaks Arabic. I was really concerned about that aspect as there were clients who were Arabs and would not speak English very well. There was indeed a need for someone to help them in this situation.
My general evaluation of the hotel is that it is loosing a good number of staff. Among the reasons that can be noted is that the worker’s needs are not being addressed; in other words, there expectations are not being made and hence they feel that they are being misused. There is also misplacement of some staff in key positions as some supervisors and managers are not very much qualified for the position. This misplacement of some workers at senior positions at the expense of the more experienced or more qualified ones is killing other staff’s morale. If the management still wanted to keep their most efficient and experienced staff, then they should look for ways of meeting their expectations, welfare and create a favorable working environment. The employees should be promoted on qualification and experience basis so as not to lower other staff’s morale. The management should learn to respect the workers and also treat them equally irrespective of the roles they are playing. This will instill positive aspects in them which will in turn enhance their performance.
During my training time, I had close contact with customers some of who knew me by name and we became friends. It was great interacting with people from different backgrounds, cultures and nationalities. I was moved when I and other staff were commended by these clients for doing exemplary jobs. By these, I felt great as my efforts were being appreciated.
In essence, I am finalizing with the sentiments that I obtained substantial knowledge and skills in this training at Al Wahda. At this place, I applied my theoretical knowledge into practical perspectives and this greatly enhanced my profession. My work colleagues were nice people, and we shared a lot together as we passed the easy and difficult moments together. I would want to thank also Mr. Anoura , Mr. Ahmed , Mr. Ehab , Mr. Shahid and Mr. Haffaz for extending their hands whenever I needed any help related to work or personal while serving at the hotel. Finally, Mr. Basil Abboud can also not be forgotten for taking his precious time to teach and train me to effectively tackle with life issues much like his own son. At other times, he pushed me to the wall in order to make me achieve what was expected of me. This made me learn a lot, and I would admit that, it was of great help to me.
Finally, the training opportunity has given me a chance to acquire practical skills and experience that is so much crucial in making a successful person in many such professions. In fact, it is so much than I expected and according to me, this is the best way to prepare individuals for the job market. In essence, classroom knowledge can be so different from the real facts on the grounds. I am now positive about my future role and dreams of serving customers at a rebuttable hospitality firm. Thanks to Al Wahda for offering me the opportunity to gain experience.