Bagan Revisited as an Intern – Sequel 4

Dining on the Riverfront

Overlooking Irrawaddy River from the Thiripyitsaya’s terrace (Copyright to Thiripyitsaya)

My last module of internship was completed by spending two weeks at the Food & Beverage Department of Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort and Sky Bistro Restaurant.  According to my internship coordinator, Mr. Shirai, opening a restaurant needs a strategic process of planning and creating. Before thinking about all else, the restaurant’s owner should brainstorm the type of the restaurant that he/she wants to open. After that, he/she creates the ambience that will fulfill the restaurant type. For example, a fine-dining restaurant should have the atmosphere of high-class and prestige that is created with dim light to form a romantic environment. The waitstaff would be well-trained and wearing formal attire. Both of the restaurants that I interned at were fine-dining restaurants. From the training, I have learned about the sequence of service, different types of food and beverage service, the components of fine dinning, steps in composing a menu, the two types of soup, etc.

First, the sequence of service comes in a step-by-step process. When the guests come in, a waitstaff is supposed to welcome guests with smiling faces, and lead guests to the seats. While seating the guests, it is important to ask for guests’ preferences and check if they had a reservation. It is important to use open palm to direct guests to wherever they are sitting. Once they are seated, check if they are satisfied with the tables. Then, fold the napkins into triangular form and lay it on top of the legs of guests from left. Also, before laying the napkins, ask the guests if they are comfortable with it. The next step is to serve water and present the menus to guests. When offering the menus, it is important to note that – ladies come first. Before offering the menus, ensure that it is not upside down, and open it to the first page. In order to take orders, it is important that wait staffs keep a pen and notebook to register the orders. If guests ask for suggestions, wait staffs should be able to elaborate the ingredients used in cooking each dish and make useful suggestions to guests. When it is time to take the orders, take beverage orders first. Then, the starter, and come the main course. After the orders are taken, reiterate the orders and inform guests the amount of time needed to prepare the food. Finally, place the orders. During the period while the foods are being prepared, place cutlery according to the types of orders that guests made. Once the orders are ready to be served, check the quality and serve the orders. After a few minutes that foods are served, check guests’ satisfaction. When guests finish dining the main course, offer dessert and beverage menus. Eventually after guests finished dinning, clear the tables, present the bills, accompany guests to the entrance, and thank the guests. This is the universal use sequence of service.

Second, I would like to talk about food and beverage services. According to one of my supervisors, Ko Aung Ko, the service of foods & beverages are carried differently depends on many factors. These factors include the setting of the restaurant, the time that the meal is served, the customer’s turnover rate, the cost of the meal, the cuisine type presented in the menu. Based on these factors, the restaurant’s supervisor could designate the types of services that s/he would like to deliver to the diners. Currently, there are five types of services known universally. They are:

  1. Table Service (eg. Silver/ English Service, French Service, Russian Service, Pre-plated/ American Service, Gueridon / Cart Service)
  2. Assisted Service (eg. Buffet Service)
  3. Self-Service (eg. Cafeteria Service)
  4. Single Point Service (eg. Take Away, Vending, Kiosk, Food Court)
  5. Specialized or in situ Service (eg. Grill Room Service, Tray/ Trolley Service, Home-Delivery)

While I was an intern there, the restaurants offered menus that came in a mix of A La Carte and Set Menus. When foods were served to the diners, it was served and cleared from the left, whilst beverages are served from the right side and cleared from the left. Both of the restaurants that I were trained at used the American Service, in which foods were served pre-plated. As Thiripyitsaya’s restaurant utilized fine dining, cutlery was set in the meantime while tables were laid with covers. On the other hand, Sky Bistro utilized casual dining. Therefore, cutlery was laid depended on the type of orders that the diners made. The following is an example of fine dining accomplished with ‘Table d’ hôte service’ or covers laid prior to the arrival of diners. On this type of fine dining table, the fundamentals are: handkerchiefs, cutlery (dessert fork/ spoon, butter knife, soup spoon, salad fork, dinner fork, etc.,) plate mats, crockery (water goblets, butter plates, etc.) In addition, depending on the types of course that diners ordered, fish/ steak knifes would be offered.

Dinner table (Copyright to Thiripyitsaya)

Another component that helps to smooth the dining services is the preparation of Mise-En-Place. Mise-En-Place means putting thing into place. This is also a component of fine dinning. In this process, I got to collect cutlery, crockery, and seasonings and help my colleagues to prepare Mise-En-Place. I didn’t realize the importance of Mise-En-Place until the day I assisted to serve a group of 50 diners at a conference that was held in Sky Bistro. Because of some changes in the menu from the kitchen, the saucers and teaspoons that we had prepared ahead for the banquet were not enough. Therefore, a few of us had to go to the kitchen back and forth to get them.Even though the event went successful, the serving process was quite clumsy and seemed to be unprepared. Here are some pictures for Mise-En-Place preparation:

The Mise-En-Place for cutlery
Mise-En-Place for lunch & dinner menus

Last, but not least, I learned about the importance of menu creation. Even though there are other many factors that make a restaurant successful, menus play one of the most important role among them. Menus are not only the image of a restaurant, but also it can be a marketing tool that attract customers to come back. According to Danny Maribao, the author of Menu Planning on LinkedIn, Menus also act as a control tool for the restaurants to gather ingredients, plan ahead of time, and calculate costs.

To create a standard menu, there are certain fundamental components we need to consider in order to make the menu complete. These components are: appetizer, soup, fish, first meat course, main course, roast meat course, vegetable course, desserts, fresh fruits & nuts, and beverages. As we know, appetizer is a stimulant of one’s appetite. It is normally salty, spicy, and pickled in nature. It comes in the form of salads, eggs, Canapés, Fish, Meat, and fruits. Following appetizer is soup. There are two types of soups: thick soup and thin soup. If the appetizer is cold, thin soup should be served. Likewise, if the appetizer is hot, thick soup is served. After soup comes the first meat course that is a hot or cold  dish of organ meats like kidneys, brain, liver, etc. Continuing first meat course is the main course, which is served with heavy supplement (eg. potatoes,) and some decoration. The next course is called sorbet, which means giving the diners a break. At this time, an infused beverage, cigars, refreshing snacks would be served to help diners in digesting food. Resuming from sorbet is the serving of roasted meat course, vegetable course, and desserts. Desserts include cakes, pies, fruits and nuts. Finally, beverages such as coffee will be served together with cookies as the conclusion of the meal.

As a waitress, I have learned that wait staffs ought to be observant and alert of the situations that they are in, and incorporate their common sense in the service to guests. A waitstaff should never show off that in front of the guests. He/she should bear a sense of humility in the service of guests. In addition, as a rule of Thiripyitsaya’s F&B department, waitstaff is not allowed to wear distracting jewelries and have hair dyed besides the basic appearance restrictions. A qualified waitstaff should be presentable externally. I found the duty of a waitstaff is very exhausting because they ought to stand for 8 to 9 hours without sitting down.

To conclude, I am grateful of Juniata College for funding me to have this internship at Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort. I had make connection with staffs from Thiripyitsaya Resort & Sky Bistro, and gained exposure to the real world hospitality and workplace experience. During this one-month period, I have had a practical and firsthand industry experience learning from Thiripyitsaya Resort’s & Sky Bistro’s management teams, and my colleagues alike. From the delivery of services to the marketing of products or services, from human resource management to intra-organizational communication, the whole process was about learning for me. I have had a positive experience at both areas.


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