Interview with Food & Beverage Manager, One and Only Wogan Valley Resort

Blue Mountains International Hotel Management Schoool Marketing Ambassador Rei recently conductd an interview with his Industry Placement Manager Mr Gary Olasz. Gary is the Food and Beverage Manager for Emirates One and Only Wogan Valley Resort.

Rei:

Hello Gary, thanks for taking your time today to be a part of this interview. To begin can you tell me what you know about the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS)?

Gary:
In my understanding BMIHMS provides both practical and academic courses to their students. We have had a few students that have come to our property [Wolgan Valley] and from experience I can say that the students come with a strong learning base at the start off their career.

Rei:

Why should we as students come here for industry placement?

Gary:

Yes. As Emirates One and Only Wolgan Valley is a luxury resort it attracts a high caliber of clientele. The guests that stay at our hotel are different from what you can expect from an average 2 to 4-star city hotels. They often have experienced other resorts and hotels, and bring with them their knowledge of what luxury is. They do spend a lot of money to stay here and are justifiable demanding. In general, our guests understand how to enjoy resorts and appreciate personal interactions with us.

As you may have experienced, as a placement student, this can be a pressure for you to try and meet these guests needs, and it can be stressful at times. But I believe this exact experience is what students should experience. Yes, it is difficult but by interacting with this type of guests, at an early stage in your career, you will appreciate the expertise you have developed later.

Rei:

I believe that 6 months is a very short– yet quite a long period when living and experiencing resort living/working. What learning experience do you think we have?

Gary:

I believe there is a lot that you can learn if you put effort into your work. This is a small property and we ask the Food and Beverage Attendants (F&B) to work in various outlets. An average day may see you working dinners but you will also experience breakfasts, lunch, arrivals (drink service), bar, in-villa dining (room service), barbeques and large functions such as weddings and car promotional dinners.

I remember when I first started my career I had an 18-month internship where in my first 6 months my primary focus was room service. Unlike other hotels where you will be given one specific role we require our staff to be able to do multiple tasks making it a very good learning experience. I don’t think many of your classmates can say that they have experienced the variety of jobs that you have experienced when you get back to school. Aside from working we regularly have training done by the kitchen team and sommelier. We develop our staff’s food and wine knowledge and standards, weekly.

Rei:

What about students that are not interested in F&B? How does it link to their next experience?

Gary:

Experience in F&B can help in every part of your hospitality career. In our hotel guests spend all their meal times at our outlets so there is high level of guest interaction compared to other departments. Skills in guests’ relations is critical in hospitality. Confidence with guests will help in your next role. F&B departments regularly have large teams and at times are the epicenter of a hotel. It is important that you understand how it works regardless of the department you are in. There are many general managers of hotels that worked their way up from the F&B department. It is a great place to start in the hospitality industry.

Rei:

Recently there was a BMIHMS master student that received the ‘Colleague of the Quarter’.  Do you have any advice to graduates that may potentially come to this property?
Gary:
Patience. With F&B there is a lot to learn. I stress to people starting out to stay focused and have the patience to put in the time into their work. There are times when it is difficult to maintain this focus and students like to leave a property or change jobs but this patience is the key to the next step. By being patient and continuously learning you will build confidence for when the opportunity arises to raise your hand to take it.

Rei:

Thank you for your time.

Gary:

No, Thank you!

Rei Nakamura completed his first placement at Emirates One and Only Wolgan Valley, he is currently studying a Bachelor of Business in Hotel and Resort Management at BMIHMS at Torrens University.

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