B.H.M.S. interviewed Jenny Harder, a B.H.M.S. Student doing her internship at Florhof Hotel in Zurich.
Jenny is a 24 years old Swiss girl and she has lots of motivation! Her internship begun last November after the first 6 months of studies and she tell us everything about it!
Hi Jenny! Thank you for sharing your experience with us. You are at this moment doing your Industry Training at Florhof Hotel in Zurich. Can you tell us more about this Hotel?
Florhof Hotel is a beautiful, small Boutique-Hotel in the Old Town of Zurich. There are 32 rooms with approx. 50 seats in the restaurant.
The Hotel was built in 1763 as an elegant aristocratic home of the Oeri-Lavater Family. They were engaged in the manufacturing of florette silk and gauze, hence the name “Florhof”. Since 1907 it has been a guest house. The unique parts about Florhof are first of all the building itself, which has a long and eventful history, being nowadays a listed building.
Furthermore, the wine cellar is one of the most romantic and impressive locations you can imagine, available for (small) parties, anniversaries etc., with the original walls and unchanged since 1763. They also have an old ceramic stove in the reception hall which dates back to 1771, along with a Neptune Fountain, which are both listed and protected.
Impressive! What is your internship area in this hotel?
My internship is in Food & Beverage Service. Lately, I have been responsible for the breakfast shift, on my own, which makes me very happy that they trust me and believe in my skills to give me this responsibility without anybody supervising me.
Breakfast shift in Florhof starts at 6.00 am, which means that I have to get up at 3.40 am, every morning.
Well, that is really early. Do you have any advice for our students, how can you handle it?
Yes, choose your accommodation carefully and start looking for it as early as possible! I chose this accommodation because it was the cheapest available, but it is pretty far away from downtown. In the mornings there is no bus yet to the next train station, which makes me ride my bicycle for 3 km up a hill, no matter how cold it is, if the streets are frozen or it is raining. Your accommodation is supposed to be your “home”, not just a place you sleep in, so again, choose carefully.
Why did you choose this hotel?
In this Hotel we serve upper class food to a rather upper class clientele, the hotel guests being mostly Professors and Doctors of all nationalities, due to the hotel’s location very close to ETH and the University of Zurich. I chose this hotel because it is a small house and I really enjoy the intimacy we have with our guests.
What was your biggest challenge until now?
The biggest challenge I faced was really the quality of service and food, getting to know dishes I had never heard of in my entire lifetime. Also, because it is a historic hotel, every employee has to know by heart the entire history of the hotel, which was quite a bit to learn.
The hotel executes a service which is very customized, stressing the communication with our guests and working with special recommendations. Therefore, you really have to know each and every dish and be able to also work with wine recommendations.
I am so satisfied with my workplace, that I even arranged the extension of my IT, from 6 to 8 months.
How is your relationship with your colleagues?
The team is very small, which also creates a greater relationship to each of them. We call each other by our first name, no matter what position you are in, even the director or the restaurant manager. I must add here, that, talking about the restaurant manager of Florhof, I have never had such a fair and friendly boss in my life. She is very strict, but at the same time she is extremely motivating and has an incredible way of teaching.
That is great! Can you explain us better what are your specific tasks?
My tasks include serving food and beverages to guests, but of course also making the Mise-En-Place for the restaurant itself, but also for the lounge, the events we have, either in the restaurant, the wine cellar, the vaulted cellar or the meeting room. This includes also the preparation and decoration of these rooms according to the number of guests and the occasion of the event and also the maintenance of the premises.
What advice would you give to people who are thinking about starting a hospitality career?
With hospitality, you either love it, or you hate it. Of course we do not have 7/5 working schedules, and we often work at night, on the weekends and on holidays, but the great thing about hospitality is the diversity you face. Every guest is unique and different, so is every event. Not a single day looks the same like the one before, which makes it very interesting and you are not endangered to fall into a daily routine and get stuck in it.
And the biggest plus, once you got a foothold in hospitality and you proof that you are an asset to a hotel, there is no such thing as borders. You can travel the world and broaden your horizon, getting to know all kinds of different cultures and manners, which at the end, makes you even a better server and host.
What studying at B.H.M.S. means to you?
The greatest thing about B.H.M.S. to me is the flexibility they provide. Being able to start throughout the year for example is something very uncommon for colleges.
Secondly, the way they let you create your own personal schedule, leaving the decision up to you whether you want to study one year through or go for IT for one year or 6 months or less or more.
The reason why I chose BHMS and no other hotel school in Switzerland was the Bachelor’s Degree. In every other hotel school in Switzerland (apart from EHL), you graduate with a diploma and the “Wirtenpatent”, but a Bachelor’s enables you to go for a Master’s, either in hospitality or any other business, to keep developing yourself, your personality and your career.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us Jenny! B.H.M.S. wishes you all the best for your future Hospitality Career!