LA BELLA ITALIA
My name is Jing Lin. I conducted my internship at La Bella Italia. I am writing this report for Le Cordon Bleu DAC internship program. My internship duration at this restaurant was for eight weeks, where I spent most of time learning and gaining new skills that I can utilize in the kitchen such as writing new starters, and main courses. I will be applying the knowledge that I acquired from school to identify, and assess some of the problems that exist in this restaurant. The purpose of this report is to provide a description of my experience to Sue Townsend, and help her have a better understanding of my internship experience at La Bella Italia.
The scope of this report will be to cover the introduction at La Bella Italia, conduct an analysis on its background, workflow, operating procedures, staff management, and menu design. The report will also contain a conclusion, and recommendation based on my observations at the company. I will cover areas whereby the company can improve its activities to promote a better experience for students who are in the internship program, and also the restaurant’s customers.
2.0 Findings and Analysis
La Bella Italia can be described as a Restaurant, Pizzeria, Deli, Retail, and Wholesale business. The restaurant is located in Petone Wellington, New Zealand, as indicated in the map below:
Figure 1: Location of La Bella Italia, it is at 10 Nevis Street, Petone, Lower Hutt 5045.
The company has eight employees. The uniqueness of the restaurant is that it offers its clients with the traditional, authentic Italian products and cuisines. An important point to note is that, the restaurant mainly imports the products that it uses for its food preparation such as: Italian cured meats , cheeses, pasta, sauces, Limoncello, and Extra Virgin Olive oils from Italy, which makes its products to be more authentic. The target market for La Bella Italia is individuals who want to experience the Italian cuisine, and people who are focused on eating healthy meals. For instance, some of the popular products that the restaurant sells to its clientele include: delicious pasta, rich risottos, and gluten free dishes.
Other than offering its clients with food products, the company offers other services such as classes to adults and children in order for them to learn how to make paste, gnocchi and ravioli. In addition to that, the company offers annual tours whereby New Zealanders, and any other tourist are taken to Italy to experience the different locations, assess where the food products are imported from, and interact with the Italian culture to have a better understanding of the rich traditions of the region. At La Bella Italia, there are seven departments. I was assigned to work in the kitchen. My main duties in this department were to write menus for starters, main courses, desserts, and pizza in the kitchen as I saw fit.
2.2 Planning and Monitoring of Workflow of Your Business
The layout of the restaurant is as described in figure two below:
Figure 2: Layout of the Floor Plan of the La Bella restaurant
Dish take-out window
Broil, Fryer, and Oven
Desert preparation area
Two sinks, handwashing area and kitchen
Salads and Starters location
Set-up area for a variety of dishes
From my observation of the kitchen area, the hygiene standards are low. The different stations that I have mentioned are not kept clean. In particular, the two sinks, and handwashing area are regularly dirty. The dish washers do not remove the food remains from the plates while cleaning, and it is highly likely to see for instance pasta in the sink. In addition to that, at the hand washing area, one is highly likely to find remnants of soap fluids that have been poured all over, and hand tissues dumped on the sink, despite there being a dustbin at the bottom of the sink. Furthermore, the Dish take out window is not cleaned, and this means that one is highly likely to find water on this surface, which can lead to plates being dirty despite having been cleaned. Also, the Dessert preparation area, and work stations are not regularly cleaned, and this means that it is highly likely that the food that is offered to the clients is contaminated.
The flow in the kitchen is regarded as being poor. An important point to note is that, the kitchen work triangle is at the sink, stove and the refrigerator. The distance between the fridge and the refrigerator is close, however, from there is a large distance between the stove and the sink. This is a poor set-up because it means that the chefs cannot regularly wash their hands, especially after touching one food, and they want to handle another food product.
La Bella Italia has a small kitchen, which means it has one preparation area. The problem with this is that, all the meat products will be prepared at this location. Products such as poultry, fish, and beef are conducted on this bench. In addition to that, breakfast and dinner meals are prepared on this bench. This means there is a high likelihood of food contamination as the area is not thoroughly cleaned when a specific food is prepared. This is represented in figure three below:
Figure 3: Preparation Area at La Bella Italia
2.3 Operating Procedures and Compliance Requirements
The company orders food from the same organizations. This means that it has the same ordering process of these products. For instance, it imports things such as Italian cured meats , cheeses, pasta, sauces, Limoncello, and Extra Virgin Olive oils from Italy. In addition to that, it gets Prawns from Australia, and they are regularly delivered depending on the stock of the company.
There are different ways in which the La Bella Italia generates waste. First, it has been determined that the company makes a huge quantity of orders of more than the food products that it needs. For instance, it will make regular orders of vegetables even when they are not going to use these vegetables in their food preparation process.(Dhir, Talwar, Kaur, & Malibari, 2020) Secondly, there is waste that is generated from the Italian Parsley sticks. While the company utilizes the leaves in its food preparation, the sticks are thrown away as they are regarded as waste. Thirdly, the company when making desserts, it mainly uses the egg whites. This means that the egg yolks are mainly thrown away, which contributes to the waste generation in this company.
Figure 4: The Refrigerator with containers of different ice-creams
La Bella Italia has an inadequate storage facility. To put it into perspective, an individual has to assess the following:
The restaurant has one freezer, which is used to store all of its ice cream products. Different ice cream products require different temperatures so that they can retain their texture, and flavor. By using one freezer, the restaurant is compromising the quality of some of its products.
The restaurant uses one freezer in order to store all its bread, and poultry, and seafood products. Again, this compromises the quality of these food products, and will likely affect the end product that is provided to the customers(Mohammed & Radyabdelgawad, 2017). This is indicated in figure five below:
Figure 5: Freezer with different products in it.
An important point to note is that, there is one section that is used to preserve the hot dish and the larder section products, while the other one is mainly used for the storage of the dissertation products.
La Bella Italia imports a majority of its food products such as Italian cured meats , cheeses, pasta, sauces, Limoncello, and Extra Virgin Olive oils from Italy.
The Prawn that the company uses is imported from Italia. Am important point to note is that the quality of this product is high, based on the experience that the company has had in the recent past in terms of their Prawns.
It is also important to note that the La Bella Italia has used the same company over the years for its vegetable products. This means that these products are of a relatively high quality. In addition to that, the main reason as to why they deal with this company is because, it is the only company that is known to wash its vegetables at-least twice before delivering them at La Bella Italia.
Reflection About The Above
One of the best strategies that the company can use in order to reduce the overall waste that it generates is by engaging in precise ordering. It has been determined that, one of the main reasons as to why the company generates a lot of waste is because it makes orders that are of a higher quantity than the food products that it needs. It means that by reducing the quantity of orders that it makes at scheduled periods, it can be able to minimize its wastage. The reason for this is that, there are times during their food preparation that they do not use vegetable and herbs. In addition to that, there are some specific parts of the herbs that they use that are not needed in their food preparation. For instance, when using the Italian Parsley sticks, they pick the leaves off, and throw away the sticks. As a means to reduce the overall wastage, they can utilize the sticks by making the vegetable stocks.
Another means of reducing waste generation is by minimizing the approach of throwing away egg yolks. The egg whites are mainly used, during the preparation of desserts. However, the egg yolk is thrown away because it cannot be used in the preparation process of these desserts. Instead of throwing it away, the egg yolk can be used in preparation of other food products such as the Mayonnaise, as a binding agent, Custard, Carbonara, and to enrich the dough and pastries. If this is achieved, then, it is highly likely to reduce the amount of waste that the restaurant generates.
2.4 Management of the Staffing Strategies and Staff Relationships
At La Bella Italia, the company uses the following practices to ensure that it has employed the right staff. First, the company whenever there is a position open, advertises using different platforms that it is hiring. For instance, there are notices in the restaurant which point out that the organization is engaged in the hiring process, and the position that it expects to fill. In addition to that, it uses both the traditional and digital media for these adverts. Secondly, it will engage in a rigorous interviewing process in order to select the right candidates(Ahmad & Veerapandian, 2012). The candidates have to have the right academic qualifications, they need to possess the knowledge and skills that are needed. For instance, they are taken to the work area, and tasked to perform specific duties to assess their competence level. This means that only the best recruits will be selected.
Induction and Training
The organization mainly utilizes the apprenticeship program. In this case, the new recruit will work under an experienced employee. They are meant to observe how they conduct their job duties, and ask them questions where necessary. This is meant to ensure that the employees have a better understanding of their job roles and what is expected of them (Hartline & Witt, 2004). In terms of training, the employees are provided with regular training by attending work shops, seminars, and in some cases going for an advanced course in order to improve their skills at the work setting.
The employees are subjected to regular performance feedback in the organization setting. This is meant to identify their strengths and weaknesses and highlight the areas that they need to improve. These feedback are provided bi-monthly. An important point to note is that, for the employees who have performed exceptionally, they are accorded financial and non-financial incentives such as an increase in their salaries, and being granted a free trip to Italy when the company engages in that touring process.
Teamwork is encouraged at all departments, especially where possible. All employees are expected to conduct their parts in the right manner to ensure that all things go as smoothly as possible, and the customers get the best, or most appropriate services in relation to their needs(Bogatova, 2012). For employees who fail to engage in the teamwork process, they are either reprimanded, and if they are repeat offenders, they will be fired for not cooperating with the other employees.
453263066675Cooks, Dishwashers, and Bussers
Cooks, Dishwashers, and Bussers
-56324585725Hosts and Servers
Hosts and Servers
Reflection About The Above
The company has an effective recruitment strategy, which has positively contributed to the company hiring the right staff in terms of work skills and knowledge. In addition to that, by engaging in the apprenticeship program, it means that the employees who are recruited are easily integrated into the company. They will be aware of their work approach, and what is expected of them by working with the highly experienced employees. In addition to that, by setting up a teamwork structure at the organization it means that the employees tend to have a positive relationship with each other. An important point to note is that, for most of the employees, they realize the value of the employees in different positions in relation to the success of their work. For instance, for a cook, he or she realizes that he or she cannot be effective in his or her work without the contribution of the dish washer because the cook will need to use utensils in the preparation of the meals. What needs to be improved is the structure of the teams.
There is the need to have a team leader who will ensure that all the team members fulfil their roles, and if they fail, he or she should be answerable to the short-comings of the team. I feel that this will be a highly effective approach, than the disciplinary action that is taken against the employees, which may include being suspended, or fired for not effectively participating in the team. The reason for this is that, it may reduce the employees’ engagement and organization commitment levels. This may especially be true if the employees feel that they were unfairly treated at the work place in terms of the punishment that was meted towards them for their lack of, or low morale in the teamwork set-up.
2.5 Menu Planning, Design and Development
Who Designs Menus and How Often are they Changed
The cook, the accountant and the restaurant manager are the ones who are involved in the design of the menu that is used in this restaurant. I learned that, the reason why these three are involved is that, for the cook, he provides the types of foods that will be prepared by his team in the restaurant. The accountant has to be involved to determine the costs of preparation of these foods, and therefore set a price that will ensure that the organization is profitable, but the prices are not too steep for the targeted market audience. The restaurant manager is mainly involved in determining the outlook of the menu, to ensure that it is appealing to the clients. I also learned that the menus in this restaurant are changed after every eight months.
Seasonality in the Menu
The seasonality of the menu is dependent on two factors: the weather conditions and important holiday events in this region. For instance, during special events such as Anzac Day, and Waitangi Day, there are special meals that are prepared to signify these special events(Ozdemir & Caliskan, 2014). In addition to that, during the winter and Christmas period, there are special meals such as pizzas that are prepared to emphasize the aspect of family gatherings. The menus often change regularly in relation to the season, or holiday events that exist.
Color/Texture/Balance of the Menu
As this is an Italian-themed, or based restaurant, color, texture and balance of food is highly important. Color is an especially important factor because it affects the way individuals perceive food. Different colors such as red and green are utilized to make the food to become visually appealing. In addition to that, the restaurant places a high level of attention on the texture of the food(Ozdemir & Caliskan, 2014). It has to be either soft, crunchy, or mushy depending on the food product. There is a high emphasis to ensure that the right texture of the food is achieved as for a majority of consumers, texture is more important than even color and flavor.
A majority of the food products and the accompaniments are designed to achieve a balanced diet(Roberto, Larsen, Agnew, Baik, & Brownell, 2010). In addition to that, most of the food products contain little fatty products. The intention of the restaurant is to ensure that its customers eat healthy and they return to the restaurant on a regular basis.
Sustainability of the Menu
The menu that is utilized in the restaurant is highly sustainable. The reason for this, the selected foods are considered to be healthy for the bodies of the customers, and they are environmentally sustainable(Roberto, Larsen, Agnew, Baik, & Brownell, 2010). To put it into perspective, the food products are bio-degradable if they are to be thrown away, and also the company only orders food products from companies that uphold environmentally sustainable practices. In addition to that, all the food products are taken from authentic sources as the company wants to guarantee the quality of food that it serves it clients.
The company has an effective menu in terms of the approach that is undertaken in designing the menu. By involving stakeholders such as cooks, accountant and restaurant manager, they have ensured that the company is able to provide a menu that is appealing in terms of looks, the foods contained and prices to the clients. Also, the company assures the clients that the food products that they use in their preparation process are from authentic, and environmentally friendly organizations, which has contributed to the development of a sustainable menu.
La Bella Italia is a restaurant that is located in New Zealand. For the most part it can be considered a high-quality restaurant. It has a professional staff who are subjected to a rigorous recruitment process to ensure that the organization selects the best, or the top employees to work in their firms. In addition to that, the employees are integrated into the company through the use, or utilization of the apprenticeship program, which ensures that the employees are able to learn from more experienced employees who are working in similar job positions. It prepares them to be able to fill these positions in the future as they are aware of what is expected of them. In addition to that, the company uses a sustainable menu in which it only provides healthy and unique cuisines to its customers. The intention is to ensure that the customers eat the best food products that the organization can serve them. The company’s menu is sustainable in that all the food products are bought from companies that are environmentally friendly, and also its products are considered to be biodegradable. This means that even if they are thrown as waste, they will have little impact on the environment. All these are meant to increase the consumers volume, and sales in the company. However, it has been observed that the company has a poor kitchen plan, which means that the cooks and other people who work in the kitchen do not clean their hands as often as possible. Secondly, the company has only one work station, which increases the likelihood of the customers being served contaminated food. In addition to that, the different work stations of the restaurants’ kitchen are not regularly cleaned. These means that there is the need for some changes to be conducted.
Based on the problems, or challenges that have been observed, there is the need for the following things to be implemented for the restaurant to be more effective in terms of its operations:
There is the need for all the work stations to be regularly cleaned. This means that immediately after they have been used, they should be cleaned thoroughly to avoid working in dirty areas, or contamination of food.
There is the need to increase the work stations to ensure that different types of meats such as beef, chicken meat and fish are not prepared in the same location to reduce the possibility of the contamination of food.
There is the need to assign regular cleaners in the kitchen and set policies that individuals should clean up after themselves. Failure in terms of observing these policies will lead to some form of punishments.
There is the need to build a sink near the cooks’ workstation to ensure that they regularly clean themselves, i.e. wash their hands immediately after completing specific tasks.
The company should develop an effective food ordering plan to ensure that they do not generate a lot of waste. In addition to that, instead of throwing away products such as the egg yolk, it should be used for other purposes such as making of pastries.
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