Cooking up a Finance Internship
After working as a cook in restaurants for the last six years, senior finance major Lincoln Maenner knew his way around a kitchen. His recent promotion to assistant kitchen manager at Boston’s Gourmet Pizza gave him expanded job responsibilities. It also piqued his interest in the financial side of the restaurant, which prompted Maenner to approach his general manager about an internship.
“I asked my general manager if there were any tasks she could give me that were finance-related,” he recalled. “She was more than happy to delegate some of her responsibilities to me.”
One of the first tasks Maenner was given was to calculate the restaurant’s tip out report. At restaurants like Boston’s, wait staff contribute a portion of the money they receive in tips to a fund that is split among the cooks, hosts, and other staff responsible for making the customer’s dining experience a pleasant one. To complete the tip out report, Maenner totaled the money in the tip out account folder (which accumulated as a portion of sales for each day), reviewed the payroll report to determine which employees worked during that time period and the number of hours they worked, then calculated the money each individual would receive based on the percentage of time they worked. Managing the tip out report taught Maenner how to handle money responsibly and ethically. It also helped him develop better time management skills.
“I handled a lot of money on a monthly basis and I am grateful for the trust my superiors showed me,” said Manner. “They believed I was capable of counting money without making mistakes or succumbing to the temptation to steal money from the account,” he continued. “Doing the report also forced me to budget my time and prioritize my activities as many weeks I had tests or other school activities the same day I had to file my report, ” he said.
The most important report Maenner worked on during his internship was the food cost report which tracked food costs as a percentage of food sales. Because food cost is a major expense for a restaurant, Maenner and his manager evaluated inventories, purchases, and sales on a weekly basis.
“We looked at different categories of food items to see which ones were most detrimental to our costs,” Manner explained. “Then we formulate a plan to lower theses costs, such as coming up with different methods for following recipes, and better ways to assemble orders and stock food items,” he continued.
Working on the food cost report made Maenner more aware of what a restaurant needs to do to be profitable and remain competitive. It also taught him to identify problems and “to be a bit creative and think outside the box” when developing strategies to solve problems – skills he believes he will find useful in future positions.
In addition to working on reports, Maenner was also responsible for running meetings involving the kitchen and front of the house staff. He credits his business presentation course for preparing him to do this successfully.
“BCOM 207 taught me how to conduct myself in a meeting and what to do to help make things go according to plan,” he said. “I used the knowledge gained in this course to run our staff meetings more efficiently.”
Maenner finished his semester-long internship with Boston’s in December 2009. He learned a lot from his restaurant experience – how to manage cash responsibly and ethically, control costs creatively, and run meetings effectively-- all transferrable skills he will use in banking, the industry Maenner would like to work in after he graduates in May.
“This internship gave me the confidence to take on new tasks that were unfamiliar to me. I am confident I will be able to do the same in the future”, he said.