Managing a Fine Dining Restaurant After College in Hong Kong
Name: John
Career: Restaurant Manager
Company Field: Fine Dining Restaurant
Located In: Hong Kong
Grew Up In: Renoa, Nevada
Graduated From:
Majored In: Hospitality Administration
Graduated In: 2011
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After College Lifestyles

John Manages a Major Celebrity Fine Dining Restaurant in Hong Kong. In fact, John was one of the first manager's at the restaurant's opening! Learn how John's semester studying abroad in Italy lead to his re-born interest into the food and beverage industry. And see what it's like living in Hong Kong!

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Name: John
Career: Restaurant Manager
Company Field: Fine Dining Restaurant
Located In: Hong Kong
Grew Up In: Renoa, Nevada
Graduated From:
Majored In: Hospitality Administration
Graduated In: 2011

Quick Stats on Managing a Fine Dining Restaurant

Work Hours/Week: 66-70 hours
Work Hour Flexibility: Low
Quality of Lifestyle Outside of Work: Medium
Work Stress Level: Medium
Level of Routine Work: Medium
Interaction with Co-Workers: High
Pay Level (out of 5): $$$

Life of a College Grad Restaurant Manager


I currently work in fine dining for a major celebrity chef who recently opened two restaurants in Hong Kong in 2012. Restaurant life can be chaotic and grueling. My day-to-day basic job duties consist of monitoring and controlling the dining room floor and ensuring all our guests dining in are satisfied with their service and food.

Restaurant Manager's Daily Routine:

9:00 AM Wake up and prepare to leave for work

10:00 AM Arrive to work and open the restaurant

11:30 AM Start lunch service at Restaurant

3:00 PM Close down restaurant. Handle and oversee side projects

4:00 PM Personal Lunch/Dinner break

5:00 PM Prepare for dinner service and run daily staff meeting/training

6:00 PM Start dinner service

10:00 PM Delegate and oversee closing duties

11:00 PM Go home

11:30 PM Arrive home decompress from work and shower/sleep

Managing a Fine Dining Restaurant After College in Hong Kong
How To Get Into The Field
During my first semester of college, I genuinely wanted to learn and study restaurant operations and management. However, as semesters passed I took different classes, such as marketing and finance courses, and lost interest in restaurant operations and thought maybe I could pursue an alternative career, such as consulting. My senior year of college, I made a last minute decision to study abroad in Italy. My decision to study abroad was one the best decisions I’ve made in my life. As a majority of college students who pack their bags for a semester in Europe, I fell in love with the food and culture. When I returned for my final semester in the U.S. I really missed Italy. I found a way to enjoy my love for Italian cuisine by taking frequent trips to NYC from upstate New York and eating at great restaurants with Italian cuisine.

My decision to study abroad somewhat put me in a difficult position to find a job right out of college when I returned home for my final spring semester. I chose to study abroad in the fall semester of when a majority of corporate campus recruit and interview on campus for graduating seniors. I panicked my spring semester of college because I thought all the good jobs were taken. A few months later I got lucky and my friend referred me to work for a famous Italian-American Chef and be a part of his opening management team in Hong Kong. After I got the job, I regretted ever doubting myself for choosing to study abroad in Italy. During my interview at the restaurant with the executive chef, all I talked about was my time in Italy and all the places I went and the food I ate.

What Do You Really Do?
Before I was hired to work in my current restaurant, I had never worked in a fine dining restaurant. I envisioned working in a fine dining to be glamorous and easier than a casual fast-paced restaurant. I was completely wrong. Fine dining requires so many little behind the scene details such as wine training knowledge and table setting standards. I was a part of the opening team of a brand new restaurant in a new country I had never visited before. I was required to train an international staff on Italian cuisine and wine and teach them how to properly pronounce words like “prosciutto.” I work with a team of managers from all over the world, and it was initially my duty to teach them the western style of service and interacting with guests.
Pros/Cons of Your Job
I mainly enjoy my job because I get to work in an international setting in a new country. I consider myself lucky I got to travel and live on the other side of the world right out of college. I don’t enjoy the working hours in restaurants. Working hours are consistently long and grueling. Hong Kong food and beverage workdays are 6 days a week and 12-14 hours a day typically. However, I enjoy meeting new people and teaching guests who’ve never tried a lot of our Italian dishes about the cuisine and the ingredients.

Tour My Hong Kong Apartment

Quick Stats on Hong Kong

Job Opportunities: High
Competition for Housing: Medium
Housing Cost: Medium
Population of Young People: High
Nightlife: High
Safety: High
Biggest Industries: Exports, Finance, Hospitality, and Teaching

The Life of a College Grad In Hong Kong


Living in Hong Kong after College

What's it Like to Live Here?
Hong Kong, in my opinion, is one of the best cities to move to right after graduating college. The city is full of energy. The people that I'm surrounded by constantly make me feel motivated and ready to work. Sometimes work life here can be extremely draining. However, the greatest thing about living in this city is the nightlife and availability of great restaurants and bars. You can choose from tasty cheap street food or enjoy an intimate night of eloquent fine dining. Even people who love outdoor activities and sports would love Hong Kong. This city has some of the best hiking trails.

How Did I End Up Here?
I grew up in a small town in Northern Nevada. I worked a part-time job in a sushi restaurant in High School and developed a passion the industry. In high school I wasn't sure where I wanted to go to school or what major to choose. I happened to browse through the Cornell University Prospective Students catalog and found the section for the Hotel School. I applied, and I luckily got accepted. I was privileged to attend a great university and made great friends and professors.
After university, my friend who was already working for Mario Batali helped refer me for a job interview. During my job interview, I was asked if I would want to join as one the opening managers for a brand new restaurant in Hong Kong. I immediately took the offer and considered myself lucky to get a job offer right out of college to live and work in Asia.
My Set-Up
Rent in Hong Kong is extremely pricy and expensive and takes a big chunk out of my paycheck. I have lived in Hong Kong for a year now. When I first moved to Hong Kong, I was unfamiliar with the market, so I trusted a real estate agent to help me find a tiny apartment that was less than 150 square feet (smaller than an typical hotel room), and I was paying close to $1,250 US. After I made some friends in Hong Kong. I found a couple roommates and a sweet 3 bedroom 2-bathroom apartment for the same price and it was ten times the space. I did more farther away from my work than where I used to live though .

Closing Advice


If you ever decide to move to overseas for a new job, I definitely would visit the country before your move out here or least ask a lot of people who have lived in the country before for some advice. Always diligently check your employment contract for insurance and the penalties or consequences, in case you want to quit your job earlier than what’s agreed upon your contract.

Research cost-of-living and check to see that it matches your starting salary. Also, I suggest finding an apartment UNDER your initial budget. You are most likely to move out of your first place after one year after you’re settled in the city you’re in and now your surroundings better than when you first move to a new city.

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