Internships: Wake Up & Smell The Coffee!

As a student of any field we always seek an internship experience before entering the job world “full-time”. It helps with a better transition to a full-time position. An internship always helps us to gain hands-on experience and helps us to stand out from the rest of candidates.

However, in today’s competitive world it is becoming more and more difficult to get an internship opportunity.

As a Food Science student, I was always interested in working at a Food Manufacturing site, to acquire knowledge and to gain hands-on experience. I tried applying at different Food manufacturing companies but couldn’t get into any.

I was trying to balance my master’s coursework, laboratory research, and internship applications. That’s when I stumbled upon a part-time job at Aramark – a food catering service and it struck me that it is a food business as well, so why not to give it a try?

I did my research on different job position available at Aramark and through that I concluded that a position of Foodservice worker can help me gain experience. With my background as a Food science student, it was easy to get into Aramark.

I started working there and it helped me to gain a lot of new experiences, such as:

  • How to take product and equipment temperatures
  • The importance of different temperature range in the supply of safe food
  • The importance of utilizing appropriate storage conditions for different types of food
  • The importance of cleaning in food premises/environments.
  • The necessity of high standard for structure and equipment and their sanitation procedures.
  • Avoiding cross contamination and how to deal with allergens.
  • Good Manufacturing Practices such as wearing gloves while handling food, wearing hairnets, etc.

These experiences helped me to a grab an opportunity to work as a Quality Assurance technician at a leading food company!

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While working at Aramark, I also got an opportunity to work as a barista. While working as a barista, I realized there’s mote to it than just making and pouring coffee, it also involved a lot of product development – yes that’s right!

A Barista Does More Than Pour Your Coffee

How so….?

Consumers nowadays are not only realizing different flavors but also nutritious beneficial effects of coffee. Hence, giving rise to more and more “healthy” options on the menu. There are consumers who suffer from Flavor allergy – yes right! Therefore, just sitting in a lab, you are never going to understand a ‘food counter expectation’ or what exactly a consumer expects.

You NEED to have a consumer interaction at some point to deliver the expected result. In order to meet different demands, you have to twist and alter (in a good way obviously!) your product. Thus, adding more and more to the product development experience.  

This experience is now helping me at my current job, where I work as Project lead to develop different flavors for my product. I have an idea about what a consumer in front of the food counter expects thus helping me to develop a product more consumer-oriented than lab-oriented.

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Now, the question arises, how do I let other employees know what have I learned from my experience? Here are some thoughts on it:

  • Good Manufacturing Practices
  • Followed safety and sanitation procedures in compliance with safety practices
  • Verified that prepared food is in compliance with Food safety and quality standards
  • Sound knowledge of varying storage conditions required for different food

I would like to quote a suggestion on the resume by Ashley Stahl, who is a career coach and speaker to millennial job hunters around the world.

Become aware of your soft skills.

If it’s not your primary career focus, you might not have undertaken barista exams or bartending lessons, but you will certainly have picked up transferable soft skills. Dealing with the general public day after day is not easy, no matter where you are based. Customer service leads you to think on your feet and builds your empathetic capacities —managers in hospitality are said to have extraordinarily high rates of emotional intelligence — and here was my client about to delete those two years at Starbucks from history.

I had some of the best times of my life working behind a bar — it’s sociable, it’s fun, and you’re constantly learning about people. Never be ashamed to say that you worked in this level of customer service if it isn’t your lifelong goal. Let’s be honest. There are a lot of people out there who couldn’t do the job that you did. The benefits of a tough, entry-level job like being a barista far outweigh having to explain why you spent two years making coffee at Starbucks, so get it back on your résumé. And own it” -Ashely Stahl

In this article, I have only shared my experience, but I am sure other roles will also teach you many different things which you will definitely find useful.

Authors: Debomitra Dey & Soniya Katekar

We are a team of two food tech grads now serving in the food processing industry, and working towards our undying passion for FOOD!!

The aim of building this platform is to reach out all food grads and professionals to create a network for bridging the gap between academics and the industry; consumers and the industry.

Our love for our job and passion is the result of The Food Tech Club Team, so let’s work together and inspire the world and fill in our inquisitive minds!! Shout out to the Food Tech Community!!

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