Simon Kurz Boehringer Ingelheim
26 July 2017
Sarah Pfeffer

First B, then A

From the Ingelheim cafeteria to the Adlon Kempinski hotel in Berlin — the time Simon Kurz spent at Boehringer Ingelheim training to be a waiter has certainly paid off. He started his first job in October 2016, working in the events department at the world-renowned luxury hotel.

“Workers are in demand in my industry, but it is unusual to land a job at the Adlon right out of training,” says Simon, 22, with a smile. Along with two young women, he began his apprenticeship in the hospitality industry at Boehringer Ingelheim in 2013. He recently became a “commis de rang,” the industry’s designation for a waiter during the first few years after completing training. Boehringer Ingelheim was able to keep him on staff only temporarily, so Simon started looking for a job. He discovered that the luxury Adlon hotel was hiring. After only a week he was invited to come for an interview, then to take a practical test to demonstrate his skills. “Five days later they called to say that they wanted to hire me.”


For the next two years, Simon Kurz will be working at the hotel’s restaurant, Quarré, serving guests who are there to enjoy a meal and the view of the Brandenburg Gate. As a banquet waiter in the hotel’s events department, he handles all aspects of table service, such as setting the tables. He also conveys the guests’ orders to the kitchen and assists his supervisor.


Multifaceted training


“The multifaceted training I received at Boehringer Ingelheim helped convince the Adlon to hire me,” says Simon, who was born in Mainz and describes himself as a “service guy.” He’s the first in his family to pursue this career. A research-driven pharmaceutical company training young people for a career in the hospitality industry? That piques our curiosity and provokes further questions. Simon had a similar reaction a little over three years ago, as he was looking for an apprenticeship. “But I quickly recognized that the training I would receive at Boehringer Ingelheim was much broader than I was likely to find elsewhere. It ranged from anniversary dinners to Christmas celebrations and from banquets for large-scale events to conference meals.” He served members of the Boehringer family as well as executives and “regular” employees. “I got to know people from all over the world, and my English improved significantly.” For his new employer, that was a point in his favor. “Boehringer Ingelheim prepared me very well,” says Simon, listing a number of factors that are important for succeeding in his chosen occupation: an outgoing nature, knowledge of wine and food, and “being able to explain things.”


A new challenge in Berlin


What does Simon find appealing about his new challenge in Berlin? “Obviously it is exciting to interact with the very different kinds of people you meet in a big city and at this luxury hotel in particular—from businesspeople to tourists, and big stars as well as lesser-known celebrities. You have to be flexible and able to respond appropriately to the people you are dealing with. Being friendly is the most important thing, of course. Even if you’re having a bad day, you need to remain absolutely professional. I’m still learning a lot every single day, so it’s all incredibly exciting. Of course, I am now assuming more responsibility for planning and organization, and also in my dealings with colleagues and the entire team. I am even helping to train apprentices, which I really enjoy—and I have a great deal to offer them because of my own experience and training. I am proud to be able to share my knowledge to help them learn and improve. I am also eager to advance in my career. Two levels separate my current job from that of banquet manager. And now that I have a two-year contract, a lot of doors are open to me.”


Tenacity and initiative lead to success


What advice would Simon give apprentices in the hospitality industry? “To pursue a career in this industry, you need a strong will, initiative, ambition, resilience, a talent for organization and an ability to see the big picture. You also have to be assertive and able to accept responsibility, and above all you need to be friendly and a team player. Training at Boehringer Ingelheim definitely gives you the tools you need for a successful future.”


Simon is enjoying his work in Berlin and likes living in a large city. All the same, he misses his colleagues and network at Boehringer Ingelheim. “I received so much positive feedback from all sides—and that gave me the self-confidence I needed to make the move to Berlin.” He plans to keep in touch with Boehringer Ingelheim, both during and after his time at the Adlon hotel.

"Training at Boehringer Ingelheim definitely gives you the tools you need for a successful future, says Simon Kurz, banquet waiter at the Adlon Kempinski hotel in Berlin. "
Sarah Pfeffer
Simon Kurz Boehringer Ingelheim

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