Victoria Lavarreda finished her studies by completing a unique management training internship at Bruxie. The popular waffle sandwich restaurant has three locations in Orange County with plans to grow.
By Victoria Lavarreda
I have been in the hospitality industry for almost five years now. Even in this short amount of time, I have already seen people come and go, and trends come and go. When I saw how popular the Bruxie phenomenon had become, I thought to myself, “I have to get in on this.” I had been working at a familyowned Italian deli for four years where I learned the basics of customer service in the food industry. It was a great place to start. But eventually, I looked for a place where I could move up the ranks. Bruxie provided that opportunity.
I was hired on at their second location in Brea. Originally, I was a cashier. It did get tiresome but I knew that if I wanted to move up, I had to put in my time. My managers all knew I wanted to do something more for Bruxie. They knew that I attended The Collins College, and during my interviews, I made it a point to mention that I wanted more responsibility. I wanted to become a manager if not more.
After doing well as a cashier, they soon asked me to become a Certified Bruxie Trainer, and I began to train new employees on the register. I helped them understand the Bruxie culture and work ethic. Not long after, our General Manager, Nick, approached me with a fantastic opportunity. He understood our program at The Collins College and the Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch class. He asked if I could use Bruxie as an internship to substitute HRT 383, the class where student’s run the RKR. He invited me to go through Bruxie’s manager training program where I would learn all their back-of-house, front-of-house and manager duties. I also would be on the opening team for the Bruxie in Rancho Santa Margarita.
Associate Dean Michael Godfrey agreed this would be a good opportunity for me and granted me permission to swap the RKR class with the internship. Additionally, he required me to take Small Business Ventures in the Hospitality Industry taught by Laura Pohopien. This new class and Opening Your Own Restaurant taught by Michael Hawkins were probably the most exciting and informative classes I took at The Collins College. They helped me pull together my ideas for my ultimate goal of opening my own restaurant or bakery.
I learned so much from my training at Bruxie. I also saw how my coursework applied in the “real world.” One day, while I was working in the back, we made a roux, which I had learned to do in Professional Cooking I. I was so excited. At Bruxie, I have also applied labor cost analysis, cost control and accounting techniques, which I learned about in my classes.
Working with a small, up-andcoming business is a valuable learning experience. Being with any company that is opening new locations is exciting and an experience I would encourage everyone to try. Bruxie has definitely provided me with some great experience and knowledge. With everything I have learned here I know I have the skills and knowledge to open up my own restaurant or bakery eventually. Learning the ins and outs of a growing company is very valuable. While I do miss the fact that I will never have that “383 experience,” I wouldn’t change what I learned at Bruxie for anything. They have allowed me to further my learning more than I could ever imagine.
This story originally appeared in the 2012 fall issue of Collins magazine.
Victoria Lavarreda did a management internship with Bruxie. She is now a supervisor with the company.