Sydney Pakkala

Major: Hospitality Management
Minor/option/emphasis: Event Management
Company/Organization: Parks Marina - Barefoot Bar
Company/Organization website:
Destination: Okoboji, Iowa
Timeframe: Summer 2021
Advisor/Coordinator Email: briaj


As an intern with The Barefoot Bar, I got to shadow the head of hospitality management for Parks Marina, as well as carry out duties of a manager at Barefoot. Parks Marina owns five restaurants and bars over the city of Okoboji, and once a week I was given a day to work in the office and run errands, and do small tasks for each location. On these days I also worked on tip-outs for the staff so they could get their extra tips in a timely manner. On days where I was not in the office, I was working as a manager at Barefoot. I got to help do inventory, check-in orders and make sure everyone was staying on task and productive. I also was trained to wait and bartend, so I was able to do that a couple of times a week.


My greatest accomplishment during my internship experience was becoming confident working behind the bar. I was able to create recipe sheets for different cocktails and shots we sold on our menu for the bartenders at our location, and everyone who was training and unfamiliar with new drinks found these very helpful. I had no prior bartending experience, but now I feel very comfortable working in a busy bar on a Saturday night.

Learning experience

One of the greatest lessons I learned from my experience is how hard it is to make sure your peers are staying on task and following company policies. As a manager, I was responsible for the actions of other employees throughout the shift. Most of the employees I was in charge of were my age and friends of mine, and I learned that it is hard to have confidence in telling your peers what to do. I did come to realize that once I established confidence in my authority, I had a much easier time asking employees to stay on task and remind them to work hard.

What advice would you give?

I advise students in my major to get as much experience in the industry as possible before deciding on one specific path. I have worked in a few different hospitality settings now, and they have all been so different from each other. The best way to find what you excel at is to try as many things as possible.

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