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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » How to Successfully Book a Restaurant (28 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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JeffWampler
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Bristol, TN
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The part about getting the contact information and finding out if they are corporately owned is priceless. However, I would caution not to be totally turned off by a corporately owned restaurant. The chain of command is a little different, and many times these places have a budget for entertainment. Very good information!!!
ThatsJustWrong!
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My flying monkeys are perched on
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I used to work tables often back in the 80's and 90's and can agree with everything said here. It was my policy, however, to work for a flat fee and a meal, and not accept tips from guests. Instead, I would encourage the guests to show their appreciation to their servers who I always took the time to get to know by name. Happy servers make life a lot happier for a manager and I DID accept a cut of tips when offered by the staff. Be aware of what they do, the traffic patterns, the pulse of the restaurant and the timing of the meals.Be supportive of the staff in the trenches and they will be supportive of you!
Joe Leo

All entertainers can benefit from some help from an experienced stage director. How about you?

www.MisfitMysteries.com
Decomposed
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Eternal Order
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Good marketing stuff, thanks. I worked a semi- restaurant for years and got good money since the clients coming in paid for entertainment. The economy wrecked that gig though.
Herr Brian Tabor
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West Virginia
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Christopher, thanks so much for taking the time to share this invaluable info with all of us! I am considering finding work in restaurants while I'm still in college, and this helps a lot!
HighClass
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I always work for a set fee and give what ever tips I recieve to the waiter staff working the table. This keeps the staff happy. It also incourages the waite staff to introduce me to table, so I almost never approach cold.
yabi
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Cherry Hill, NJ
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Christopher, the information you shared here is priceless. It takes a lot for any successful person to share their "secrets to success" like you have. It's truly appreciative.
Thank you for making this contribution (again).
WilliamMckeehan
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Moriarty, NM
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Great Post! The info will be very useful if I ever get out there working, thanks!
borderjs
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Great topic, as I am still a beginner I have no plans to use this information anytime soon but I hope I can use it in the future! Thanks everyone for the tips!
Christopher Lyle
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Dallas, Texas
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Glad to hear everyone is finding it helpful! Smile
In Mystery,


Christopher Lyle
Magician, Comic, Daredevil, and Balloon Twisting Genius
For a Good Time...CLICK HERE!
EXTREMENINJA1
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This article is very helpful. I'm 16 and hoping to get into restaurant magic. A couple of questions though. How should I dress? Is a suit or other formal wear the best way? I would feel odd in a suit and don't think I would perform well. Is jeans and a button down shirt + formal shoes a good idea? And finally, if the owner/general manager is not in but the assistant manager asks to take a message, what should I say? I know you said it is not a good idea to talk to the assistant manager but I don't want to be rude.
Christopher Lyle
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Everything you just asked is IN my article...
In Mystery,


Christopher Lyle
Magician, Comic, Daredevil, and Balloon Twisting Genius
For a Good Time...CLICK HERE!
EXTREMENINJA1
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Ah I just noticed the suit bit. But I can't see anything about talking to the assistant manager apart from you shouldn't pitch to them. Though I could just say its a private matter.
Christopher Lyle
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You just answered your own question...
In Mystery,


Christopher Lyle
Magician, Comic, Daredevil, and Balloon Twisting Genius
For a Good Time...CLICK HERE!
EXTREMENINJA1
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So I did... I suppose I'm just nervous and over thinking it Smile
Christopher Lyle
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Indeed
In Mystery,


Christopher Lyle
Magician, Comic, Daredevil, and Balloon Twisting Genius
For a Good Time...CLICK HERE!
Brainbu$ter
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Indianapolis, IN
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Another benefit of having you is:

The servers will receive HIGHER tips when you're there, making the guests happy.
link8822
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Quote:
On 2011-08-02 23:41, jasonpartin wrote:
Great tips from seasoned performers - thanks!

I'll offer a tip from a seasoned performer who has been a first-timer TWICE... I took a 15 year break as other responsibilities dominated my ability to perform a couple of nights a week. I recently returned to working restaurants. My advice is: don't over-think picking a restaurant for your first gig, just visit the place a few times and find an off-time to approach the manager or owner, then be honest about being relatively inexperienced and ask if you could perform before the busy times on an off-night. I choose Thursdays, even though I've been on a break, I have enough experience under my belt to jump back into it and know that I don't enjoy working on weekends. Thursday is a happy medium. Tuesdays or Wednesdays are ideal for a first-time performer, and you could always add more nights after the restaurant sees your value.

Regarding tips, again I recommend not over-analyzing it. Get a few weeks under your belt for free, then figure out what works for you. Personally, I start off by saying that I'm offering a free service provided by the restaurant to ensure that everyone has a good time. I find that this diffuses inevitable tension (most people don't want to be solicited during an already expensive meal), yet I still get tips (even better, they seek me out later in the evening - it's feels more sincere!). Plus, being good pays for itself... focusing on making people feel good and have fun can lead to private parties or corporate gigs that add up more than tips.

Above all, be courteous. All of the analyzing about how to approach a restaurant, how much to charge, or how to get tips goes out the window when performers interrupt a conversation, rush through effects without developing a personal connection, or try to impress people rather than entertain them. If you're a good entertainer (more than a magician), the methods of obtaining money unique to your approach will unfold. Good luck!



Thanks for posting your experience. I'm planning to do restaurant magic this summer & also a 'first time performer' in that I haven't performed magic for pay before. I've only shared it at social events & had a job doing small science shows last year.

To those who work restaurant, do you have experiences in promoting the restaurant's new foods, events, etc. into your routines?
helder
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Great tips from one of the best in this field.


Thanks Lyle.
leolaurindo
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Awesome article.
At least you're not greedy. Instead of writing a lot of ******** to make a book and sell for 30 bucks, you're honest!
Very nice man!
imDavidQ
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Thank you for the generous post. Everything you say is spot on imo.I have some experience working the types of venues you describe. If I may be so presumptuous as to add an addendum. You mentioned (quite rightly so) keeping the gig is equally as important as getting it. May I suggest that your rapport with the wait staff is extremely important. Approaching the table at the right time of their dining experience is paramount. The magician should be an enhancement to the wait staff as well as the patron. Generally speaking. Rule #1 is stay out of the way. No one cares how amazing you are if you're keeping them from eating. Timing is key. My thinkng is, never entertain anyone who doesn't want to be entertained.
I've had good expeience with approaching a table after they've received their drinks and have ordered their meal, and after they've finished their meal before the check has come. I believe it's not a good idea to perform after the check is down, and most cetainly (unless by specially request) when there's payment pending. Many restaurants want to give their customers a memorable expeience and then turn the table over to the next guests to enjoy.
Ask the wait staff if there are any special occasions at their tables, and if you can find out the names of the birthday 'girl' or anniversary couple. This will not only ease your intro, but you may be able to work it into an effect. Tell the wait staff to let you know if they want you to approach a table because they've been waiting a while for their meal or for any othe reason. Do the same for the manager.
My general point is: You will not keep the gig if the staff is not on you side. Sometimes it may only take one person on staff complaining that you're in the way for your status to change.The manager WILL ask the wait staff about you. Do your best to make sure they have something good to say about you. If a customer loves you and raves about you. I usually say, "Tell my boss! No really, tell my boss."

P.S. At least once during your peformance, have the table give "rousing round of applause for Cindy (enter celebrant's/assistant's name here. People at other tables (and hopefully the management) will hear this applause and think that you must be as wondeful as you are. Good Luck.
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