(Close Window)
Topic: How to book the weekly restaurant gig?
Message: Posted by: MDS (Jun 16, 2005 12:25PM)
I have worked restaurants in the past, but I was still in high school and between that and my other shows, it became very difficult to do the restaurant gig twice a week. I did manage to do it for 2 1/2 years though.

However, now that I am in college I have a lot more free time to do a restaurant. It has been so long since I have had to approach an owner/manager that I am lost as to how to approach them with a proposal. Any help is appreciated.

Thanks,

Matthew
Message: Posted by: JustinVisible (Jun 16, 2005 12:30PM)
Hey Matt, the way I go about(even as this posts) is calling the restaurant and just telling them you were in over the weekend with your parents and your mother loved the place:the food, the server, the atmosphere, etc.... and your mother wants you to send a letter about how wonderful the place is. Just ask whoever answers for the name of the manager and/or the owner so you can address your letter to their attention. You be surprised how easily it can be acheived. JPV
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Jun 16, 2005 01:03PM)
There are many topics on this in this section. Do a search on "getting work" and "reataurant gig" and you should find a lot of good info.
Message: Posted by: Kozmo (Jun 16, 2005 01:13PM)
Here what you do.....find out when the manager or owner is going to be there....

go there and talk to the bar tender...pick a quiet night....tell him you are a magi, likely he will ask for a trick...do a few and if he likes it tell him you are looking for restaurant gigs...he leikly will go get the manager right there on the spot...works about 1 out 3 or 4 times...

sending out packages is throwing good money into the fire....dont bother...they have never seen what you do so is a package gonna explain it
koz
Message: Posted by: JeffWampler (Jun 16, 2005 08:25PM)
Hey Matt,

I know Michael Eaton has some excellent advice waiting for you.

In the meantime, cold calling restaurants is really the most sure fire way of doing it (although not the easiest).

Remember when proposing your offer to a restaurant (whether cold calling, by a set appointment, or otherwise) you have to speak their language.

The general manager (GM) is not interested in the awards you won or how great a magician you are. He is interested in how you can make his current guests happy, bring in more customers, and bring the current ones back in more often. That's right...the money.

Speaking of which, only speak with the GM. I spent the first two years of my professional career talking to assistant and kitchen managers. These people can't make decisions...the GM can...talk to the GM.

If you could bring in more customers knitting toe socks for turtles he would hire you. It just so happens magic is your vehicle for entertainment, so we'll go with that.

I've heard some magicians say that if the GM doesn't like magic in the first place, you won't get hired. That is probably true sometimes. However, some people are so h**d****d that they're only concerned with the bottom line (money). And if you can help with that, then they'll hire you regardless of what you do or if they like it or not (toe socks for turtles?).

Put together a little promo kit geared specifically for restaurants. I know you do a bird/pirate act...this stuff shouldn't be in there since you're not doing this at the restaurant.

You could list your awards in your bio...this will give you credentials and credibility in magic. This is good since magic is what you're doing in the restaurant.

Be prepared for several "No's" before you get a yes...you may get lucky and get a "yes" your first try.

Also be prepared to visit the same restaurant again and again. Persistence does pay off.

Good luck Matt...I'm sure we'll hear of your restaurant success on here soon!
Message: Posted by: MDS (Jun 16, 2005 10:09PM)
Thanks everyone for your advice. Another difficult thing that I need to consider is that I do corporate work and other touring averaging about 300,000 miles per year. The main reason that I would like to work a restaurant is due to the question that I get asked almost daily "Where can I see you perform next?" This is a very difficult question to answer because only about 20% of my shows are around where I live and most are private. I would like to be able to tell them that they can see me every _______ night at _________.

I have all of the necessary promo material. I think that I am ready to start cold calling.

Thanks again for your help.

P.S.~ Jeff- I quit performing my pirate act about 6 months ago and use only my Macaw in some cases. Not many though.

Matthew
Message: Posted by: Erik Anderson (Jun 20, 2005 01:06PM)
Jeff,
Well said. I've done restaurants for years (and have had restaurants I've worked for years too). That is dead on the money for how to get them. You actually said it better than I would have so there's just no sense in my saying anything else.
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Jun 20, 2005 05:44PM)
Mathew,

I found sending a brief one page letter to the general manger worked well. In the letter, you introduce yourself, tell the manager how your magic can help the restaurant and finish by saying you will call in a few days to arrange a free hour of magic so the manager can see how it all works.

Good luck,
James
Message: Posted by: MDS (Jun 21, 2005 11:43AM)
Good advice James, thanks.

Matthew
Message: Posted by: Joe Mauro (Jun 22, 2005 02:36AM)
[quote]
On 2005-06-16 14:13, tedb wrote:
Here what you do.....find out when the manager or owner is going to be there....

go there and talk to the bar tender...pick a quiet night....tell him you are a magi, likely he will ask for a trick...do a few and if he likes it tell him you are looking for restaurant gigs...he leikly will go get the manager right there on the spot...works about 1 out 3 or 4 times...

sending out packages is throwing good money into the fire....dont bother...they have never seen what you do so is a package gonna explain it
koz
[/quote]

This sound slike such a non-threatening way to do this. It's subtle and clever.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 22, 2005 12:54PM)
Your first problem will be if you travel 300,000 miles a year when will you have time to help make the establishment money? If the only reason you want to do work is so people can see you and not to help the owner, he will spot this immediatly. What kind of deal do you want to negotiate, where you can work any time you happen to be in town and in the mood? I say this not to be harsh, but so you can see what the pitch you are making sounds like to an owner. I bought the place I worked for so believe me I have perspective.
You have to be able to offer something great for them for what they consider relativly little in layout. Restaurant onwers are not notorious for spending money hoping that they will eventually see a return on the investment. They already have taken that risk by opening the place. Getting them to do it again requires finesse.
When you tell them you will increase business this is a tough sell. You have NO numbers to back this up, it is an intangible and truley unprovable. Worse yetif business does not increase because of other factors, YOU will be held accountable for it usually. Do not put yourself in that position. Make sure your success in your own hands.
The absolute best way to do it is to make it seem as if it is someone elses idea in the first place. When I started working at the place here, I did just that. By doing tricks for the bartender and having him ask me to do them for others at the bar, and then the owner and the owner saying " Hey people love this why don't we figure out how to do this for everyone all the time?", it was HIS idea. He was then behind it 100%. Also this puts you in a better negotiating position for things like salary and time off. If HE is buying instead of being sold it makes a huge difference.
In short it is about perspective. If they feel it is their idea, if they feel you don't need a job, if you have something they WANT even more than NEED, you are in a great position. Otherwise you can do cold calls, and hit maybe 1 out of 100. My approach takes a lot more time and effort, but it keeps you working a lot longer for better money. And what ever way you decide, if it works for you CONGRATS!

GOOD LUUCK!!!!!!!!
Message: Posted by: MDS (Jun 22, 2005 10:44PM)
Danny,

Notice that I said that is the main reason, not the only. I understand where you are coming from, but I have no intentions of letting the owner/manager know that. I have worked restaurants in the past and was able to work around my other performances. Of course I wasn't traveling near as much as I am now, but it can be worked out. Thank you very much for your advice.

Matthew
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 23, 2005 11:21AM)
Matthew,

Sorry to say only. But look at the other ideas, they will help beleive me. My point mainly was not to APPEAR selfish, that really was what I was trying to convey. Sorry for the misunderstanding. My bad!

Hope it works well for you

Danny
Message: Posted by: MDS (Jun 24, 2005 01:07PM)
No problem, thanks for the advice.

Matthew
Message: Posted by: Scott Compton (Jul 14, 2005 08:35PM)
Hey Matthew,

Bill Malone has some great tips on this very subject on his "On the Loose" series. It may help....

Scott Compton
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jul 14, 2005 09:53PM)
[quote]
On 2005-06-16 23:09, MDS wrote:
Thanks everyone for your advice. Another difficult thing that I need to consider is that I do corporate work and other touring averaging about 300,000 miles per year. The main reason that I would like to work a restaurant is due to the question that I get asked almost daily "Where can I see you perform next?" This is a very difficult question to answer because only about 20% of my shows are around where I live and most are private. I would like to be able to tell them that they can see me every _______ night at _________.

I have all of the necessary promo material. I think that I am ready to start cold calling.

Thanks again for your help.

P.S.~ Jeff- I quit performing my pirate act about 6 months ago and use only my Macaw in some cases. Not many though.

Matthew

[/quote]

300,000 miles? Touring? Whay are you even bothering looking for resturant work? Did you see Copperfield table hopping in TGI Friday's???????
Message: Posted by: MDS (Jul 14, 2005 11:12PM)
Chris,

I am NOT touring 300,000 miles, that is just the average number of miles that I travel to perform each year. There is a difference between touring (hitting as many places in a straight line as you can) and doing fly in performances (being hired to perform in one place, flying there, performing, flying back).
Message: Posted by: amakar (Jul 15, 2005 12:32PM)
Has anyone tried direct mailing to a restaurant list vs. the cold calling approach. For a few bucks, it seems like it would save you a lot of time.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 15, 2005 03:34PM)
Amakar..... direct mail has a horrible return rate of less than 1%. Why bother?
Message: Posted by: weepinwil (Jul 16, 2005 11:25AM)
If you eat out a lot, just do a couple tricks for the people around you on your way out and it will most likely get the managers attention if the paid staff are watching. Just a friendly approach after the demonstration may be all it takes to get the job. Remember "it is easier to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission." A demo unasked for has never created ill will for me.