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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Why I don't do restaurant work (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

MagicalArtist
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Hobart, Indiana
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I think it would be a good career move for me to become a restaurant magician, but there's one thing that's keeping me from making the effort: I'm not convinced that magicians really add that much to the dining experience.

Do people really go to a restaurant just because there's a magician there? To me, it seems the primary reason people go to restaurants is for the food. I personally would not go to a restaurant that had poor food just to see a magician. Also, I'm not sure I would go to a restaurant that had good food any more often just because a magician was there. A magician would not influence my dining choice one way or another, and I eat out at least once a week.

Furthermore, most of the people I see in restaurants are busy chatting with one another. Most people seem to have no trouble making pleasant conversation. I did notice one family eating in a restaurant in almost total silence once, but that is fairly rare (and I do make a habit of noticing these things). And this is during months of eating at restaurants.

The problem is, if I'm not convinced myself that a magician can add much to the restaurant dining experience, I doubt that I could convince a restauranteur that he should hire me. But I would be happy if somebody could change my mind.
Skip Way
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I work restaurants because:
1) It's FUN!
2) It's a steady and reliable income source!
3) It pays quite well on nights that I'd probably otherwise be at home!
4) I pick up regular well-paying gigs by being visible!

I don't really bring new business in nor do I promise to. I don't make dining at my restaurants any more or less pleasurable in general than any of the places that don't have magicians. I don't let my ego run wild thinking that I have the power to make or break a restaurant's evening service. My presence is an enhancement - one more little compliment and thank you for taking the time to walk through those doors.

That said, I DO bring in regular return families on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and they DO tell the manager that they come in because I'm there and the food is great and the service is excellent. I DO receive regular compliments to the manager from families who came in for the first time...and they promise to return. I DO earn my keep, so to speak, and I do it with lots of laughter, a little magic, a balloon or two and V.I.P. treatment for everyone who walks through that door.

I'm frankly grateful to hard-core magicians like you who don't see the value in restaurant gigs or consider it beneath their dignity as gifted purveyors of mystical feats. It makes it easier for guys like me to land the really juicy joints. So...you're absolutely right. It is a total waste of your time and skill.

Trust Me!
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
RJE
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Skip is spot on with this one. Of course it all depends on the restaurant and its target customers.

I have moved away from close up work and therefore walkaround quite some time ago. However, when I did restaurant work, it was very much appreciated by the diners and the restaurants. Diners were often greatly dissappointed if I somehow missed their table. Wait staff would come over and say table such and such wants you to come over and do some tricks for them.

One other advantage for the restaurant was on really busy nights you could fill the time for diners when orders were slower coming out.

Team up with the right restaurant and you'll pick up all sorts of extra work and publicity.

All the best,

Rob
Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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As a rule I don't do restaurant magic in the way many do. If I am there I'm paid by a third party sponsor. I don't work for tips. I won't be there again next week.

Restaurant magic serves many purposes.

1. Product placement (corporate)
2. Attracting publicity (corporate)
3. Making entertaining expenses easier to charge back to the employer
4. Product Differentiation (separation of one restaurant image versus another)
5. Keeping the parking lot looking full longer
6. Buying time for the servers and the kitchen
7. Providing contacts (corporate)
8. Making an ordinary event more special

For those with MBAs, there is also the "quiet" versus "loud" store. This is quieter entertainment. (The rule of thumb is that the louder the entertainment the lower the social status of the customer base. The quieter and less intrusive entertainment is indicative of a higher class customer base. I.e. Truck stop bar versus country club.)

Yep! They will pay a magician to be there.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
MagicalArtist
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Hobart, Indiana
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Quote:
On 2007-11-21 16:03, Skip Way wrote:
I work restaurants because:
1) It's FUN!
2) It's a steady and reliable income source!
3) It pays quite well on nights that I'd probably otherwise be at home!
4) I pick up regular well-paying gigs by being visible!


Yeah, but I wasn't asking what's in it for the *magician*...I'm wondering why a restaurant should hire us. What's in it for *them*? Does it fulfill a need they can't get elsewhere?

As Dale Carnegie wrote.

Quote:
Why talk about what we want? That is childish. Absurd. Of course, you are interested in what you want. You are eternally interested in it. But no one else is. The rest of us are just like you: we are interested in what we want...Tomorrow you will want to persuade somebody to so something. Before you speak, pause and ask: "How can I make him *want* to do it?
Skip Way
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I touched on that point when I wrote "My presence is an enhancement - one more little compliment and thank you for taking the time to walk through those doors."

Any entertainer, the magician included, is a simple enhancement to the overall dining experience. We will never overcome a lackluster environment, poor food or miserable service. Individually, we will never be able to claim that we increased the number of guests through the door or added a solitary cent to the all-important bottom line. As a lone entertainer, we offer nothing to the restaurant owner that he or she can't live without.

But as a member of their complete service team the skilled performer can provide a perceived added value to the restaurant guest's dining experience. If the other very real values of attractive environment, food quality and service excellence are all present and consistent, we may offer enough of an added value that this guest may return on a regular basis, may consistently refer the restaurant to their friends & family and they may choose to eat at our restaurant over a competitor's on a more frequent basis. It's that extra little touch that does make a difference.

The skilled performer knows which tables to approach and which to avoid. The skilled performer knows how to make this dining experience fun, exciting and memorable. The skilled performer knows how to support the restaurant and draw these guests back for repeat visits. The skilled performer recognizes the value to his or her client, the restaurant manager or owner, and helps him capitalize on that value.

Figuring out how to fit your skill and personality into that overall team image so that you add something of value to their already outstanding service is your responsibility. If you don't feel you belong in this environment, you never will.
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
mormonyoyoman
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I dug 5,000 postholes, but I have only
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Jim Sisti has answered these questions and more, and probably supplied the "final" answers in his excellent *Professional Restaurant Magic at http://tinyurl.com/3ex866 -- I doubt you'll find a better handbook on getting, keeping, and making the most of a restaurant job. Jim shows you how to be practically indispensable to a place which didn't realize how much they need you.

*jeep!
--Grandpa Chet
#ShareGoodness #ldsconf
MagicalArtist
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Thanks mormonyoyoman, sounds good.
disneywld
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Denver, CO
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I'm not too keen about doing the dining gig. Some tables want you and some tables just want you to leave. I don't like interupting a table - reminds me of an overactive waiter.
The Magic of Christopher Manos
www.safetymagicshows.com
Hart Keene
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Eugene, OR
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Quote:
On 2007-12-01 15:51, disneywld wrote:
I'm not too keen about doing the dining gig. Some tables want you and some tables just want you to leave. I don't like interupting a table - reminds me of an overactive waiter.


After doing it a while you develop a "sixth sense" as to which tables will be receptive to your magic...

Everything that everyone has said is so true about the advantages of working in a restaurant. It will also make you a better magician! You will log a ton of flight time and quite frankly I don't know how I would get the majority of my gigs without the restaurants. If you don't think that people come to see a magician then you are mistaken or you haven't done it. You are a magician, I should hope that you wouldn't go to a restaurant just to see another magician! Every time I go in to work there are reservations for people who came just to see me. The manager and hostess will also mention how many calls they receive from people checking to see when I'm there.

If you have doubts about what you can add to the environment at a restaurant or its just "not your thing" then please stay away. We don't need a magician at every restaurant and certainly don't need people who don't know why they are there. It really isn't for everyone, some nights you won't feel like going(especially when you are working multiple restaurants and a day job), there will be tables you won't like. You might have a "pet" routine that you think is the best thing since sliced bread but falls flat. You will quickly learn what works and what doesn't, that's for sure. The worst part is GETTING the job, the rest is easy, just make sure you tell every table to mention something to the manager if they enjoyed the magic. This will give you job security.

After reading through the countless materials that are out there(including the Café) and you still don't feel comfortable "selling" the idea to a GM, I would say its time to move on. Because if you don't believe in the product(you), no GM will either, and he certainly won't pay you what you want. But start with changing the attitude that a magician offers nothing to a restaurant...

I don't want to come off as a "know it all", I have only been performing full time in restaurants for 5 years, but wait till you see what you have learned after 1...
-Hart

Check out my website:
Magician Portland Oregon
criverstamu09
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I think that magicians in restaurants just add something that will stick into customers minds. I don't think that people come just because there is a magician, but the next time you are sitting around and you want to go eat, the restaurant with a magician may pop into your head quicker because they have something other restaurants don't.
"Who you are moment to moment is just a story."
DT3
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Hill Valley
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Quote:
On 2007-11-21 15:08, MagicalArtist wrote:
I think it would be a good career move for me to become a restaurant magician, but there's one thing that's keeping me from making the effort: I'm not convinced that magicians really add that much to the dining experience.

Do people really go to a restaurant just because there's a magician there? To me, it seems the primary reason people go to restaurants is for the food. I personally would not go to a restaurant that had poor food just to see a magician. Also, I'm not sure I would go to a restaurant that had good food any more often just because a magician was there. A magician would not influence my dining choice one way or another, and I eat out at least once a week.

Furthermore, most of the people I see in restaurants are busy chatting with one another. Most people seem to have no trouble making pleasant conversation. I did notice one family eating in a restaurant in almost total silence once, but that is fairly rare (and I do make a habit of noticing these things). And this is during months of eating at restaurants.

The problem is, if I'm not convinced myself that a magician can add much to the restaurant dining experience, I doubt that I could convince a restauranteur that he should hire me. But I would be happy if somebody could change my mind.


Hi Magical Artist,

No disrespect meant but judging from the above comments, you obviously have not seen a really good restaraunt magician.

I don't want to mention his name, but there is an artist down here that I go see (he works behind a bar) and I have no idea what the food tastes like, cuz I am (and my guests too) so drawn into what he does as a performer.

Be great with what you do...hold a standard higher for yourself than you have ever imagined, and people will flock to see you even if the only thing on the menu was those sheep testes from that movie "Funny Farm".

PM me if you want a less esoteric conversation.

D.
Blair Marshall
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Montreal, Canada
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I worked at an upscale Hotel brunch for 5 years, every Sunday. It was surprising the family celebrations that would be held there. (Bill average $35.00 per head) I know that when they received a call for a "family event" and there would be young folks there (not just little ones), they were able to close the sale and book it by the fact that they had some entertainment there. Meal time would last approx. 2 hours so the fact that there was someone there to entertain made the difference. (Groups could be 10 - 30 people, big $$$)

Blair Marshall
"ShaZzam!"
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