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New user
Great Britain (Manchester)
45 Posts

Profile of killaklownkris
Hi all, been doing magic for about 22 months now and loving it/sleeping it and eating it!!! I try to practice any chance I have but its not the same as performing to a crowd. I have friends who have said I'm capaple of doing it in restaurants and bars,and many semi pros always have told me,the more you perform live the better and quicker you become. I have started performing in front of an audience and in bars,and it was quite nerve racking,especially when I was sober, haha. But it seems to be getting easier. Where do I go from here? Do I get a few routines set up? My current tricks if it helps include, mystery box, simple card tricks, reincardnation, wow, spongeballs, charming chinese challenge, card to ceiling ,IT and working on chop cups. Thanks guys. kris
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Inner circle
NJ, U.S.
6112 Posts

Profile of Jaz
You definitely need a couple of 'sets' of 2 or 3 effects and some decent patter to start. These should be able to be done 'in hands' or with minimum table space.

Working restaurants is more than doing magic. Read in the Table Hopping section about what you should say when asked by the manager what you can offer the restaurant.

Visit local restaurants and get a feel for each place and how it operates.
Bring a quick trick that you might use for the wait staff and/or cashier and lets them know you're kind of special. This should get them talking about you. Money effects work well. Don't over do the tricks. One is enough this time.

Go back later with a strong set of tricks and ask if the manager is available to talk about a job. If he/she is there then fine. If not show one trick and leave some contact info.

When you do connect with the manager show him/her a couple of tricks and offer a free hour of magic for the patrons.

You will find other more knowledgable opinions on getting such jobs elsewhere on the Café and they're likely more experienced than me.

Use your common sense and good luck to you.
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Inner circle
Essex, UK
1381 Posts

Profile of themagiciansapprentice
I agree with that advise above.

Take your tricks with you when you have a meal and SHOW YOUR FRIENDS. Soon the waiter and people around you will want to see them if you are good enough. Getting a booking there means you have to quickly build a relationship with these strangers AND they have a budget for that kind of thing. Try at first offering your services for tips or a free meal for a short set if no other magician already has that booking. Then negotiate a real fee when they really want you.

It's worked for me in four countries so far.
Have wand will travel! Performing children's magic in the UK for Winter 2014 and Spring 2015.
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Inner circle
Pittsburgh, Pa
2971 Posts

Profile of davidpaul$
With all due respect because you have a few tricks down and you have received compliments regarding your technique does NOT mean you should be entering the restaurant or any other field for pay. Now this is just me, but I didn't start performing professionally (being paid) for 5 years after my sincere interest and study. Even then I started out slowly and carefully.

You can quite literally hurt the industry if you, like Jaz commented, don't realize it so much more that doing magic. Without going in to detail, do a search on starting in restaurants. You will find hundreds of posts on this topic. I can understand your excitement and the compliments you've received are encouraging, but don't let them go to your head. There are some great books written on the subject in fact Jim Sisti just came out with a new one. See here: also

You'd better be informed. Read and learn as much as you can regarding restaurant
work, especially interacting with the patrons and waitstaff as well as the flow of the restaurant. That's just for starters. I hope you take advantage of the "search" feature. ALL of your questions will be answered, even those you didn't think to ask.. All the best..... Oh and the advice to work for tips, even just for starters,
run away from that idea. (My humble opinion, sorry)
David Paul
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
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Veteran user
London, England
316 Posts

Profile of Mustang
I would recommmend getting Ammar's book, it has some awesome and very practical advice about to become a working magician - plus 10 (very useful) techniques for negotiation fees.
"A magician is one who appreciates the difference between knowing how a trick is done, and knowing how to do a trick."
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New user
South Africa
56 Posts

Profile of Irfaan
Tommy Wonder's Books of Wonder has a nice section on restaurant magic, with a lot of emphasis on how to approach a group.
I Believe
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Inner circle
Good ole Virginia
1891 Posts

Profile of slyhand
Sankey has some ideas in his "The Real Work on Restaurant and Bars" DVD. I have not used them so I don't know if they actually work. Although the routines are good.
I am getting so tired of slitting the throats of people who say that I am a violent psychopath.

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Loyal user
213 Posts

Profile of davidpeters
The restaurant Magic Reader by Jim Sisti is now available!

This is a real nice book! We just got them in so you can ask your favorite dealer and they should be able to get it for you.

This is a must if you work or plan on working restaurants.
Nick Singh
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Regular user
133 Posts

Profile of Nick Singh
I'd suggest that you get your chops down. that's the most important thing in my book for someone getting a restaurant job. Before I got mine, I not only ensured that my magic would amaze lay people, I made sure that I kept my personality interesting by emceeing at events and carrying out other forms of arts.

Its your decision on when you think you're ready to get a proper restaurant gig. I'd suggest though that you ensure you have the ability to really blow away the restaurant managers when they assess you.
Magician and Emcee in Singapore -
Youtube channel of travel videos and podcasts -
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Inner circle
Harrisburg, PA
1432 Posts

Profile of mmreed
Lots of advice flowing here... most of it is solid...

However, I think before you venture into any of this, do youself a favor and check out Jim Pace's book "Restaurant Worker's Handbook by Jim Pace & Jerry Macgregor" Everyone claims thier book is a must have... but this book is the bible. The pros that wrote the other books even acknowledge this.

Go through it completely.

Then get yourself a few of Bob Sheets DVDs on Hospitality series.
Mark Reed
Wedding and Event Entertainment
Jim Sisti
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457 Posts

Profile of Jim Sisti
On 2009-02-12 13:18, mmreed wrote:
Everyone claims thier book is a must have... but this book is the bible. The pros that wrote the other books even acknowledge this.

This is not true at all. The Pace/MacGregor book, while well written, was widely seen as being somewhat derivative of the at least half-dozen works on this subject that preceded it. The idea that "the pros that wrote the other books even acknowledge this" is, to put it politely, fanciful.

There are no "bibles" regarding the subject of restaurant magic - that's nonsense - but if there were, I would nominate Kirk Charles' book, which saw three editions published.
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