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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Booking a restaurant? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

satellite23
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Hello,

I have become confident enough in my abilities as a performer that I want to get a decent job at a restaurant. I have done a lot of research into the topic (awesome stuff on this site) but I want to hear it for myself.

A lot of tips that I've read are about actually landing the gig and selling your pitch. Okay...I'm working on that. What I want to know is what KINDS of restaurants are good for getting booked?

Should I go for the huge, country-wide restaurants? I don't think so on that one.
Should I go for a one-shop only, local restaurant? That might be easier to book, but not pay as much.
Should I go for a regional restaurant, something where there are a few places around the city? That may be the best option. What do you guys suggest?
Mowee
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Go to the tablehoppers section...Chris Lyle's sticky answers most of your questions.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......rum=5&44

Search is your friend.
davidpaul$
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Pittsburgh, Pa
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When you say that you are confident enough in your abilities, what exactly does that mean? You can be the best magician and your moves can be flawless, BUT, and that's a big BUT, doesn't mean you are going to get or KEEP a restaurant gig.

How confident are you in your abilities to be personable and like-able? Do you know how to interact with the waitstaff? Do you know when and when not to perform or approach a table? Do you know how to handle TUFF or rude customers? The list goes on and on.

I have steady gigs with national chain restaurants as well as privately owned. It's all about timing, talking to the right person, how you are perceived by the decision maker and how you go about it. Owners and Managers will be looking at you with allot of scrutiny. Appearance is a BIGGY. You'd be surprised how people dress when they go on an interview. Looks like they just did some yard work and decided to go look for a job.

Choosing a restaurant takes as much work as it does studying and practicing your sleights. It doesn't matter if it's a national chain, a regional or local although you will have to work allot harder on the national chain but it's certainly doable. IMO and as it has been stated here more times than I care to mention, do the legwork. Visit the restaurants and have dinner. Check out the restaurants and see if they look like a place you'd like to work. OBSERVE!!!!!!!!!! then follow Christopher Lyle's advice , first post, on the Table Hoppers Party Strollers thread. Nate Kranzo's "The Gig" has been a good resource mentioned here too.

Remember though it's all about "people skills", kindness, being friendly and like-able. You "have" to know the flow of the restaurant and how it runs. If you are confident enough in those abilities then all the best to you!!!!!!!!
David Paul
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
satellite23
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Thanks for the advice, guys. I actually looked at Mr. Lyle's post right before I posted this topic...yes it was very helpful and I will read it many more times before I actually land a restaurant....and them many times after that.

I am confident in my people skills. I know...at least I believe that I know...how to handle rude customers, when to approach people, etc.

Also, tomorrow I am going to a local restaurant that I am very familiar with (it is a local "hotspot" for families of all sizes and ages) with my family right after Sunday Mass. Should I try and talk with the manager right there or make a special trip another day (I mean after I eat the delicious food, of course).

I know I may not land the gig the right way, or even at all. But if I do propose the pitch to the manager tomorrow, I'll have the experience to learn from that would go towards another restaurant.

Anyways, should I do it? With my family sitting right there as well, or ask to go somewhere else where it is more private? I am only 17 and I think it might be strange to be pitching to the manager in front of my parents....might make me look "unprofessional" or childish. However, it might be used to my advantage. If my family is there with me, the manager might be more pressured to accept me.

What do you think?
davidpaul$
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Pittsburgh, Pa
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Quote:
On 2012-01-21 18:21, satellite23 wrote:
Thanks for the advice, guys. I actually looked at Mr. Lyle's post right before I posted this topic...yes it was very helpful and I will read it many more times before I actually land a restaurant....and them many times after that.

I am confident in my people skills. I know...at least I believe that I know...how to handle rude customers, when to approach people, etc.

Also, tomorrow I am going to a local restaurant that I am very familiar with (it is a local "hotspot" for families of all sizes and ages) with my family right after Sunday Mass. Should I try and talk with the manager right there or make a special trip another day (I mean after I eat the delicious food, of course).

I know I may not land the gig the right way, or even at all. But if I do propose the pitch to the manager tomorrow, I'll have the experience to learn from that would go towards another restaurant.

Anyways, should I do it? With my family sitting right there as well, or ask to go somewhere else where it is more private? I am only 17 and I think it might be strange to be pitching to the manager in front of my parents....might make me look "unprofessional" or childish. However, it might be used to my advantage. If my family is there with me, the manager might be more pressured to accept me.

What do you think?


Thanks for stating your age, which is a factor. It's going to be a much harder sell for you, but there have been others here on The Café that have gotten work. Owners and managers have to maintain an IMAGE so you are going to have to prove yourself. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you be comfortable with a young person barely legal to drive roaming the restaurant interacting with his/her clientele??
I'm not saying you wouldn't be terrific, but typically a manager/owner is going to be much more skeptical.......

In regards to talking with the manager while you are there with your parents??????.....Bad move in my opinion. I think you would be better off setting up an appointment (on a different day) and speak with him/her by yourself. You can reference that you were there and had dinner and just want to talk to him/her for a few minutes. (much more professional) There are also times of the day to do this that are more effective. Do you drive and have a means of transportation??

I can tell that you have much to learn by reading your post. It would be wise to really study the subject by reading some excellent books first. The Restaurant Worker's Handbook http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/S9959
"The Complete Guide to Restaurant and Walk Around Magic" by Kirk Charles
also get a hold of "Live at The Jail House" DVD set

I really think you should get a little more educated regarding restaurant work before approaching one. It will be time well served and save you allot of aggravation and disappointment. I do wish you the best.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
Mowee
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I second Kirk Charles book...you might also add to your list Jim Sisti's Magic Menu for some practical information. And to go along with what David said, at 17 you are going to have a harder sell...yet there have been magicians who have cracked the market at a young age. I think more research may be needed before you go out and try.
Big Sam
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Florida
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Here's another thought -

You mentioned money in your first post. This should be low on your priority list. What you are looking for is the best way to get into action and pay your dues. Don't forgo any chance for work, even if the money isn't good - when starting out I often took a loss and traveled great distances just to get experience and to build a reputation.

This doesn't mean that money isn't important, just that making it a priority at this stage can really hamper your progress. Get as much work as you can, get known as dependable, and then worry about the fees.

Being young can be an advantage because you have a chance to build good habits early. Your first gig will have a major impact on getting a second gig, and so on. Be there on time, avoid a "diva" attitude, and be gracious for the chance to work. Building a reputation as a professional has gotten performers much more work than the amount of tricks they can do.

Good luck! As said previously you have a lot to learn (as we all do), but it's a grand adventure . . .

Sam
Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes
satellite23
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Grand adventure indeed.

I decided not to take the initiative to talk to the manager today after reading davidpaul$'s post; it seemed to inappropriate and it was VERY busy today so I didn't want to waste anybody's time.

However, I ran into somebody at the restaurant who I had e-mailed about landing a gig with a preschool. She actually didn't recognize me, but she recognized my Dad and then remembered my name from the email. She hadn't contacted me until we met there. She seemed excited to give me a performance...whether for free or paid I know not, I think in the original email I asked for a small payment. If so, it would be my second ever paid gig. Plus, my little sister goes to that preschool, so I have a higher standing with her.

So, the day at the restaurant was not what I had hoped or expected, but it did prove to be beneficial to me in a way which I never would have imagined.

HOLY CRAP........I JUST REALIZED SOMETHING.....NOT GONNA MENTION IT RIGHT HERE AND NOW.....BUT I SERIOUSLY JUST HAD A MAJOR LIFE-CHANGING THOUGHT....LET's JUST SAY IT HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH GOD AND MAGIC.....geez, I didn't even realize what just actually happened until now. God answered my prayers...

Wow, sorry for that. I just had to say it to my magician friends. It wasn't a joke either. Maybe I'll explain later when I'm not.....shy enough to say it.

Well, I guess I'll keep working towards getting a restaurant....or other gigs for that matter. I'm so super hyped right now.

I actually gotta practice for a talent show audition I have tomorrow. I have the routine down pat and I really love it. If I pass the audition (I think I will) I'll get my first ever stage performance in frnt of my largest audience ever. I'm a bit nervous, but really excited.

Thanks, guys!!!!!
maxpax
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Sweden
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Good for you man!

I see your problem with being young. I'm 20 and look pretty young so if I were to look for a restaurant gig I would go to something that is used by my age group. Like a café or something. They might see more reason in hiring a young cool guy to entertain other young cool people instead of some young whippersnapper "entertaining" the refined intellectual adults.

I hope I helped.
DWRackley
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Chattanooga, TN
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Hey, Satellite. My situation is a little different from yours, but it may give you some ideas. When I thought I was ready, I made a list of restaurants that I personally enjoy going to. I was looking for those with a private room, because I wanted to do a full show (the different part). Smile

I approached the manager, who already knew me as a “regular”. She was happy to have me try my idea, because it cost them nothing (except for a room which wasn’t being used anyway). That’s the part that may be similar for you.

Business people are always looking for “value-added” deals. You could offer to strut your stuff for a few weeks at no cost or “for tips”. If they already know you, most people would be glad to have you entertain their guests (you are entertaining, right?) if it didn’t cost them anything. After a couple weeks, they could then evaluate whether you were worth hiring as a regular.

I didn’t go in on a separate visit, but as an “after thought” to a regular visit as I was paying my check; just asked for a word with the manager. You can choose how you approach this, and how busy they are is a big factor, but be prepared to show them a little of what you intend performing for their guests.

Good luck with this. I think you’ll enjoy it!

PS. Yes, God does answer prayers Smile
...what if I could read your mind?

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Donatelli and Company at ChattanoogaPerformers.com

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satellite23
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Thanks DWRackely, you always have some awesome and thoughtful posts. I'll keep it in mind.
BrianMillerMagic
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CT
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I landed my first national corporate chain restaurant at 17. You need to have a professional pitch nailed down. And then you have to get lucky. The right manager, with the right attitude, in the right mood that day, at the right restaurant. But yes, you can do it at 17.
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