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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » How to approach people at a bar or restaurant (19 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dannydoyle
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Yea I hope I live to be as old as that joke.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Brent McLeod
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Tim Ellis on 1 of his dvds has a great section on how to approach groups & as mentioned not to give them an
opportunity to say No. Tims observations at corporate events which is my market for 20 years, I now use for every event
and it is very successful I think its Ellis in Wonderland dvd. Check it out
Dannydoyle
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I never understood the idea of not giving them a chance to say no. How arrogant and unfair is this?

At a corporate event it makes some sense. Having been hired and the guests possibly not knowing and them being at a corporate event gives you some leeway.

At a restaurant it makes NO sense at all. Maybe people want to talk, maybe they came from a funeral, and maybe they just don't give a hoot about your little 4 acre trick. Forcing them to watch you, which is the real way of saying don't give them a chance to say no is very performer centric thinking. It leaves out what the guest may want. After all isn't that why we are there in the first place?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
davidpaul$
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This topic has been discussed ad nauseam over the years. Pros and cons on both sides.
For me I rarely asked if the patrons wanted to see magic. Like Jay Sankey said on one of his videos,
"They are not qualified to answer that question" if you really think about it they aren't.

Experience teaches you to observe patrons before approaching. Are they engaged in deep conversation?
Don't interact. Is there lively, on going conversation going on? I leave them alone to enjoy each other's company. Then there are the "many" other tables I politely engage at the proper time.
Depending on the responses and body language, I'll go in certain directions. Yes, "sometimes" I will ask if they would like to experience some magic, but "most" times I do not and engage with an effect that creates curiosity. I won't go into detail but this has worked for me for a very long time.

Many people have gone out of their way when leaving the restaurant to thank me and tell me I made their night. One lady told me that she really didn't want me to stop by their table but was very glad that I did. All this is to say, be polite and friendly but don't give them the opportunity to say "No" (for the most part) Also, many times those tables I didn't approach because of the reasons mentioned asked me why I didn't visit them.

Many will diagree and think the approach is arrogant and forcing yourself on people. That has not been my experience. If it was my restaurant magic career would have been short lived.
Well it is now due to circumstances beyond our controll. Mr Covid-19 to be exact. Imho
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
Dannydoyle
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I don't think 19 years at one place is "short lived" LOL!

But the idea that somehow a patron is "not qualified" to answer the question is actually a very performer centric point of view. It never takes into consideration for a second what may be going on in their head.

Now to be fair every situation is different. Every performer is different and even within each performer every environment is different. NO way one size can fit all. This is why this discussion is so difficult is that so many have trouble accepting that their way is not the only way. (Not you David.)

But this very issue is THE reason I am not a fan of having to call on tables cold. I prefer to work by request. This takes away ALL doubt. Not all situations can be set up in such a fashion, so obviously it is not THE way to do it. It is ONE way to do it.

I tell you one reason I have such an aversion to the idea of "they are not qualified" is I have experienced first hand, unfortunately more than once, the exact opposite of what you describe. The guy who thinks his version of Twisting the Aces is far more important than anything happening at the table. Mind you nothing was happening that was not able to be interrupted by a good performer. These were not good performers. And isn't it usually THOSE guys who are the problem?

One reason I am not a fan of not letting them have an option is what happens when you DO run into the guy who really doesn't want to see magic? What happens when you have sort of "forced" your way in by not letting them have an opinion? You have invaded their night unasked. You have creatd a situation that could have been avoided easily by just letting them answer.

Is that the crime of the century? Heck no. But it is not cool to do if you ask me. Also at a TGI Friday's it may not be as big a deal as it is at a place that has $50 apps. At family restaurants (I don't know but I am guessing because I never worked one.) an interruption on the assumption that they are not qualified to answer may not be such a huge intrusion. The $5 apps place might see things just a little bit different. Every one I have worked in they would defiantly see it differently.

I think it is the blanket idea that "they are not qualified to answer" that gets under my skin. I get the sentiment, I guess it is just expressed pretty poorly.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
davidpaul$
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"Not qualified to answer". Seems like that statement is the sticking point. What Jay Sankey's statement, I have found to mean (through experience) is that "most" patrons have never seen a close-up magical entertainer in a restaurant setting. They don't know what to expect or know what I will do. They are not qualified to answer and if asked, human nature is just to say no thank you. I agree it depends on the restaurant. (It wouldn't work in restaurant with $50.00 appetizers.) (Maybe?)

I don't give them the oportunity to say "No" depending on my read before I approach and the intitial interaction. I and they would have missed out on an opportunity for a very unique and fun experience

Quick example and a marketing example as well. My wife I were walking in a mall with many kiosks selling various goods. This one lady, very friendly, engaged us as we were walking by her kiosk. Our first instict was to say no-thank-you, we're not interested. BUT we were not qualified to make that statement because we had no idea what she was offering. Turns out we did stop because of her personality and she did a quick demonstration on my wife's fingernail that made her nail look like glass. WOW!!! We couldn't believe it. It wasn't nail polish but a unique 2 sided emory board, nail file.

We ended up talking to this lady for several minutes and walked away with the product in hand. I use it too especially because my hands and nails are noticed while performing. This was several years ago and we still buy and use it. IF WE WOULD HAVE SAID NO-THANK-YOU and just walked by, we would have missed out on a product that is beneficial for both my wife and me.

Just as an aside, my going on 19 year restaurant experience was not at one restaurant but many. Mostly bar/restaurant and family friendly, not suit and tie valet parking establishments. That is your expertise. When I get back to my restaurant gigs, I'll be doing the same thing. Not asking, for the most part. Well that may change due to Mr. Covid-19
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
Dannydoyle
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I think I'm absolutely qualified to answer and so are patrons. It is the equivalent of asking them if they want squid and they've never tasted it. They are qualified to say no. Maybe they will like it. But nobody forces them to eat squid. Why is magic so much different? This is why I use the word arrogant. It is perhaps a bit strong and I don't mean it to be, but I can't think of another word.

I know we all think we provide a unique and enjoyable experience. If you didn't then you wouldn't have been at it for the better part of 2 decades. Clearly you know what you are doing.

It just might be that at certain places this way of doing things might be more acceptable than others.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
davidpaul$
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I hear ya Danny and I'm NOT saying that people have stressed they were'nt interested when I interacted without asking BUT it really is the exception and not the rule. I remember that happened one time and the people said, sir,we really aren't interested. I smiled, wished them a good day and hoped they enjoyed their meal. They have now become fans and have brought other friends in to see me almost every other week. They are restaurant regulars and over time they relented and ask their waitress for me to stop by their table. Well that has been several years and is on going.

They now call their restaurant visits "Magic Night". Well not now.
I take the risk when I see fit and find the approach to be very beneficial. But that's just me.
I really enjoy and find it very enlightening inteacting with you. I know you are very professional and you do know your stuff. We just have different points of vue that is colored by our respective experience. I appreciate you.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
Dannydoyle
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Oh I have no doubt of your experience. It is obvious from your posts.

The thing that is worrying is guys without that level of experience forcing themselves on unsuspecting members of the public.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
davidpaul$
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Point well taken....
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
David French
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I always ask. As Danny said, I have interrupted funeral dinners, divorce proceeding and other non pleasant events. If I don't ask I am being rude and not attentive to the guests needs. This works well for me. I am NOT at a restaurant to annoy folks nor make them uncomfortable. Yes, it would be rather rude for a server to just start putting drinks and food down that no one ordered. "Here, you have no idea what you like, I have taken the liberty to tell you"

Just odd to me...
Dannydoyle
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Yea that is sort of where I come down on it. Thank you for illustrating it so well.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
davidpaul$
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Quote:
On Apr 20, 2020, David French wrote:
I always ask. As Danny said, I have interrupted funeral dinners, divorce proceeding and other non pleasant events. If I don't ask I am being rude and not attentive to the guests needs. This works well for me. I am NOT at a restaurant to annoy folks nor make them uncomfortable. Yes, it would be rather rude for a server to just start putting drinks and food down that no one ordered. "Here, you have no idea what you like, I have taken the liberty to tell you"

Just odd to me...


I've done the same, funeral dinners and once a family just got back from making a decision to take a family member off life support. You know what? The funeral patrons thanked me for for changing the mood and was very glad I stopped by their table. The family that made the very difficult decision regarding life support made a point to seek out the manager to tell her how appreciative they were that I took their minds of the circumstance for a few minutes. I had no clue what they were going through. I found out through the manager. So everyone has their respective opinions, I'll continue to do what has worked for me. You, meaning those that disagee, well do what you feel appropriate for you. I just know that so many opportunities would have gone by the wayside if I just always asked and waited for a "NO" answer.

As I've said numerous times I always try and evaluate the patrons. Body language, facial expressions, conversation intensity etc. My initial approach and the few seconds of interaction is a determining factor as well. Yes, sometimes I'll ask depending on the vibe I get. One of those tables that I mentioned in a previous post that definatively said "NO" hired me for a huge party at their home. Sounds odd to me too.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
David French
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David Paul -

Exactly, we all have different styles. You do you, it works for you.

Be well.
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