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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » Am I starting wrong? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Gary T.
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Hello everyone! I haven't posted in quite some time. I'm afraid I got too drug into my day job and had put magic aside for a while. Fortunately I was forced to wake up so to speak and realize I was wasting my time at mcd and now I'm focusing on magic once again.

I recently did a free show at huddle house and I'm waiting for the district manager to talk with the owners. I'm not expecting much because it is a chain but if I do get the gig I might be looking at working several nights a week between several huddle houses.

But to get to the point. When I start my gigs I tend to start by hitting every table even if they're eating. And then I begin catching them after they order. I thought that otherwise I wouldn't be offering everybody a chance to see what I do.

It goes pretty well for me and nobody really seems offended though some do turn me down politely I'm just wondering if that's a bad practice or if there's a better way. Should I be only approaching those who are waiting and those who request me? I'm just looking to make my performance The best that it can be.
Dannydoyle
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I think you should treat them the way you wish to be treated. Would yoy want dinner interrupted?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mary Mowder
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Sacramento / Elk Grove, CA
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You should never approach a table where they are eating unless they flag you over.
Turning you down can be an unpleasant experience and they may say yes even though they'd like to eat.

It would be great if there were some material on the table or as they enter about you and a way suggested to get your attention if they particularly want to see you. I'm assuming you might approach anyone if the timing is convenient.

Directly after an order is placed is not a bad time to approach as long as you have short Magic that can (and will) conclude if the food shows up.

-Mary Mowder
Michael Baker
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So many things to consider here...

For starters...Is your time at any of the tables delaying someone from leaving, and/or preventing someone that is waiting from getting a table? If they are eating, is what you are doing a direct interruption? If someone is busy shoveling food in their mouth, it would be wrong to ask them to pick a card, or even answer some questions. If they can watch quickly without disruption, it should be fine. You can show them a quick trick and mention that you'll try to get back to them later, as you understand that they want to finish eating. If you can't, you can't. If you see them hanging out waiting, make them a priority. If you see them leave before you make it back, don't sweat it. But, if you have a chance to speak to them quickly, just say, "Thanks! I'll try to catch you next time you're in!" That usually is because you are busy, and most folks will recognize that.

There is nothing wrong with offering your magic to any of the tables, but you will gain a heightened sense for quickly defining your better candidates. This does not mean to necessarily avoid the others completely, because they may be too shy to ask and may feel slighted if you skip them. It sounds like you have the right approach. Some people will turn you down... and for more reasons than you can think of yourself. Just smile and say OK, and move on.

Experience is your best mentor for restaurants. You simply have to find your own center. You may also find that what works for you in one place may not in another. You will learn to adapt, if you understand that flexibility is more important for working restaurants than any trick you can learn.

There are many, many things that can be discussed here, but others will chime in and my thoughts will give you a starting point.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
MeetMagicMike
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Gainesville Fl
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I approach tables right after the waiter takes away the menus if I can. Never before that.


Sometimes I am busy and don't get there before the food is served. If there are kids at the table or if I noticed the adults watching me at other tables I might approach even when there is food on the table. As soon as I approach the table I can usually tell if they are excited to see me or not. In either case I introduce myself and offer magic but give them an easy out just in case. "We have free magic and balloons tonight but I can see you are eating right now so maybe I'll check back later..." At this point many tables insist that I go ahead and perform. (Especially if they have kids). I keep it pretty short and don't ask them to hold things in their hands etc.

It sound like you have already figured out some of this on your own. Just be sensitive.
Magic Mike

MeetMagicMike.com



I took the Pledge
Michael Baker
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Mike's example is indicative of how different places can afford different styles. In many places, there is a protocol which should be adhered to. Some of the posts above, point that up nicely. But consider the other thread where the guy works 3rd shift at Denny's. He works for people coming in after the bars close, and teens out doing what teens do. To a large extent, protocol goes out the window. You have to find what works for you, and the place.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
pepka
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Uh, I'm the one on the right.
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I've worked restaurants and bars for about 12 years. A LOT of it is trial and error. I believe it is bad form to approach when there is food on the table, especially the main dish. If I'm there and appetizers arrive, I'll probably stay, entrees...I'm out. I also will occasionally perform if they are having coffee and dessert, but not if the restaurant is on a wait. THAT will **** off the hostess and servers and you DEFINITELY want them on your side. A great thing whenever you start a new place is to get them on your side. Take time to meet and perform for them, NOT when they have tables. Go in on your night off at a slower time....before dinner rush. If the staff is a fan, they will talk you up to tables and make the approach much easier.

Of course, the ultimate way to a table is to use Eugene Burger's approach when he worked restaurants. He only performed AFTER dinner, and the host would bring an extra chair to the table for him and introduce him to the guests. THAT is class....but I think it takes a special performer AND establishment to pull that off.

Good luck!
Dick Oslund
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Hey Pepka! Re: the Gene Burger "approach"

If the old mind is functioning, I believe that that is the way that Bert Allerton worked in the classiest room in Chicago. (back "then"!!)
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dannydoyle
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We did it at Schuliens. It does pre date Eugene considerably.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Michael Baker
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Near a river in the Midwest
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Quote:
On Sep 1, 2014, Dick Oslund wrote:
Hey Pepka! Re: the Gene Burger "approach"

If the old mind is functioning, I believe that that is the way that Bert Allerton worked in the classiest room in Chicago. (back "then"!!)


The old mind is functioning just fine. I have one of Bert Allerton's table cards, and it states he worked by request only. He also charged $5.00 per table.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
pepka
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Uh, I'm the one on the right.
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Yes, I think all you "old-timers" are right. Just kidding. I just learned of it first from Eugene. I've never worked a place where that approach will fit in.
Dick Oslund
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I never saw Bert Allerton work "there", but someone told me, that he would sit down at the table, and reach underneath, as he said: "It's amazing what you find under the table--besides chewing gum!" The he came up with a (vanishing) bird cage! I imagine that he then vanished it.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
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