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Profile of armagic
Tonight was the first night of my restaurant strolling job at a restaurant/bar in town. It went very good. I'm sure you would have all been proud to see the number of outs I had to employ. It all went great but the only hangup was that it wasn't that busy, and it is a pretty small place, so there was a lot of downtime. How should I deal with this time where there are no tables to go to, and won't be for a period of 5 to 10 minutes? I feel like a bum just walking around, is there any advice to remedy this? Im getting some advertisements out, so more people should show up next time.

THanks in advance.
Stuart Hooper
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Profile of Stuart Hooper
I would think that the restaunt would hook you up with a table in a corner or something, so you are not just strolling around making people nervous while they eat and there are no newcomers in the place. But maybe not. I'm glad it went well for you! Smile
Dennis Loomis
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1943 - 2013
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Profile of Dennis Loomis
First of all, this is a great opportunity. If the place is kind of slow on Wednesday nights, your services can help. If the people you work for enjoy your magic, urge them to come back and bring their friends, and to talk the place up. If you can get some friends or family to come in, and make a point of telling management they came in just to see you, it will help a lot.

As to the down time, if it's slow, there probably is a free table as Mithrindar suggests. Use the time to practice, write notes on how particular routines are going and what changes you think need to be made. Make the time productive! Tell the manager that you're working on new things to do "next week." He'll appreciate your effort. (Let folks know that if they come back you'll have some different tricks to do for them.) This could be a good time to work on givaways. And, if you're not giving something away to your audience... you should be. Anything to help them remember the experience. Learn to fold money into rings, boxes, elephants, the bunny in the top hat, etc.

It's bad psychology to just look idle. Successful people are always busy... so look like one.
Itinerant Montebank
Peter Marucci
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Don't, under any circumstances, sit down at a table in the corner!
You will never get up again (for a variety of reasons).
Use the down time to:
A) Talk to the customers (you don't have to be always "on")
B) Do something for the staff; it can be assumed that if you are not busy, neither are they.
C)Go back to tables that wanted you to come back; this is the time to truly establish your personality and put your mark on the job and the restaurant.
D) Tap dance with giraffes.
But please, don't just sit at a table in the corner doing one-handed cuts or something.
Remember: The restuarant is paying you to be visible!
Peter Marucci
Scott F. Guinn
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"Great Scott!" aka "Palms of Putty" & "Poof Daddy G"
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I agree with peter on everything but performing for the staff. While it may be slow, there is always side work to be done, and they are not getting paid to watch you! Wait til they're off the clock. I can say this with confidence as someone who has worked every job there is in a restaurant, from busboy to manager to performer.

I talk about slow nights with the manager when I am being hired. He understands the ebb and flow of restaurants, and that not every night will be busy, and we decide ahead of time whether I will just go home early on those nights, or hang out in hopes that it will get busier. If the latter is the case (and that's what I go for, unless they insist otherwise), spend more time at each table, talk to the guests,make them oragami from their napkins, etc.

Finally, ar magic, if your first night was slow, that was your fault. No offense, but you should have made sure it wasn't slow by inviting everyone you knew to show up at the restaurant. It is YOUR job to market yourself and to make your value noticable to the management--not the other way around. This is where so many magicians fail. They are fine magicians, but poor businessman and marketers. On your first night, you should have had friends and family there, as well as members of the press, etc. And again, it's YOUR job to promote you, not the restaurant's. Although it's always a nice bonus if they do!
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Profile of armagic
The first night, I purposely told my frieds and family to come if they want, but if they didn't, it would be ok because they cant be there every time, so it would be more like the norm. But I trust your opinion, thanks.
Jim Pace
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Portland Oregon
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Profile of Jim Pace
I have been in this spot many times. I work in many forums and often encounter more time than my customers. It took me months to find out a practical way of staying busy while there is down time.
I had the pleasure of working with Rees Thomas, a juggler. He did not seem to have any problem staying busy. Every thing he did was visual, and you could see it from all over.
I found that I needed the same thing, something visual that could be seen all over, and that I could do indefinatly if needed.
I developed the what is now known as That Spinning Thing.
It is a cross between Dlite and the Hummer card. I can spin this puppy and still feel like I am guilt. I also use it to intro myself to a cocktail party. I spend about 15 minutes milling around with a flying saucer navigating around me under what seems to be anti gravity.
Sorry did not mean to ramble. I guess that if you were to think just visual you will do fine. Patience, and walk forward.
"The drum that beats the loudest is always the most hollow."
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Profile of armagic
Thanks Jim.
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Profile of Rapidmagic
Very good advice Scott
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Profile of ecno
Scott said "make them origami".
Good idea!

I know how to make a few things but I was wondering whether it's possible to make origami that does magic, so you can just give them something that does magic while it's in their hands? Or an origami puzzle, when they find the solution they get to see a magical quote by a famous magician, or a special origami bird or .... ?
Any ideas ?
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New Jersey
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Profile of JBmagic
Check out the Workers series from Michael Close, there are a few pieces of strong magic using Origama creations.
Jay Buchanan
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Click Here

Great website!
Magique Hands
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Lincoln, NE.
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Scott... you said it! It is our job as the entertainer to do the marketing! I remember the first restaurant gig I booked. I asked EVERYBODY I was associated with to come in and see me, including our local newspaper. I even asked my family and friends to let the management staff know how much they liked the show. I made it a point to let every table know, to please do the same. It may sound a bit unorthodoxed, but hey... this is business! Doing things this way, also gives you the opportunity to create your own audience!

Don't just stop with your opening night... tell everyone in advance to come in and see you, each night you perform.

- - Troy
"If you go around sprinkling Woofle Dust on everything... people will think 'My... What an odd character."
Alan Munro
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Kentwood, Michigan, USA
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Profile of Alan Munro
Use the time to develop a rapport with the management and staff, if they're not busy. Develop a rapport with the customers. Too many magicians think that they need to be performing all the the latest tricks, to be successful. Restaurant magic is about public relations. If you don't improve the image of the restaurant,in the eyes of the staff and customers, your job will disappear. It's a tough business.
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Eternal Order
Northern California
13419 Posts

Profile of TheAmbitiousCard
On 2002-06-24 01:06, Jim Pace wrote:
I developed the what is now known as That Spinning Thing.
It is a cross between Dlite and the Hummer card.

Several things come to mind when I picture myself walking thru the sales room at the Sacramento magic convention...

1. Some wierd stuff I'd never buy
2. Jim Pace's willingness to share slights
3. All those coins Jim Pace was producing from god knows where.
4. Lots of books and videos
5. Daryl doing 3-Fly
6. Lennart Green doing Laser Deal
7. Dean Dill's close up mat

but most of all I remember...

8. That Spinning Thing

frank Hand Crafted Magic
Trophy Husband, Father of the Year Candidate,
Chippendale's Dancer applicant, Unofficial World Record Holder.
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