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Nem
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What's your approach to tables in restaurants?
Back in the day when I was working with balloons I would approach tables with a tray full of balloons and ask "Who ordered spaghetti?" Was a funny ice breaker.

When you first approach a table, many are not sure what your function at the restaurant is. Even if you use table cards or a poster on site you are still approaching the table cold turkey. What do you do?
Wx4usa
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Nem, I like your spaghetti opener.

Just an idea for you.... Wait until the server has left. Then walk up and introduce yourself as their server and with a straight face begin to take drink orders or go over specials. When two or three crazed looks come your way and they say the've already ordered, say, Oh, I am so sorry. I am terribly embarrassed. Please forgive me. I should have known that, you see, I can read minds. (Pause) More crazed looks. I know that sounds crazy. I can. I have ESPN. No really, I can read minds. Let's try an experiment... then move into a simple swami routine and then another effect or two.
Wravyn
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Quote:
On Apr 6, 2019, Nem wrote:
What's your approach to tables in restaurants?
Back in the day when I was working with balloons I would approach tables with a tray full of balloons and ask "Who ordered spaghetti?" Was a funny ice breaker.

When you first approach a table, many are not sure what your function at the restaurant is. Even if you use table cards or a poster on site you are still approaching the table cold turkey. What do you do?


That is a nice opener... Toss a couple sponge balls on it for the meat balls, a small chop cup for the Parmesan cheese shaker...
Dannydoyle
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You could try being a genuine person with a genuine smile and introducing yourself.

I don't get the reluctance to this approach.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Nem
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My approach has always been a fun comedy style.
I introduce myself after the opening and go into my bit.
Love the meatball and Parmesan add on's. Never occurred to me.
davidpaul$
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I'm with Danny on this one. There is a time when to approach a table if at all.
In general I just walk up to an appropriate table at the appropriate time, smile and say hello folks
or family. Depending on their demeanor I go in several different directions. I too project a humurous, friendly and respectful personality. I've been approaching tables in restaurants for a very long time. You never know what state of mind or circumstance they came from.

Quick example, a family just came from a hospital making a decision to take a loved one off life support. You don't just approach a table with your pre-planned schtick. Ironically I did perform for the family and they were appreciative for the distraction and let the manager know.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
Nem
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True enough. I hopped for a lot of years but experience is always the best teacher when it comes to approaching tables, if at all. You have to learn to read your spaces.
Depending on the environment, others are watching and then want you to come over or not. It's a flow thing. Just my approach, always worked for me.
davidpaul$
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On Apr 6, 2019, Nem wrote:
True enough. I hopped for a lot of years but experience is always the best teacher when it comes to approaching tables, if at all. You have to learn to read your spaces.
Depending on the environment, others are watching and then want you to come over or not. It's a flow thing. Just my approach, always worked for me.


Yes!!! Sometimes I read the tables incorrectly and don't even approach a particular table only to have them say to me; "Why didn't you come to our table?" as they are leaving. It's not an exact science but being friendly,sensitive and observant etc. is.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
Dannydoyle
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On Apr 6, 2019, Nem wrote:
Depending on the environment, others are watching and then want you to come over or not. It's a flow thing. Just my approach, always worked for me.

Did it always work for those you approached? Working for you is not the point.

THIS is the problem I have with most approaches. They have to do with the magician. They have to do with how comfortable the magician is with the response he gets, or if someone wants to see magic or not and how that makes the magician feel. They never take into account as David elegantly points out the person being approached.

Why does it matter if the performer is comfortable approaching? Shouldn't it be more concerning if the guest is comfortable?

This is just my view. But a genuine smile, and a genuine smile and connecting with them BEYOND what your tricks are is a great way to get people comfortable. If they are not comfortable with you, the tricks you do will not amount to much anyhow. In the end you are selling YOU not your tricks.
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 6, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
Quote:
On Apr 6, 2019, Nem wrote:
Depending on the environment, others are watching and then want you to come over or not. It's a flow thing. Just my approach, always worked for me.

Did it always work for those you approached? Working for you is not the point.

THIS is the problem I have with most approaches. They have to do with the magician. They have to do with how comfortable the magician is with the response he gets, or if someone wants to see magic or not and how that makes the magician feel. They never take into account as David elegantly points out the person being approached.

Why does it matter if the performer is comfortable approaching? Shouldn't it be more concerning if the guest is comfortable?

This is just my view. But a genuine smile, and a genuine smile and connecting with them BEYOND what your tricks are is a great way to get people comfortable. If they are not comfortable with you, the tricks you do will not amount to much anyhow. In the end you are selling YOU not your tricks.

Smile Smile Smile
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
Nem
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I think you misunderstood my approach.
Let me clarify. I AGREE completely with your get aquatinted approach. In magic, you must ALWAYS connect with your audience first.

My approach is shtick, but grounded in my ability to read people and not appropriate for all occasions.
Having worked in nearly every venue of magic for over 40 years, I learned early on you have to be able to read people. Otherwise you’re in the wrong game.

YES, it has always worked for the guest and me as well, because I know before I approach a table if we can connect, and I work to make that a better experience for all.
Wx4usa
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Great thread, Nem, Dannydoyle & Davidpaul$. I might add... don't overlook the wait staff. The good/professional ones are invaluable at helping read a table. They know the ones that want alone/quiet time etc.
Dannydoyle
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It is not a measuring contest. We have all been at this for a while in lots of environments.

I don't think you get what I am saying at all, much less agree with it LOL.

How you can know before you are at a table if you can connect with them is beyond me. Again those are impressions based entirely on YOU and not them. That is cool if that is your approach and it works no problem. But it is not at ALL what I'm talking about.

You start with some sort of shtick. OK cool. What I am saying is simply that I prefer to connect with people before jumping into what it is I am going to do. I do not want to invade a table with an act without consent. It is that simple for me. I don't figure this out BEFORE I am at a table. No. I let THEM decide. THEY are the guest.

So no you don't agree with what is being said, and it is OK. You don't have to agree. You are 100% right for you and that is cool!

To be fair I don't generally work tables I am not invited to anyhow, so the whole point is not really relevant. I have almost worked that way as I think it is too invasive for my particular style.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Nem
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Different approaches is all. Yes I do understand if guests want me to come over and if we will connect, as I watch the guests. Ever wonder why castle workers peek out the curtain? Reading the audience. My impressions are based on them, not me. My job is to connect and entertain them. The guest is my ruler before I approach.

I also agree with Wx4usa 100%. The wait staff is invaluable in this regard as well.

This is not a one size fits all approach, only a talking point on approach. Since this thread is about approach, I appreciate your insight on your reasoning.
davidpaul$
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Quote:
On Apr 6, 2019, Wx4usa wrote:
Great thread, Nem, Dannydoyle & Davidpaul$. I might add... don't overlook the wait staff. The good/professional ones are invaluable at helping read a table. They know the ones that want alone/quiet time etc.


Very true and a good point. Often times the wait staff will let me know there are people waiting to see me and when a table doesn't want to be approached.
It doesn't happen often but it does. Sometimes I'll ask the waiter/waitress and get his or her feel. Most times they say "Oh yea, they would love it."

I know this is controversial as was stated, but once I get a feel for their responsiveness I rarely ask if they want to see some magic. Sometimes I do depending,
but my way of entering into an effect is very comfortable for them and they in no way feel uncomfortable. This has worked for me over the years with a few minor blips along the way. And like Danny said he doesn't approach tables in the venues he performs in and Nem is a seasoned pro as well and knows what works successfully for him.

Bottom line it's all about the guest and hopefully adding a fun and positive experience.

(Posted this before your post popped up Nem, sorry)
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
Nem
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Don't be sorry, all good talking points and that's the purpose, to get others take on this. I think in the end it helps us all.
Dannydoyle
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It also matters WHERE you are performing.

I do not work family nights or at chain restaurants or those who cater to kids. I work high end restaurants. I work after dinner by request. (MOSTLY by request, very rare to approach cold. Maybe 5% of the time.)

The places I work at the shtick approach would get me let go. It simply does not fit. You don't approach the table with that stuff unless they want you to. It is that simple for that environment. Not ALL high end places are like this mind you. Just the ones I deal with.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Wx4usa
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On Apr 6, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
It also matters WHERE you are performing.

I do not work family nights or at chain restaurants or those who cater to kids. I work high end restaurants. I work after dinner by request. (MOSTLY by request, very rare to approach cold. Maybe 5% of the time.)

The places I work at the shtick approach would get me let go. It simply does not fit. You don't approach the table with that stuff unless they want you to. It is that simple for that environment. Not ALL high end places are like this mind you. Just the ones I deal with.


Yes sir Dannydoyle. Silver Slipper, Mugs & Movies & Kids Zone vastly different. Great point!
aligator
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If one is worried that customers but not realize your purpose, might I suggest wearing a lanyard with an ID tag.
davidpaul$
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Quote:
On Apr 8, 2019, aligator wrote:
If one is worried that customers but not realize your purpose, might I suggest wearing a lanyard with an ID tag.


Years ago here on the Magic Café someone suggested a professional looking name tag pinned to a shirt or jacket. ( like managers at fancy hotels) I have my name with "Prestidigitator" underneath. I ordered it on-line. It's a conversation starter allot of the time, plus I look official to the patrons.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
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