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Topic: Approaching a Restaurant Manager
Message: Posted by: Neale Bacon (Jul 28, 2003 11:07AM)
How do you approach a restaurant with the idea of a house magician?
Letter or email first?
Drop in?

Just curious as to what people found effective.
Message: Posted by: RobertBloor (Jul 29, 2003 08:09PM)

eMail - Never. Say it with me, "Never."
Dropping in - Say it with me, "Rude."

Letters can be effective but aren't as likely to get you a meeting with the GM as a phone call.

Call them up, let them know you've got an idea that could help retain people in their restaurant and you'd like to have 10 minutes to discuss it with them.

Then have your marketing material ready to go when you meet with them.

I've got a few methods. Some have worked better than others. The phone call option I'm willing to share. But there are some I won't release.

You have to be creative to be noticed, and respectful to be given the time of day.

Robert Bloor
Message: Posted by: Neale Bacon (Jul 31, 2003 11:00AM)
I must be doing something wrong because phone calls just get me brushed off.

Maybe I need a better "phone pitch" :hamburger:
Message: Posted by: RobertBloor (Jul 31, 2003 01:10PM)

What does your phone script say?

Robert Bloor
Message: Posted by: Neale Bacon (Jul 31, 2003 02:02PM)
Basically I introduce my self as a Vancouver magician, and was wondering if they would have ten minutes for me to drop by and show them how I can help create a magical dining experience for their customers.
Message: Posted by: TheDean (Jul 31, 2003 04:44PM)
Hey brother Neale,

The honest to goodness truth of the matter on this is that, no offence brother, but few (if ANY) restaurant owners really 'cares' about "creating a magical dining experience for their customers" as we might wish-for. (at least the way "we" do.)

What they really want most is SOLUTIONS their most real and pressing business problems!

If you are not adding to that "solution", they feel like you are adding to the PROBLEM. (By taking money out of their pockets that they could use to solve those problems - - they think!)

Their perception on this issue is real and POWERFUL, and if you don't present correctly, you will LOSE against a "perception" every-time!

Think about it from THEIR perspective for a moment, if you owned a restaurant, what do you REEEEEEALLY want most?

- Butts in chairs!
- More food and drinks sold per visit!
- Return and retention of guests!
- Happy guest that tell others!
- Guests that RETURN, actually BRING friends and SPEND more money!
- More PROFIT!
...and so on!

Getting the picture?

I KNOW, I support MANY restaurants, clubs and casinos and I hire performers all the time! (Besides being a "F&B" family all my life!)

Once again, no offence indented to anyone, a business-owner has little or no interest in paying good money for guy to do tricks "UNLESS" it's monumentally CLEAR to them that it will help provide the real SOLUTIONS the want, NEED and desire most for their business bottom-line!

I mean, wouldn't YOU demand the same sort of profit and "proof" for your money spent?

YOUR REAL JOB has little to do with doing magic tricks, as far as any business professional is concerned! Your ONLY job is to help that individual business with their most pressing business concerns and how "what YOU do, can - in fact, HELP add to their bottom line!" Period, end of story!

These people DON'T go into business to necessarily "entertain" people! They go into business to turn a PROFIT! Provide for their families! Buy and collect STUFF! (Like houses, cars, boats, lifestyle, prestige... etc!) Now "IF", and that's a BIG IF... you can clearly demonstrate how magic tricks or a live music or the color of their table cloths can assist them in making more money, well then... now you have something to offer!

I'm not saying that here isn't some intrinsic value to entertainment, but as a business professional, the question is: "How can YOU help ME be more profitable!?!" - and NOT just in "theory"either... you have to be able to PROVE-IT to me! ANY "responsible" business professional MUST scrutinize every penny invested to it's logical and DEMONSTRATABLE "return", or R.O.I. (Return On Investment)

That's just good business!

This may "not" be the answer you were looking for, but it IS the truth based on my full-time, over 30 years of real-world EXPERIENCE dealing with this industry.

So, the question for YOU is:
"How can YOU "prove" to these business owners how you can add real value and PROFIT to their business bottom line?"

Hope that gets the cogs trunin'...

REMEMBER: "THINK and Grow Rich!"

I am at your service and in HIS Service,
Message: Posted by: Neale Bacon (Jul 31, 2003 05:00PM)
Well, now I don't know WHAT to say!

After all that, I feel I should have a business degree before approaching restaurants.

So how do I prove my value or whatever...

I have no problem doing it in other venues as I have been doing for 26 years. :coffee:
Message: Posted by: TheDean (Jul 31, 2003 05:30PM)


You've been around us long enough now (and NOT just here too!) to know what we're referring to brother. You used to come to our live chats and you've been around all these sites long enough to know exactly what we mean...

It doesn't require any sort of 'degree' to figure this stuff out brother... just common sense.

THINK about it...
IF "YOU" owned a restaurant, what would YOU expect from a performer or promotion or any business investment... what would YOU expect in RETURN??

It is that easy...

Here are a few examples to get ya' started... (Also, there are lots of threads on this very subject right-here at the Café' and on the sites I know you frequent... check em' out bud!)

How about help entertain in the lobby area while guests are waiting for their table to become available and so that they don't get bored and frustrated and take their business and MONEY someplace else!

Is THAT of value to a business owner? Sure!

Do you get to do tricks... you betcha'! See, everybody WINS!

You could help to "cover" for long kitchen and service waits and mis-prepared food, (Life happens in kitchens too!) keeping the customers happy, again, so they return, tell their friends and spend more money instead of leaving in a huff because the food took too long or something such as that!


How about "kind-of" the direction you were originally going:
Making the over-all dining experience more MEMORABLE and UNIQUE so that the guest positively remembers the restaurant and position the business as a unique and different place to enjoy and evening!

Very "close" to what you were alluding to, and still worlds apart!

==> If you hope to be "successful" (I mean REALLY Successful) in this business, you have to treat it like a business and be a "professional Solutions provider" from the perspective of each business owner.

In this case... EVERYTHING we do as professional performers MUST be presented as a "BUSINESS BENEFIT" from the perspective of the restaurant and business owner or it will be "perceived" as a business expense.

See the difference now?

Hope that helps some...

I'm truly sorry if I have somehow actually confused you with this information... please accept my most sincere apologies.

Anyone else can offer more insights and examples?

I remain at your service and in HIS Service,


Out of curiosity, I went to visit your site to see what you WERE actually doing, and as if by "magic" Neale, you COMPLETELY understand this basic principle. You are already doing this with YOU OWN site.

NEALE'S Restaurant Magic Page: http://members.tripod.com/~memydummy/restaurant.html

See, just offering your services from the "BUSINESS-OWNERS" perspective.

I am at your service and in HIS Service,
Rev Dean
Message: Posted by: RobertBloor (Jul 31, 2003 11:46PM)

You do not need a business degree to do any of this. You need common sense.

Dean is right - no one cares about tricks. "Silly Rabbit, TRICKS ARE FOR KIDS!"

Business owners care about the bottom dollar.

You're site says it all. I digress however, I couldn't finish reading it as the music was driving me over the edge. If you're planning to use the site as a sales tool, you might want to reconsider the midi.

In the restaurant as the solutions provider you are ALWAYS more than tricks. ALWAYS.

A customer sees you performing and KNOWS you 'work' there. He needs his water refilled.

Do you:
A) Get their server to do it. or...
B) Grab the pitcher and refill it yourself?

I work at two of the finest Italian restaurants in the southwest United States. The recipes on the menu have been in the family for generations. Most of the dishes go clear back to Sicily.

Do I help them by doing tricks? Nope.
Do I help them by entertaining? Nope.
Do I help them by being funny? Nope.

Do I help pass the time in the waitline, thus keeping people in THEIR restaurant? Yes.

Do I assist the wait staff when needed? Yes.
Do I even bus the occassional table? If necessary, yes.
Do I send press releases and follow up with local media to get FREE PUBLICITY for the restaurants? Yes.

Do I use a comment card system to provide restaurant guests the opportunity to be heard? Yes.

And let me say this - the comment card is one of the single most POWERFUL tools in business and should be utilized in YOUR sales letter.


Accountability. Plain and simple.

Far too many performers get gigs and are unprofessional and not held accountable for their actions. This leads to serious performers NOT getting jobs because, "the last guy sucked."

I show the owner and GM comments in my system all the time. It helps to reassure them that I AM the one they want.

Do I show them good stuff? Yep.
Do I let them know when someone wasn't satisfied? Of course! (it may be rare, but it DOES happen)

I think you've probably got more than enough information to get your wheels turning. I know when I go for new gigs I count on EVERY source I have available to me to look at ALL angles of the 'problem' and they help me to find the right solution.

Good luck and please let us know how things go!

Robert Bloor
Message: Posted by: Neale Bacon (Aug 1, 2003 10:43AM)

I know what you are saying and thanks for the kind words about the website. Most of that same info is in my promotional material too.

My question was how do I get all that across in my opening phone call?

if I get my foot in the door, then I know what to say. It's getting in that's the hard part! :thanx:
Message: Posted by: Wolfgang (Aug 1, 2003 12:25PM)
I agree with Bloor that dropping in is rude. But I once did the following in college.

There was a restaurant/bar I wanted to work at. So I went and ate there with some friends. After dinner, I asked the waitress if I could talk to the manager (I think she thought I wanted to complain about something).

I complimented the manager on the delicious meal and told him I'd like to do magic there. I even did a couple of close-up bits.

Since I was HIS customer whom he wanted to please, and not someone calling to "sell" him on something, I was able to give him my whole spiel.

Did it work? No. I was 19, had a belly full of beer, and my spiel wasn't very impressive.

But my point is, I reached the right person and was given an opportunity to be heard.
Message: Posted by: RobertBloor (Aug 1, 2003 04:04PM)

A *live* approach as wolfgang mentions is also another approach. Used effectively, (without a belly-o-beer. Ah the college days), you may be able to break in.

As for what exactly to say in your phone script, I don't know that that is something anyone can just hand you. The information to write it is here. You've got to have the drive to put it together and tweek it to your venue and style.

Good luck!
Robert Bloor
Message: Posted by: TheDean (Aug 2, 2003 12:09PM)
[quote]NEALE - "My question was how do I get all that across in my opening phone call?
if I get my foot in the door, then I know what to say. It's getting in that's the hard part!"[/quote]

Hey Neale,

The simple answer is, do what you are doing on your web site from the get-go. JUST present and provide real value, FROM THE PERSPECTIVE of the Business Owner"

What do THEY care about?

Give THAT to them... help them solve their problems wit your talents. skills and passion, and you will never want for work as a professional performer and "Solutions Provider".

You are already doin' it... you "GET this idea, now just do it from the very BEGINNING, including your "first-contact".

I remain at your service and in HIS Service,

REMEMBER: "THINK and Grow Rich!"
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Aug 5, 2003 12:05PM)

When you approach a restaurant owner (always go for the top dog if at all possible, then you won't get shot down from above!), focus your script on helping them keep their customers happy, keeping the register ringing and getting people to come back WITH THEIR FRIENDS.

In the restaurant biz, there are key issues that keep the company viable: butts in chairs, "turning tables" (how many times will a table be filled with diners each evening), customer satisfaction, dealing with delays in seating, service or both, bar sales (if applicable) and getting repeat customers.

Focus on where the restaurant has issues in your pitch.

In other words, check the place out before you pitch to them. Customize your pitch to fit the specific environment.

When I sold Medieval Times on my services, the focus was the long wait before the show, boredom and having an extra pair of mature eyes in the crowd in addition to enhancing the entertainment experience with a magician who could speak "foorsoothly!" ;)

Target your pitch to the needs of the particular customer. If you do, your sales closure rate will skyrocket.

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
Message: Posted by: Scott Grimm (Aug 10, 2003 12:05PM)
I found this to work better than I hoped. Start small. VERY small. I went to one of the little village areas on the outskirts of Chicago and found this charming little bar and grill. Quiet atmosphere and really good t-bones. But I did notice that it was one of three bars like it in this one little town. So I went back and had dinner with some friend of mine. At dinner I did some tricks for them and made sure to do it at a table very close to the bar and in full view of the waitress. Eventualy I did some for the waitress and then the bartender. It stopped there since the bartender turned out to be the manager. Turns out that the most succesful tavern in the town offered live entertainmen once in a while and this one didn't. So I threw my pitch and it was caught. That was my first proffesional gig and I still go back there to perform. Remember that there were three bars in the town? Well now there are two. Get all of that on paper! Move on to larger areas and show them proof of what you can do for there place. It is also a good idea to be loyal to where you started :)