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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » Need help getting a job at a restaurant!!! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dannydoyle
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Jonathan maybe he is not entitled to the information. Did you ever think of that?

Maybe he is asking for info that is over his head. Maybe even if he is given his information that will do him no good. Did you ever think of that?

Rich and I, in our first posts, were NOT condecending, we were simply realistic. IF reality is condecending blame God, Buddah, Allah, Zeus or anyone you feel the need for stacking the deck against inexpereince. NOT inexperienced.

To give info on other threads as if you are already working and an expert is flat out wrong. So perhaps he does need some reality.

There are hundredss of reasons why this young man can't do the same thing. For one, he listens to NOBODY who gives him advice he dosn't want to hear. He already knows all about restaurants at 15. Imagine the arrogance involved with that statement. Not even willing to learn more, just already knows enough.

To ask advice and then tell people they are flat out wrong, well that is silly.

Then when he acts immature, well, yeah, it does get like an experienced adult talking to a child, for that is where he has brought it.

Oh, my favorite quote centers around "I don't have all the answers, but I do have a LOT of them." Bull. Not at 15. Sorry. I mean at 15 his father used to own a restaurant. NOT OWNS ONE NOW! Think of it Johnathan... USED to own. So at 15 he's got all that experience already under his belt. BAM. The point is to get out there and get the experience!

So if it is condecending to tell someone the truth I am guilty. And will always be.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Jonathan Kelly
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Waterford, Ireland
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I agree with almost everything you say, Danny. But I like to give people a chance, quite often more chances than they deserve. I'm just a softy!! Call it Irish hospitality if you like!

I take your point that he might not be entitled to the information he wants. It is very valid; why should someone put in the hard work only to pass it on to someone who's not worthy? But I may not have been clear in my last post, I meant to suggest giving him some small tips that will help him along the way, not the definitive A-Z of how to get gigs. If he is as mature as he claims to be he'll take that little bit of advice, and be grateful for it, but also take all the other advice given in this thread and possibly decide he his not ready to jump straight into table hopping at a busy restaurant. But he should be given the chance to come to this conclusion by himself rather than be told by others.

I've recently read the biography of one of the great Poker players Stuey Ungar. When he was a kid, 15 or so, he was a prodigy at gin. When he wanted a game with the big boys they saw a kid and treated him like one. They also got beaten very very badly. I'm guess I'm just saying that unless you've met someone, and in this case have seen his ability to perform and access his knowledge of how restaurants work you can't 100% flat out state that he's not ready. You can 99% say it. But there's always that 1%. Personally I don't think that 1% applies here but it's not my place to decide.

It's difficult to get my point across!! I don't disagree with you Danny, I'm just trying to offer another point of view.

Now all this talk of restaurants is making me hungry! So I'll head home for a nice supper.

Actually Danny, I've re-read your post. I've swayed your way. I especially agree with the part about disregarding the advice that is given to him and moreso telling those that give it that they're wrong. There's a good saying, "Don't bite the hand that feeds you". It applies in this case.

I do believe in giving chances, but when you get them you'd better be grateful or they won't be given again.
"But where did the lighter fluid come from?"
Cory Gallupe
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Nova Scotia, Canada
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Ok, I know you guys are trying to help, and I will say that I don't know everything. I am still a newbie if you ask me. But I think that since we are talking on-line, that things aren't coming out as we anticipate them to. You are a bunch of nice guys, I will admit. Very helpful, and informative. Trying to help a kid in need.

The point that Paleomagi made at first was very good. About how could a person practice restaurant work without performing in an acutal restaurant, in real time? Well, I answered, but even those are no excuse as to if I am ready or not. Just because I work on them very hard, and fix them, etc, doesn't mean I am ready. I guess I will never know for sure until I do it. But that was a good point that he brought up. But then agian, how CAN someone practice for a restaurant without actually performing in it? Well, the fact is, you can't. You have to do it. You can practice in front of real people, but it still won't get you to the level that you need to be to be a restaurant magician. The only way to do it, is do it!

What Mediocre the Great said was very helpful, and I thank you.

What Dannydoyle said was that I had no experience, and that I have never done a gig. That was, from what I understand, saying that I am immature, and unworthy of doing restaurants. So, that's where the whole "argument" began.

What Leeman said at first was very helpful. Thanks. But, when he saw was how old I was, he started asking questions. I know he's just trying to feel me out, see what type of performer I am, but I just find it weird that people automatically start asking questions when they find out you're a kid. But, I answered them, and I just realized there was one that I didn't. Can you tell if the audience is truly having a good time, or if they are just being polite? Yes. I have been on both sides of that, and can tell if they don't want to watch, or if they are really interested. And, most times, when I am done with my first effect, they want to see more. Other times, they aren't very impressed, so I move on to something stronger.

Dannydoyle said again that I am too confident about myself, and think I am up to the ranks as you professionals. WHICH I DO NOT!!! I think he may have gotten that from me saying that OTHER people refer to me as a "professional" magician. But I KNOW that I am not!

Dannydoyle also said that I need to take it easy, to slow down, crawl before I run. I have been. I have been getting ready for this for a long time. I know I am still learning, I know I still have a lot to learn. I never knew that just because my dad owned a restaurant, meant I knew everything about them. I do not. But you where treating me like I have ABSOLUTLEY NO KNOWLEDGE about restaurants at all. Which was not true, that's why I brought up my dad owning a restaurant. Because I do somewhat know how restaurants work. I know the pace, I know what they do/dont do, etc. But I don't know everything.

What Paleomagi said after that was somewhat helpful, and I will think about that. In my mind, I don't think it matters what age you have to be to be called a magician, and that's what I explained before. But what he brought up is that a kid trying to get into a restaurant and calling himself a magician, could possibly put bad images into their heads. So, good point.

Once again, Dannydoyle said that I am denying my age, and that I am immature. I am only 15. I know it, and I am not hiding it. I have a lot to learn, I know. About my immaturity, I am trying to put a good name on youth magicians. I don't like it when people find out that someone is a kid, then they assume that he/she is not ready. I have seen it all before. that's why I am defending myself, and hopefully the name of young magicians in general.

I am also explaining that you guys have not seen me perform, you have not ever met me. How do you know simply by what I am typing, if I am ready or not. You're already assuming that I am immature. I have been into magic for 6 years, not two, like you once again ASSUMED because I am a kid. And I know that just because my "daddy" owned a restaurant, doesn't mean I know everything. I know that. What I was getting at is the fact that I am not a complete newcomer to the business. You were acting like I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. What the pace of a restaurant really is. I brought up the fact that my dad had one to show that I DO have SOME knowledge.

What Paleomagi said after that. I am overly defensive. Well, maybe you guys are overly offensive. You have been attacking me since the start of this topic. I actually had someone PM me and tell me that they wish me luck with the restaurant, and said that you guys were just a bunch of old grumpy magicians who didn't want to help. Here is what he said:

"I just read that entire thread about how to get a restaurant job. I felt kind of bad reading all of those adults ream you out.

I'm ** (Age will not be shown. I don't want to let out his identity. He probably wouldnt like that.), so I'm sort of in the middle of the road. I can definitely see where those crotchety old magicians are coming from. Most magicians under the age of 20 are show-offs and aren't interested in entertaining people.

That being said, I don't know anything about you, so the most important advice I can give you is to ignore cranky old magicians unless they've actually seen your show."

I hope he doesn't mind me putting this up here.

And when Paleomagi was talking about "don't believe your own press" I know when people are enjoying the performance or if they are not. Like I said earlier.
They aren't pretending to be enjoying it because I am a kid. They really enjoy it. So I wont be going to a restaurant and having a bunch of people telling me off. don't worry.

Johnathan, I thank you for jumping in. Its nice to see some people helping the younger ones.

What Dannydoyle said after that, I don't really understand...
You say that I am answering other peoples posts, giving information like I am an expert. I am not an expert. I am only giving info about stuff that I know about. I don't give info about stuff I don't have any idea about. I help with what I can. This forum says: "Magicians Helping Magicians." Not "Magicians ruining magicians." Its not a battle here folks.

I am not asking for advice, and then telling you that is wrong. Some of it I don't agree with, and some of it you are just getting false information on ME. The stuff you guys are saying is correct. All that is very important. But you are saying it to me like I have no experience, and I am immature. You guys are saying that I think I know everything. Well, I do not think that. Anyway, I don't want to be here typing all day. I have other stuff to do. So, how about we stop all this fighting, and just get back to "Magicians Helping Magicians" OK?

If you like, I am still open to HELPFUL suggestions. I am not saying that the others were not helpful, they would be to someone who is new to this, but you guys are saying that I think I am a pro, I am way ahead of myself, I have to crawl before I run, etc. I have been working hard at this, and what I am asking for NOW, is how to get the job. How to impress the manager.

Thanks.

-Cory.
RicHeka
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Hi Cory:

Nice post. You certainly are getting some typing practice in. Smile

Here are the two best tips I can give you, even though I mentioned them before.

1.When you introduce yourself to a GM,introduce yourself as a Magical Entertainer. Chances are he/she has not heard that that phrase,and they just may want to hear more. Which leads to ...

2.Write out a plan (use the info on the Café and in some of the popular restaurant performance books you should (I hope) own. Anticipate questions they may ask and have ready and concise responses. For me writing it out in an organized way helps me personally recall the information later on easily. I do this all the time even at my 'advanced' age. Smile

P.S.Don't forget to smile and look them in the eye.

On the "don't believe your own press" quote by Doc Eason. This has served me well ever since I heard it. It is something that helps to keep us grounded, and always realize that there is room for improvement in what we do. Please think about the full meaning behind this simple quote. It's Golden.

Best.

Rich
Dannydoyle
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OK, Cory, let me just say simply because you don't agree dosn't make someone else wrong.

I told you to EMBRACE your age, but you convienently left that part out.

So here is the best advice I can come up with now considering your new-found attitude.

Just go out and get a restaurant while you already have all the answers. Forget us crotchety old guys. (for me that is 40, but why quibble?) What could someone who has been doing this to eat for a living for 20 years possibly know or have to offer? You're right listen to the PM and just forget us.

But it would be easier to do if you stopped asking questions.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Kent Wong
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People hear what they want to hear, and they disregard the rest. When I was 15 I knew everything and the rest of the world was simply wrong. When I turned 30, I was amazed at how much everyone else around me had learned. That seems to be the way many people grow up.

Having said this, let's get back to the question at hand. How does a 15 year old get a job in a restaurant performing magic? The short answer is, you don't. Or at least it's going to be extremely difficult.

The reality is that most restaurant managers are going to see you as nothing more than "a kid". Now, rightly or wrongly, those same managers have preconceived notions of what "a kid" is like. They stereotype based on reliability, maturity, professionalism, etc. It may not be fair, but that's reality. Many business owners don't want to hire "kids".

Now for the next reality. Restaurant owners don't give a fig about entertainment or how good a magician you are. They are there for one reason and one reason only. They want to make money. So, how can "a kid" help an established restaurant make money? You can read about the general benefits a magician can bring to a restaurant. There are many such discussion right here on the Café.

But none of those posts deal with the benefits that "a kid" magician may be able to bring to a restaurant. We keep coming back to that because it's a reality you can't get away from (at least for now). Even with a list of the general benefits tucked in your back pocket, the management may simply not want "a kid" entertaining their customers. You see, there has to be a proper fit between the restaurant and the entertainer. Just because you want to work in a particular restaurant doesn't mean the fit is right.

So, to get a job in a restaurant:

1. You need to find the right restaurant (from the restaurant's perspective and not your own).
2. You need to prove to the management that you are not the typical "kid".
3. And you have to prove to the management that you can help improve the bottom line for the restaurant.

Of course, all of this is premised on the assumption that you are ready to perform in a restaurant. Just because you have a few tricks and you've practiced your routines, does not mean you are ready. As a magician, you are a customer relations representative for the restaurant. You must convey the atmosphere of the restaurant and ensure that you do everything within your power to ensure a positive dining experience. So, tricks aside, here are some things to ask yourself:

1. What are you going to do on your first day when you walk into the restaurant?
2. How do you approach a table?
3. When do you approach a table?
4. How long should you spend at each table?
5. How do you handle small children?
6. How do you handle hecklers?
7. How do you handle drunks?
8. How do you handle problem guests?
9. How do you deal with other staff members?

These are not trick questions. You can read as many books as you like on these topics (and there are some really good ones out there); but without real world life experience it becomes very difficult. You've already realized how difficult it is to revisit a restaurant once they've said "no" to you. Imagine how much harder it is to revisit a restaurant once you've been hired and failed miserably. Make sure you are absolutely ready for the restaurant before you even ask for the work.

To be quite frank, from everything I have read on this thread, I have my doubts. You seem more focused on your magic and what you want rather than what you can bring to the table. This may or may not be true. But if that's the way Café members see you, how is the restaurant manager going to see you?

Kent
"Believing is Seeing"
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Dannydoyle
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Wow, Kent, welcome to honesty island. Glad to have you aboard.

Rich and I were getting lonely!

Anyone 15 or so please read this post and take it to heart. It was said with no condescension, it was said with no malice, and laid it out quite well. It speaks the truth. Maybe a harsh truth but really it was not meant that way!

Good job, Kent.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
RicHeka
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Hi Kent:

Great Post. You certainly stated things clearly and concisely. I agree with almost all of what you stated. I do differ with you on one of your points, and would like to expand on another.

I think that any performer that goes out on a limb and states that his/her presence can improve the bottom line is a BIG MISTAKE. The bottom line of a restaurant depends on so many variables that a shift in any of those variables will cause a death knell for an entertainer who has made any kind of promise. I personally always like to emphasize the reality... that I get many return guests, who in turn tell their friends, yada, yada.

Your point about being a customer relations representative is RIGHT ON, in my opinion. I have always said here at the Café and elsewhere, after seventeen years at one establishment I have evolved into a sort of Ambassador Of Good Will/Magical Entertainer Smile. Even tables that do not want magic are used to me coming over and saying a few kind words.

The owner greatly appreciates this and $how$ it!
I use this same approach in all my venues,and it has served me well.

I'll second Danny, for all teen and new performers to read and absorb Kent's post.
There is much more to consider than clever tricks and flourishes in the restaurant Magic Biz. The REAL MAGIC is in your dynamic interaction with the guests that will cause them to come back and bring their friends and otherwise have a good feeling about your venue. This ability only comes with life experience.

One other thing I would like to repeat:(I know I have said this before) when a performer of 'any age' who is not fully informed and prepared goes out and secures a restaurant gig ..and bombs.. the next qualified performer that approaches that restaurant for a gig has a better chance of getting a TV series.

Best. Rich

"Don't believe your press"... Doc Eason
Kent Wong
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Danny and Rich,

Thanks for the support. I've been following this thread for the last 24 hours and giving some serious thought as to how to respond. Enthusiasm is a great thing and I don't want to dampen it - but sometimes, the harsh realities of life can get in the way.

Rich, you are absolutely right about the "bottom line" comments. Generally speaking, though, there are many substantive benefits we can bring to a restaurant that the general manager will appreciate and be willing to spend money on. It's those substantive benefits that we should really focus on.

Kent
"Believing is Seeing"
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<BR>www.kentwongmagic.com
mc_magi
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Well, yeah... I mean, you do need a strong selling point to convince a manager to venture into something he/she has never heard of, so bringing out possible benefits is one of the key points. But I would agree that anyone trying out should never make a point of "I can up your revenues". From all my readings it is repeatedly said that this is not possible just by a performer being there since there are so many variables.

Quote:
Anyone 15 or so please read this post and take it to heart. It was said with no condecention, it was said with no malice, and laid it out quite well. It speaks the truth. Maybe a harsh truth but really it was not meant that way!


Do 17-year-olds count in that group? :wink:
Dannydoyle
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Rich is right. I have preached the point till my fingers hurt and get argued with constantly.

A performer will in no way help the bottom line in a way that can be pointed to on a spread sheet. Too many intangibles.

Actually, mc_magi, it applies to anyone of any age just starting out. The teen thing just amplifies some of the problems.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Lee Darrow
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Kent nailed it pretty well, but, as one of the resident "crotchety old magicians" who is currently out on tour for Sandals Resorts, I'm going to butt in on this one, just to prove that I am crotchety and to ask a couple of pointed questions of my own - to see how well our young apprentice handles them (sorry, I just couldn't resist that one - take it as a joke folks, that's how I intend it!).

1) How are you going to brief the staff on what you do?

2) How will you handle the grabbers? (a grabber is a person who grabs your deck and demands to show YOU a trick)

3) How will you handle a drunken woman who comes on to you? (and it WILL happen eventually and she will NOT take NO for an answer)

4) What do you do when one of the wait staff spills the guest's food all over you? (and it will happen)

5) How will you handle the top three most asked questions - Can you make my wife disappear? Can you make the check disappear? Can you turn this $1 bill into a $100?

6) How will you handle it when a guest tells you to "Get the (*^# away from my (insert relationship here)!"?

7) How will you deal with the guest who says that you are doing the devil's work and starts to preach to the entire restaurant? (and it may well happen)

8) How will you handle the table full of older teens who insist on shouting out how each trick you do is done? (it will happen, and sometimes they will be RIGHT)

9) What will you do when one of the wait staff repeatedly breaks in on your performance?

10) What will you do when everyone at a table is enjoying what you do except for one person who has their back turned to you and refuses to watch? (and it will happen)

These are all things a restaurant worker will run in to and should be prepared to deal with. And, to be honest, I'd like to see the feedback not only from our younger members on this, but also from some of my fellow curmudgeons when the younger members have taken a swipe at them, too.

Curmudgeon-Lee Darrow, C.H.
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
mc_magi
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Just to see if I'm ready for some restaurant work or not I'm going to give a very feeble attempt at answering

1) How are you going to brief the staff on what you do?
I'd want to go around making friends with the wait staff since that would be the right steps to take. However, in the interest of time saving, I'd talk about it with the manager and come up with the best solution. My probable solution would be any sort of letters which can reach all of them or if manager allow it I'd come early on the 1st day or the week before (staff meeting? I wouldn't know if they have one) and introduce myself.

2) How will you handle the grabbers? (a grabber is a person who grabs your deck and demands to show YOU a trick)
I would decline. Although I do allow this in my private kids shows but since I'd be working at each restaurant table for short period of time I'd either leave my deck with them, tell the grabber that I do have other tables to entertain, but if he would like to entertain his guests to the restaurant after I leave, I'd be more than happy to lend him a deck which he can keep. Of course I always have spare decks with me so (Lets hope I don't give out stuff like Invisible Deck to specs lol).

3) How will you handle a drunken woman who comes on to you? (and it WILL happen eventually and she will NOT take NO for an answer)
I actually have NO idea what to do except politely refuse.....I guess it'd be different for diferent situations. Maybe I'll tell her that I'm not straight........lol


4) What do you do when one of th wait staff spills the guest's food all over you? (and it will happen)
Depends on who's fault it is I guess. If the staff just trips right beside me and spills all over me, of course I'd ask him to give me fees for cleaning my attire etc, or I'd expect it. Hmm.. I guess I would have to bring a set of shirts and pants for this kind of occasion.. I'd let manager deal with why the food was spilled.

But if it happens to be my fault in any way, I'd pay for the table, apologize to staff member, and apologize to the table? I mean it's bound to happen but I guess I'd have to try to avoid it.

5) How will you handle the top three most asked questions - Can you make my wife disappear? Can you make the check disappear? Can you turn this $1 bill into a $100?
As cliché as this is, I'd go with prepared one-liners. "I could but I have other tables waiting for me to perform other miracles.." "Yeah I could but it'd cost you 100 dollars to do it" It's not like I'd be promoting my magic as something real during my show. I'm promoting it as entertainment. So I don't actually believe anyone to be very upset over the fact that it'd cost them 99 more bucks to turn their 1 into a 100.


6) How will you handle it when a guest tells you to "Get the (*^# away from my (insert relationship here)!"?
If they allow me, I'd apologize for the mistaken intention and that I did not wish to cause them discomfort. (If its a serious statement) I'd be respectful to the person who said it but I wouldn't be bowing down to them- makes restaurant image look bad. So firm, respectful, and quit ASAP.

7) How will you deal with the guest who says that you are doing the devil's work and starts to preach to the entire restaurant? (and it may well happen)
Give her my email?.....and that we can talk it over on email?.... lol...
But I'd tell her this is a public restaurant and that she has to stop. It'd be like how managers deal with very loud people in the restaurant. Use respectul language, tell her to stop or she'd have to leave. And then give her my email and deal with it privately since I started the thing.

8) How will you handle the table full of older teens who insist on shouting out how each trick you do is done? (it will happen, and sometimes they will be RIGHT)
I can think of two ways to deal with this problem.
1) Self working tricks and be as entertaining as possible. Disarm them and make them think that the trick is magical not because of the method but because of presentation
2) turn it into some sort of small competition where I do a mid-length routine and the one with best explanation gets a small prize? I mean they WANT to try to come up with the explanation right? So why not let them?

9) What will you do when one of the wait staff repeatedly breaks in on your performance?
Depends on how he breaks in. WIth food? I'd clear up, every time ASAP. I don't really see any other ways the wait staff would break in my performance.....

10) What will you do when everyone at a table is enjoying what you do except for one person who has their back turned to you and refuses to watch? (and it will happen)
Try to get them involved. If light moods don't change him, I'd finish my set quickly and tell them the usual "if you'd like me to be back during dessert, then have one of the wait staff call on me and I'll try to visit again."


Did I get at least TWO of them right?....
I don't think I did very well..lol, but I guess if I DID have answer to all these and more I'd be a pro already so whelp, time to learn.

Feedbacks on answer of any kind would be very appreciated. Thanks!
johnnymystic
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This is almost too easy, getting a gig in an restaurant!

Just walk into the restaurant, whip out a gun put it to the manager's head and demand to be hired as the entertainer... oh no wait, strike that! I did this routine last week and it didn't go over as well with the patrons. They all ran screaming, I grabbed one little old lady violently and ask what her problem was...

She replied, "We've seen restaurant magicians before!"

I Am JohnnY MystiC
I drink cheap tequila and vomit
<BR>I cannot eat hot wings...acid reflux
<BR>I never inhale Smile
<BR>I can put a field dress on a deer
Kent Wong
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"How will you handle a drunken woman who comes on to you? (and it WILL happen eventually and she will NOT take NO for an answer)"


OMG! This has NEVER happened to me. I must be doing something wrong! Please, please, please, please, please TELL ME. How do I get a drunken woman to come on to me and NOT take NO for an answer?

Oh, strike that - I just remembered, I'm happily married. Smile

Kent
"Believing is Seeing"
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johnnymystic
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Dude, if you're old enough go to your local bar and perform (if you're good enough) if you're somewhat good-looking many, many older women WILL end up hitting on you...

It happens to me almost every time I go out to a local bar.

I've too many stories to share on things of this nature... one little old lady took my leather jacket when I wasn't looking (this thing was filled with little expensive gizmo's)...

She hid the thing and MAN DID I PANIC WHEN I REALISED AFTER ONE ROUTINE IT WAS GONE????!!!!!

And I had to play as though everything was fine and almost planned in a way because I was NOT going to lose CONTROL of a situation, I am the one!

I had actually tricked the culprit into willingly coming forward, I then did the unthinkiable, I berated her for her actions... I won't say If I manipulated everything for a happy ending... I leave that to your own imaginations. Smile

I Am Johnny Mystic
I drink cheap tequila and vomit
<BR>I cannot eat hot wings...acid reflux
<BR>I never inhale Smile
<BR>I can put a field dress on a deer
Leeman
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Profile of Leeman
I have no experience with restaurant magic. I have done some street shows and have done two strolling gigs, and a few of the afore-mentioned situations have happened to me while performing and a few have happened while I was just out and about. I am pretty sure how I would handle certain situations based on past experiences but depending on the tone in which the statements were made will greatly affect how I respond. If the spectator is joking, or it seems like I can get away with a witty reply then the answer will be a lot different then if it's some jealous, klutzy, drunk, teen, religious-nut lady, with poor timing and her back to you who just happens to be on staff. With that aside I will answer the questions.

1) Breifing staff.
From what I have read and from what I know about people that work for tips, which I used to, they are for the most part greedy, greedy people. So I would make sure to let them know that my being there will not affect their tips. I would meet them all and remember all their names, maybe try to find some of the waiters that would like to help out with a trick or two. I also try to have a rapport with the waiters so that there is some banter and maybe some prepared gags during the night that it would make if more fun for me, them, and the customers. Maybe, if the manager agrees, even do a short show or some tricks for the staff during a meeting or after their shift. But most importantly tell them that my being there won't affect their tips, because they are greedy, greedy people.

2) Handling grabbers.
This happens to me quite a bit as I am doing a few things before I start into my show on the streets, or after I get done. If it is after I usually just let them take the deck and show me what they know. I will often let them get behind my table and perform for anybody that wants to watch. Sometimes they are pretty funny and it helps draw a crowd. If it is before my show I tell them that I'm not very good and I don't want the rest of the crowd to have anything to compare me too. Or I say that if they do a trick them I'll have to tip them and I don't make very much money, what with doing magic tricks on the sidewalk and all, not to mention that I wouldn't tip them because I am a very greedy person. To which they always reply, you must work for tips.

3) Drunk women.
Well this has happened as I was out and about. Not only have a couple of drunk women hit on me, but I apparently have very strong gay appeal, because I have had similar situations with gay men. To make this even worse I can't stand people touching me, or me touching people. So if they start to hug or grab I get very flustered and would probobly leave. I have never had any of my drunk wooers get to this point. Usually in this situation I have found that there are one or two sober people in the group that will help control the drunk, as much as possible. If they are not too drunk I play along. I don't think that they really want to take you back to their place; alchohol just brings over-the-top false emotions to the forefront. If they are really, really, falling-down, can't read an M&M wraper then the situation can be a bit more tricky. I have never been in this situation but I would probobly just say something like "you're just saying that becasue I'm a magician, and all the ladies love magicians." Then they will all laugh hysterically and I can sneak out.

4) Spilly server.
I guess it depends on the degree of the mess. If it's really bad I would most likely ask the manager if I could leave, and come back on a different night to make up my shift, or come in early the next scheduled day. It would be nice if the server that spilled the food on you paid for cleaning costs, but accidents happen and I wouldn't be too worried if they didn't. I don't think I would comp the table's food though either, unless that is standard procedure at the restaurant.

5) Make my wife dissapear?
I can but it'll cost you the house, car, half your money and you'll only be able to see the magician one weekend a month and alternating major holidays.
Check dissapear?
I guess (take check and put it in my pocket) but you'll still have to pay.
$1 into $100?
Yeah I can that's why I'm doing little magic tricks in this dingy restaurant.

6) Get away from my...!
If the guy or gal is serious I would apologize for the misunderstanding and use that person as the assistant instead.

7) Devil's work!
This would be tough. I would appologize, leave, and then tell the manager, because most likley the crazy bible-thumper will be making their way over to him/her as well.

8) Teens.
I had to deal with this a little. If it's just one or two I would do something where they are the ones that do the magic, or get to be the center of the attention, because that is most likely what they want. Or I would just do some gags and some jokes and leave the magic for another time.

9) Interupting wait staff.
Well, if it's a situation where the server knows you are performing and is interupting for the sole reason of interupting I would have a talk with the server, and if that doesn't slove the problem I would talk with the manager. If it's a situation where the server is bringing out food, I have read everywhere to wrap things up. If I didn't do very much at the table maybe I would tell them that I'll come back while they're eating dessert. That gets them to order dessert if they want to see more, which gets the restaurant more money and I get a group that I know wants to see some more magic. Oh, and if the server keeps interupting me after I have talked with the manager I would tell them that I will start accepting tips and that will keep them from getting the money. And that would stop them form screwing me over, what with their greedy, greedy nature.

10) Inattentive person.
I don't think that one person's attitude should affect the rest of the table's fun. If the remainder of the table is enjoying the show I would continue and hope that the other people at the table would get the party pooper into the spirit for fun and enjoyment.
Lee Darrow
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Chicago, IL USA
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Profile of Lee Darrow
Okay, here are some of my own answers, just for fair play's sake (and that turkey is never around when you want him!):

1) How are you going to brief the staff on what you do?

Have a staff meeting before you start there. Introduce yourself and let the staff know that you are there to help THEM make more money and to take the pressure off of them when things get backed up. Let them know that you will leave when the food arrives, but that it's not a good idea to barge in with water while you are working - it ticks off the guests. Answer questions and do some magic so they get a feel for what you do.

2) How will you handle the grabbers? (a grabber is a person who grabs your deck and demands to show YOU a trick)

Use your peripheral vision - WATCH the people at the table. This is not a situation that you can politely decline - this is a snatch and grab I'm referring to here. If it does happen, STOP. Politely ask for your prop(s) back and, if they try to perform, explain that "it's a union thing." Most people can relate to that and respect it. The line has worked for me for years.

3) How will you handle a drunken woman who comes on to you? (and it WILL happen eventually and she will NOT take NO for an answer)

A wedding ring helps, but not always. Sometimes, you simply have to say something that will put them in their place or make them drop their interest. I don't generally like the idea of telling them something I'm not (like being gay) because that can open you up to a whole new set of come-ons, so I firmly, but politely decline and, if necessary, exit, stage left with as much grace and dignity as possible.

4) What do you do when one of the wait staff spills the guest's food all over you? (and it will happen)

Have a change of clothes available and make sure the house compensates me for the cleaning bills, if necessary.

5) How will you handle the top three most asked questions - Can you make my wife disappear? Can you make the check disappear? Can you turn this $1 bill into a $100?

Wife - Sure, but she gets replaced by three Ann Coulter (or Hillary Clinton) clones (and I've already found out what their political leanings are by this point).

Check - No, but I may be able to double it for you - shall I give that a shot?

$! into a $100 - Sir! If I could do THAT - I would be home DOING IT!

6) How will you handle it when a guest tells you to "Get the (*^# away from my (insert relationship here)!"?

First, do my best never to give the impression that I am near their significant other from the outset. If it happens anyway, step away and do the trick with the focus on someone else, with an apology to the effect of, "my apologies, sir/ma'am, the trick requires that they take a card is all." I'll do it for Dan over here, instead. My apologies for any misunderstanding of my motives. I am a happily married man and do not wish to incur your wrath nor, especially that of my lovely wife. (and show them a photo of her, if necessary - she's a former Miss Chicago - that usually puts them more at ease).

7) How will you deal with the guest who says that you are doing the devil's work and starts to preach to the entire restaurant? (and it may well happen)

Spin my head around 3 times and bid them a good evening. Actually, seriously, I apologize for disturbing their evening with my CARD TRICKS (use of emphasis deliberate) and bid them a good evening. I may mention it to the manager, just to be on the safe side as well.

8) How will you handle the table full of older teens who insist on shouting out how each trick you do is done? (it will happen, and sometimes they will be RIGHT)

Never, never, never turn this situation into a contest with them. Even if you win, you lose. Do what you can to bring them on to your side and if you can't do that, bail out and work another table. Ways to win them over include doing a reading for one of the people there, mentalism effects and/or a comedy effect where YOU are the butt of the joke at the end. But the method must be bullet-proof and not something that has been seen on TV because this kind of patron will search Wikipedia to FIND OUT how those tricks are done.

9) What will you do when one of the wait staff repeatedly breaks in on your performance?

Have a private chat with them to see if they are being a jerk or just not very perceptive. If not perceptive, educate them. If a jerk, do my best to educate them. If that doesn't work, have a chat with the manager. If that doesn't work, don't work his or her section very much unless the person is so busy he or she can't bug you too much because business is too brisk for them to be bothered.

10) What will you do when everyone at a table is enjoying what you do except for one person who has their back turned to you and refuses to watch? (and it will happen)

Do what I can to get everyone laughing hysterically at what I'm doing, even the surrounding tables. If that doesn't draw the person in, conclude the set quickly and say that, if they'd like to see more later, to ask their server.

While there are no perfect answers, several people have posted some superb ones already and there does seem to be a consensus about several of these situations.

It's good to see that both the curmudgeons and the younger magi are thinking a lot alike about these situations.

Lee Darrow, C.H.
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
themystifier
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Profile of themystifier
I read most of this thread and there is a lot of information on here but here is my own advice. Take it for what you want but it has worked for me.

I was 14 when I got my first restaurant job. It's at a smaller local resturaunt and I have been working it every other week for 2 years. That's a lot of expierience COMPARITIVELY.

What should your first job be like? A side job. It's for expierience. I didn't need a job at 14, but I was/am passionate about my magic and I wanted that expierience so that when I need to pay for car insurance and gas (like now) I would have a good 2 years under my belt before I need to support myself to some degree with my magic. Your first doesn't have to be some huge high-paying job. Take what you can get. It looks good to other resturaunts if you have worked before and its good for you because it will show you the ropes.

What should you do when you go get one? Don't perform directly to the manager. Who cares if the manager likes the magic, its not all that important to them. Instead show magic to the CUSTOMERS. They are the important part. If they have fun and like you, the manager will be more inclined to hire you.

A little trick I do before I work is to not shave for a few days before so I get some facial hair. I've had people think I was any where from 18-21 years old when actually I'm only 16. When you approach the manager, you want to have confidence. Act like you've worked a million resturaunts before, but DO NOT in ANY case have a large ego or be cocky. Just act comfortable in a resturaunt situation. And ALWAYS give a free night. If they can't decide say "well, I will work for free tonight and if it goes well, we can talk about it further?" If they want you, "Thank you very much, tell you what, I will give you tonight free."

Don't bother resturaunts during lunch or dinner hours. The managers are very busy. Try calling around 2:30 or 3:00 when they're slower and you will be able to talk to the manager without him/her worrying about messing something up in the kitchen and whatnot.

These are just my humble opinions. Take them for what you want but they have worked for me.
a villian is never a villian in his own eyes.
Red Shadow
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Profile of Red Shadow
I can't believe you guys got magic jobs in a restaurant at the age of 14 or 15!

I was good at that age, but not that good. Maybe its because I'm from an area that has lots of magicians. But I was 18 before I got my first steady restaurant gig. I can't believe a manager would even think about hiring a kid. Were you being paid? Or working for tips?

That's an interesting question, how much do you charge per hour / per night?

Do you work just one night a week, or several?

My last job, I was there for seven months, working every Sunday for three hours. Noon to 3 pm. I got paid £150.00 (GBP) each week. I remember it like it was yesterday, since I did the arm chopper, and it went wrong with disastrous consequences! But you live and learn. At least I hope she did.

Steve
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