The Magic Caf
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » How do I build up a working restaurant routine? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
DylanTolly
View Profile
New user
Australia
94 Posts

Profile of DylanTolly
Hi,

I have always wanted to do restaurant magic, all the effects I perform are short and direct tricks. I mainly perform card tricks, but I recently purchased David Stones' DVD in order to obtain other style tricks.

How do I form working routines that will suit a restaurant environment? I know the basics that I must not use tricks that take up table space, tricks that can be done surrounded etc. However, I am having trouble picking which tricks would be best. I am confident I have enough material to start practicing 2-3 routines to perform, but structuring them is very difficult to me.

How long should a routine being performed for a table last for on average? How much variety should my routines contain (cards, coins, rope, spongeballs)? How many tricks should I include in one routine (each trick lasting under 3 minutes)? Finally, what sort of tricks should I begin with, fill with and finnish with?

Thank-you very much in advance for any feedback you have to offer Smile

-Dylan
MagicSanta
View Profile
Inner circle
Northern Nevada
5845 Posts

Profile of MagicSanta
I like you and you sound like you are on the right track.

Best I can tell you is, and others will likely have different opinions, divide your performance pieces into three effects that you can run together and also perform individually without detracting from the others. By this I mean have stand alone pieces but have three ready to go in sequence. This way should the server show up you can tip your hat and move on so you don't interupt the meal. The three pieces can be done at one table and that should be enough to make the table happy and you can move on. Now if you have no other tables to hit and the table could use more magic you have other pieces to do from your other performance pieces. I would say at least have three sets of three effects.

Try to keep it in the hands. Coin across, rubber band magic, cards, some card stuff, a string and ring routine using your own ring that they can look at if they want. Rope is cool, there is so much material it is nutty.

A very good source that should have been out by now, and I have to check why it isn't, is The Magic Menu, which is suppose to be out on Ebook. For DVD I'd look into Live From The Jailhouse. Just keep in mind preety much anything contained in your hands will work.

Let these fine folks here know if you have specifics after they answer your post and they will be sure to help. NIce to meet you sir and I wish you much success or break a leg or whatever you believe.
Magic_Steve
View Profile
Inner circle
Maryland
1476 Posts

Profile of Magic_Steve
Hey Dylan! Welcome to the Café!

As for your question, Santa answered it pretty good off the bat. I'd just like to touch on it a bit more.

As for what to open with, idealy not cards. I have seen magicians open with cards, and be successful. Just that 90% of the time, you have to establish yourself relatively quick. I sometimes use an effect called Strong Hands by Jay Sankey. It's on his dvd, The Real Work on Restaurants and Bars. I highly reccommend that dvd for a lot of material that is definitely made for restaurants and bars. On top of that, the advice he gives is awesome!

As for length of the routine, it all depends on the restaurant and how long it takes them to get the food out. The average length as I understand is anywhere for 5-10 minutes. I normally perform for about 5-6 minutes, as Red Robin gets the food out really quickly.

One thing I recommend without hesitation are spongeballs. Pick yourself up a set, you'll be glad to did and so will your audience. I use a similar routine to the one in Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic. PM me for more details.

On the routining aspect, ideally you'd want to structure a routine where you establish yourself right off the bat. I prefer about 1 minute into my set, after I've made small-talk with them, etc.

As for the middle effect, I feel this is almost just as important as your closer. You want this to be a strong effect as well, incase the food comes out. I try to make it so that my 2nd effect has a few outs, where I can finish it at a certain point should the food come. An ACR is perfect IMO.

As for the closer...I try to keep this short, within 2 minutes. Something strong, and something that leaves them with a souvenir (your business card perhaps?)

And something else worth mentioning, I have a complete card set. I open with cards, and close with cards. It's all about reading which audience this might appeal to though. I also alternate between spongeballs and spongebunnies. Like I said, if you want some more ideas, please feel free to PM me. Smile

Best, and good luck!
Steve
magicmanci15
View Profile
Regular user
110 Posts

Profile of magicmanci15
Have 2-4 sets of magic with strong transitioning. Your opener should establish connection between you and the restaurant while also engaging everyone at the table enough to set the mood at the table to mystical, or fun, or magical...whatever your "magic vision" might be. It should be fast and direct. I like using Jay Sankey's wrap it up. I find out who ordered a certain meal, and tell them that management wants me to give them a piece of gum, so I remove it from my mouth and extend my hand. HAHA, the look on people's faces is priceless. The middle should be very magical and entertaining. Everyone should know and love you, and you should know everyones names, and at least one thing about each participant. Your magic should be growing. Whatever you do before your closing should represent your style and magical integrity. As long as what youre doing has some logical motivation, even if it's "because Im a magician!", and a drop of entertainment, people will enjoy themselves. The middle should be very calm. The middle should end with the most magical thing in your arsenal. A signed card to impossible location, a torn and restored bill, a borrowed ring on your shoelace...whatever, just make it entertaining. Many magicians call the last strong magic effect their closer. This is true, but your real closing should do more than mystify. It should inform your new friends about when to see you again, and how to express their gratitude. It should remind everyone of the performance and leave a lasting positive impression about the magician, the restaurant, and their experience. I like to tie my magic closer, with my performance closing. Say thank you and goodbye. As you turn to walk away someone at the table reminds you that you forgot the folded up card on the paperclip. you then reveal to the table that even though that card was in full view since your arrival, it magically transformed into the card everyone at the table signed. Moments like this should create a feeling of togetherness between the audience and yourself.

Understand all of your tools.

Learn how to make people like you.

Know your individual performance goals at all times.

Expand parameters.

Ivan
DylanTolly
View Profile
New user
Australia
94 Posts

Profile of DylanTolly
Thank-you for all the great advice so far =)

MagicSanta, thanks for pointing out the fact that I will most likely be interrupted from time to time and need to end an effect soon. This honestly didn't cross my mind, and helped eliminate some of the tricks I had in mind about performing.

MagicSteve, I am sad you say not to open with cards =( because to be honest, 99% of the tricks I perform and have been performing for several years has been card magic. However, I will take your advice and try not to open with card tricks. Do you have any recommendations for opening tricks that do not involve cards?

I was thinking of opening with David Stones version of Red Hot Mama or even Jokers Wild, but those both are obviously card effects =P Would a simple sponge ball routine be a good enough opener?

I see you have recommended a Sankey DVD, interesting =P. I myself am really not a fan of Jay Sankey, have you seen any of his other DVD's? How does this one compare with other material he has released, in particular "Secret Files" and "No Card Tricks"?

As for sponge balls, I really do not have any great routines, all I can do for now is watch other magicians routines and form my own out of those. I would be very interested to see the sponge ball routine you perform at your restaurant, that is of course if you don't mind me taking a look =) Thanks a lot for your advice, it's very appreciated.

MagicManci, thank-you for responding! Wow, what a great response. You have opened my mind up to realize it is more than just performing flawless tricks that fool your audience. I will endeavor to form close connections with my audience and as you say try make a long lasting impression in a short amount of time. I will definetly take away and try to use the knowledge you have been so kind to share with me. Oh, and the paper clip idea is great! That may very well be a closer to one of my routines Smile

I will keep in touch with this thread and try to obtain attain as much knowledge from it as I can, I look forward to other views and opinions from working magicians. Already, I feel much more confident in constructing my own routines!

-Dylan
Doctor D
View Profile
Special user
519 Posts

Profile of Doctor D
Hey Dylan,

You're looking for suggestions on openers?

- Watch how David uses his One Coin routine to approach an audience, or how about his Hermes ose production?

- Yes, Sponge Balls/Bunnies DO make a great opener. Unusual objects and audience interaction with a strong finish, what more could you ask for?

- Note that 'not opening with cards' isn't a rule, however you may wish to avoid in some occasions. Fact is, everyone and his uncle knows a simple card trick. When the second thing you ask your audience is to pick a card, a groan is not uncommon. Try thinking along lines of 'eye candy' card magic, i.e. a sequence of color changes, a flashy four-of-a-kind production etc.
Definitely do NOT approach a table with deck (visibly) in hand, your services may be turned down before you even get a chance to prove yourself.

I am of the opinion that, first and foremost, you should introduce yourself to the guests at the table, and ask if everything is alright. Should they wish anything else (a drink, silverware), you'll be able to have staff arrange beforehand, and the audience won't need to feel awkward for interrupting your performance.
Dannydoyle
View Profile
Eternal Order
20998 Posts

Profile of Dannydoyle
Well in general, I personally avoid telling the staff how and when to do their job. Things move so fast in a restaurant enviroment that this is kind of hard to do.

Many times they are in a flow and have a routine of their own and the timing may or may not involve your little performance. Let the staff do what they will and learn to work around it.

My advice has NOTHING to do with the magic routines you wish to attempt. The reason is that in the end they are secondary to almost everything else. Do the routines which suit you and your environment.

BUT how you interact with staff and customers is huge. My example above underscores the point. A very fast way to get the staff resentfull is to try to tell them to go to a table so they "won't interupt your routine" with simply doing their job.

Magicians have to learn to do their job and be out of the way. To the staff we are often a hinderance. In the way, standing in the aisles, and a general pain in the but.

My suggestion which always goes unheeded is to actually do a bus boy job for a month or two. Learn how restaurants work in general. Learn to be out of the way, learn the lingo and so forth. Then go to another place to do magic with this knowlege.

Here is a huge tip. Learn table numbers before your first night. That way if you do have to send a staff member somewhere for some reason or vice versa, then you know what each other is talking about.

Being a good restaurant magician unfortunatly has less to do with the "magician" part than most think. Most forget to learn the "restaurant" part and it makes them move from job to job freequently.

I actually KNOW one guy who has been working for restaurants for 20 years and if you tell him we did 300 covers tonight, he looks at you like a deer in the headlights. It is sad actually.

So in short worry less about magic, and more about the other stuff. You only spend a small amount of time your there doing magic anyhow, but the ENTIRE time in a restaurant. May as well know what you are doing right?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Bad to the Balloon
View Profile
Inner circle
Clearwater Florida
2116 Posts

Profile of Bad to the Balloon
[quote]On 2007-07-30 12:24, Dannydoyle wrote:
I actually KNOW one guy who has been working for restaurants for 20 years and if you tell him we did 300 covers tonight, he looks at you like a deer in the headlights. It is sad actually.
/quote]

What that is only 1 and half turns, what a slow night? We usually get 4-5 turns in a night.

Good advice all .... I really do think more magicians should know the restaurant business from the inside out and not from the outside in.

Go wait tables for a few months and use that knowledge to be a better magician.

As to cards and restaurants, many use cards as a nervous tick. What I mean by this often I have seen magician fiddle with cards instead of engage their audience same as a nervous kid shuffles his feet before asking out a girl.

walking up with a your deck in hand, doing triple cuts and charlier shuffles is not a way to endear your self to a lay crowd. Get your hand off your deck and talk to people then entertain them.
Mark Byrne
AKA Mark the Balloon Guy
As seen on the TODAY SHOW
www.balloonguy.net
Creator of Bad to the Balloon DVD series
Go to my store: http://tinyurl.com/Bad2theBalloon
Magicmatt1982
View Profile
Loyal user
Southeren IL
295 Posts

Profile of Magicmatt1982
I do have two sets but most of the time I do not do a set. I always read the talbe and then go from there. If I see a talbe of a family with little kids and one teenager I will go with my sponge ball, and then maybe my linking rings or Pro nightmare and close it. but if I am working a talbe of all adults. I will go with most cards and then my TT. That is my two cents.
Danny Diamond
View Profile
Inner circle
Connecticut
1400 Posts

Profile of Danny Diamond
Quote:
On 2007-07-30 12:24, Dannydoyle wrote:
Here is a huge tip. Learn table numbers before your first night. That way if you do have to send a staff member somewhere for some reason or vice versa, then you know what each other is talking about.


I will second this. It's a great tip. Just last night I asked the manager for a "floor chart" at the new place I am working. This was my third night at this place, but I should have asked for the chart, as Danny said, before my first night. But over the last few weeks, I have had a couple of waiters and waitresses tell me "I told the couple over there about you, and they wanted to see some magic", and often I would look across the dining area and say "that booth over there? No? Oh the one next to it...by the window?". Now that I have the chart, that confusion will be gone. And then next week, when a waitress says a table wants me and points to it, I can say "table 14?". Asking the manager for this, also shows him that you care, and want to do the best job possible for his restaurant.

The rest of Danny's advice is right on as well. I think this genre of magic, restaurant work, is SO much more about being a people person and being polite and social - than it is about your sleight-of-hand abilities. I am not ashamed to say that my people skills and much more polished than my magic sleights (not to say that your magic should not be polished!). People are simply NOT going to go to the manager after their meal, and say "I tell ya, that magician had the best card manipulation skills I have ever seen!" - but they WILL go to the manager and tell him what a good time they had, or how funny the magician was, if you work your people skills effectively.
You don't drown by falling in the water;

you drown by staying there.



- Edwin Louis Cole
MagicSanta
View Profile
Inner circle
Northern Nevada
5845 Posts

Profile of MagicSanta
The reason some say don't open with cards is because a lot of your specs will see the cards and think "oh man, my uncle did card tricks", or in Australia "there is another joey for the croc". I'd say most people going into restaurant magic are also card heavy because there is so much material. There is a huge amount of material available you just need to learn, as Danny said, how a restaurant operates. I'd say pretty much everyone there is there to eat and you being there is just, hopefully, a bonus. You can get a feel for the restaurant after awhile w/out working in one but bussing or being waiter gives you insight.
Foxbiz
View Profile
Loyal user
Atlanta
209 Posts

Profile of Foxbiz
You have already gotten some sage advise here!

My 2 cents would be:
1) use the search feature here to look up "openers" and many of the other threads already covered (that should keep you busy for hours!)

2) Utilize charity events to work for free while you work out your act. I am not suggesting you do a poor job here, but you'll be more relaxed not having any job to lose and you'll find an appreciative audience most often that you gain tremendous experience from.

Heck, originally I would just approach someone with "think of any card" and then show them the one card I was holding... it would be the old 52-on-1... Just one trick, but I learned a dozen ways to approach folks and got lots of great lines from them (and not just "get lost!)

Lynn Fox

Lynn Fox
Timm
View Profile
New user
Las Vegas
56 Posts

Profile of Timm
I still find it hard to believe that many restaurant magicians have or worry about "sets". There are so many variables that can come into play when working an environment like that. Sometimes you'll find you have 10 seconds, others you may have 10 minutes. I find it always best to "feel" the mood of the table. Give this a try, the next time you approach a table really have no idea what you will perform. Talk to the people and be in the moment. There may be a magical gem in the conversation that will guide you as to what or how you should perform.

Remember, for the most part people are polite. They will not tell you " That's enough". Try doing one killer trick (or closer as some may say) and say " I hope you have a great time at _____ and enjoy your meal. If you'd like to see some more magic, my name is _______just let your waiter know and I'll be glad to come back before your desert." Sometimes they'll say "thanks." Then move on to ther tables. Other times they may say" Wait, do some more!" If you get invited like that, then go to town. You are now a WELCOMED guest at their table.

Just my thoughts. Take all of the advice that others have given you and sort through it until you find what works best for you.

Good Luck!
Strangelittleman
View Profile
Regular user
Sydney Aus
184 Posts

Profile of Strangelittleman
Quick off topic - magicsanta "there is another joey for the croc" <--- what the....never heard that saying in my life, and I grew up in the bush lol

Anyhow back ontopic - I work bars/pubs and must say a lot of the time I start with cards. Why you ask, well I know a few card routines, but they are not my strongest suit, but it grabs people straight away when you do a quicky then you can move onto other stuff.

I found a lot of the advice here when I started great - take the spongeball/bunnies advice mate, you'll never look back. Also, Im terrible with names and have a bunch of regulars - so I follow the learn something about them advice - each person that comes in I might not have a clue to their name, but I remember a personal detail and can use that to my advantage.

The routines, tricks etc - they will come as you get more used to the work place, I wouldnt worry to much about that - but hey, that's me......
Ethan
View Profile
Regular user
UK
142 Posts

Profile of Ethan
Quote:
On 2007-08-01 02:27, Strangelittleman wrote:
I work bars/pubs and must say a lot of the time I start with cards. Why you ask, well I know a few card routines, but they are not my strongest suit, but it grabs people straight away when you do a quicky then you can move onto other stuff.


The environment in a bar is more suited to cards than in the typical restaurant, though even in a bar there are many advantages in using something a little more unusual.

Personally I don't use "sets" I will have a number of effects I typically use to open with and then after that I'll just go with the feel of the table. As long as you have a good variety and strong presentations that are interactive. Someone mentioned using sponge balls as an opener and sure it can be a great opener but I usually wouldn't use it as I want to be sure I'm opening with an effect that no one on the table will have seen before. Not fun when half way through someone is saying that it's going to end with them having a lot of balls in their hand.
The other point that I don't think has been mentioned, is you need to be aware of other tables, some effects can clearly be seen by surrounding tables, this is good as it get's these tables interested and wanting to see some magic for themselves but depending on the effect it may be that you don't want to show these tables that particular one. So you need to be aware who has seen it.
Another point often the staff want to see some magic, as long as your not stopping them working, it's a good idea to blow them away with some strong stuff, it helps get them onside and also suggest to customers that they really have to see you. Often some of the customers are personal friends of the staff. It's worth also noting that sometimes the customers are staff, I was performing at a table in a new restaurant a few weeks ago and when I'd finished, the girl I'd just been performing for told me she was the assistant manager. So again be aware of these possible situations.
As has alreay been said it's about people skills at least as much as it is about magic.
DylanTolly
View Profile
New user
Australia
94 Posts

Profile of DylanTolly
There is so much fantastic advice in this thread! Thank-you to EVERYONE who has contributed!

I have been practicing 'sets' over the past couple of days very thoroughly, but when performing I will use these 'sets' more as guidelines if I am stumped for ideas Smile

I have a question for 'Strangelittleman', I see you live in Australia too Smile G'day! I am just curious as to whether it was difficult to get a job as a magician, as it is far more uncommon in Australia? I am also curious as to whether or not you receive many tips, as this is also something that doesn't happen very often within our culture... It's great to have someone in Australia with working experience Smile

Thanks again,

-Dylan
MagicSanta
View Profile
Inner circle
Northern Nevada
5845 Posts

Profile of MagicSanta
Having sets is like having a script. It anchors you so you can depart from it when need be but return to it when you need to.
Christopher Howell
View Profile
New user
London, UK
8 Posts

Profile of Christopher Howell
Hey Dylan,

Magic aside, I've found one of the most important things you can hone for successful restaurant work is your smooth approach to the table. Rather than 'hitting them cold' with your skills, if you win them over instead as a person then you'll have any audience in the palm of your hand. It's all about relationships. Management will be just as concerned about people liking you as they will be with people talking about your magic.

Cheers,
Christopher
DylanTolly
View Profile
New user
Australia
94 Posts

Profile of DylanTolly
Thanks Chris, I'll keep that advice in mind.

-Dylan
Ronnie Ramin
View Profile
Loyal user
233 Posts

Profile of Ronnie Ramin
Dylan,
Look for Lonnie Chevrie's Dvd's Outlaw Magic. He is a working professional and uses these routines. “String'Em Up” and his Coin in Bottle are perfect for what you want.

The Sponge Bunnies...do them once and you'll never stop doing them. I make my own, and use a wonderful routine from Dan Strange (cafe' member)that makes it a worker of a routine.

Cards: Red Hot Mama is a great routine. Keep in mind that if you do a good job you will have repeat customers. For them you can do more cards, since you've begun to build a relationship with them. You are basically continuing your act from the first time they saw you, so you aren't having to break the ice. They'll expect to see the bunnies again and more than likely will have come back and brought friends on the strength of that effect alone.

Ronnie
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » How do I build up a working restaurant routine? (0 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2022 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.07 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL