Top Tips For Restaurant Magic

All of the tips in this collection are important, and the list is the result of interviews with many top restaurant magicians over the last few years - so please note them carefully, and most of all, use them!

• When seeking business initially, leave a professionally printed business card with the restaurant manager, it will strengthen your image.

• Don't' view yourself as the main attraction. Diners have gone out for a meal primarily; the magic is a small bonus in the grand scheme of things.

• Always remember your aim is to keep the customers happy - whatever it takes. If there is a problem with the food or service, take control and sort it out rather than passing the buck or making excuses. You represent the restaurant whilst working there. Ask "How is everything with your meal" if appropriate. They might think you are the boss.

• Become a friend to the audience. Laugh at their jokes, and listen politely when they speak.

• Be prepared to adapt quickly when someone interrupts you, asks how a trick is done, or try's to examine a prop.

• Entertainment is a higher priority than the magic effect.

• Magic using borrowed items from the diners and from the table is particularly well received.

• Don't get stale - add new tricks regularly for the benefit of yourself and repeat customers.

• Take breaks and don't perform for more than 2 % hours - you'll lose your edge.

• Agree in writing that you will be paid on the night.

• Wear clothes appropriate to the style of restaurant and clientele. It's better to fit in than stand out like a sore thumb.

• Only perform a card trick if it is very powerful, unique, and does not involve adding up, selecting a pile etc. Audiences tire of card tricks very easily.

• Remember the names and occupations of regular customers. This will pay dividends when you personalise your approach, and talk about them. You will be a real hit.

• Show appreciation for restaurant staff, don't get in their way, and keep out of the drama in their lives, stay firmly on middle ground!

• Always leave guests wanting more.

• Be prepared for some silly comments from time to time, and think about how you would respond. For example: "Ah the magician, can you make the wine bottle full again?" In response you might say, "yes, you raise your hand, gesture to the wine waiter, and he will be right over!" Or, "Can you make my wife disappear?" To that, you might respond, "well, it all depends how much you can pay me because she has already given me a lot of money to get rid of you!"

• Don't perform for a table that has already had their bill - the restaurant will want to welcome new guests as soon as possible.

• You might want to tell kids that they have to eat their meal before they can see the magic. (The parents will appreciate that one).

• Routines with audience participation will be the most memorable for spectators.

• Attend employee meetings with other staff. Show yourself willing to fit in with everyone, not aloof and unapproachable. Invite comments as to how you might be more helpful to them.

• Use a copy of 'Magic' magazine to help get you the job. How? At the time of writing, towards the back of the magazine there is a listing of magicians' restaurant gigs in various towns all over the place. You can use this as direct credibility that magic in restaurants works! Just as it works for Restaurant X in Magic Magazine, it can work for the restaurant you want to approach. As you show the manager the listing, you could say, "All these restaurants are enjoying the benefits of using magic, when would you like me to begin here too? Why not give it a try?"

Use Magic magazines 'Who's where' section as third party credibility
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