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 Post subject: Restaurant Conflicts
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:58 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 17 May 2009
Posts: 1300
Location: New Jersey
If any of you have seen any material on restaurant magic, you will find that there are many conflicting ideas that all seem to work for their respective owners. One prime example that lead to this thread was a video Penguin Magic uploaded a while back from Brian Campbell. He almost discourages tips when he approaches tables and finds that people tip anyway if they like what they see. I know from personal experience that I get tipped better when I make it known that I do accept tips and I find that others agree with me. In another of those videos Campbell says not to expect more than $20 or so per hour from the restaurant. Going over my Sankey DVD on restaurants I found that he says he hasn't worked for under $75 bucks an hour in the past 15 years and he implies that unless your new to magic doing anything less than Campbell's maximum expectation would devalue the art. I know other magicians who work restaurants for free other than the tips they make and the clients they reach. Anybody else notice how conflicting people's views on restaurant magic are, especially when it comes to money?


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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Conflicts
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:10 pm 
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Joined: 27 Jun 2011
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Location: Philippines
I think that everyone is commenting on their own regions and experiences. So I could understand a bit of difference. But the $20-$75 seems to be a fairly large difference. It could be the type of restaurant too.

But I have noticed some very different opinions in a lot of areas. So everyone's mileage seems to vary.


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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Conflicts
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:06 pm 
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The oddest part is that it seems to only be the seasoned veterans who come up with these contradicting opinions and swear that if you use their methodology you'll reach the same 15+ years of success they did and if you use the other one you'll fail miserably. Then another person with a similar amount of experience comes along and says the exact opposite of the first person.


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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Conflicts
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:19 pm 
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Sorry but Sankey has his head up his butt on this. restaurants will NOT pay anything close to $75/hr for magic, there's too many kids who'll do it for tips. Of course they don't last long and they give us a bad name. I have been working restaurant gigs for the last 16 years, the restaurants pay between $50 to $75 a night (notice NIGHT not HOUR.) This is for a 3 to 4 hour gig, it also allows me to accept tips. I don't wait around with my hand out, when I finish at a table I leave, unless they tell me to wait, in fact I have people come up and drop money in my tip jar when I'm at other tables.

I also make sure that the servers get credit for all they do, I make comments about how "you have the best server on tonight." Or if they are having some trouble I'll say "The kitchen is screwing up tonight, this server is too good to make that kind of error." Remember that happy servers help you, make one angry and they will kill your tips. Also I wear 2 LARGE 3" diameter buttons, one reads "I WORK FOR TIPS" and the other says "SUGGESTED TIP $2435.80"

Working restaurants can be financially GREAT! You get money from the store to be there, you get tips for being entertaining. 5 years ago it was not unusual to bring in $400 to 500 on a Friday night and up to $700 on a Sat. night. Now, well the economy is a lot worse off so don't even think about making that but a couple of hundred a night is still good.


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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Conflicts
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:11 pm 
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^ Exactly my point ^

Professional, knows what he's talking about on most issues, has experience to back up what he's saying, has all the evidence we could ever want to back it up, yet completely contradicts everybody else with similar credentials. Only slightly in some cases, drastically in others.


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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Conflicts
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:29 pm 
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Maybe (just maybe?) its a thing to do with countries we live in- but i dont quite see how. I don't do any recurring restaurant gigs for less than 50$ an hour, so sankey at 75$ seems more than realistic.

Even at about 17 years old (now 21), I had been getting paid 50$+ an hour at a restaurant.

Just trying to get the facts out, so Paddy, I don't think you can just say sankey's rates are coming from his head which is somehow inside his butt, lol.

And a night is minimum 2 hours, to about 4.


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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Conflicts
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:46 pm 
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Well I could see the currency differences being a reason. I'm pretty sure Sankey is Canadian and at the time the DVD was released (or at least when I bought it) the Canadian dollar was worth slightly less than the US dollar.


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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Conflicts
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:31 pm 
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Yea but for the last few years is been at par or worth more than US so I don't think it makes that much of a difference right now for me. I work min 50$ an hour, and thats normal in canada.


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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Conflicts
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:55 pm 
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In Southern California, i.e. Los Angeles/Orange County. I would perform Restaurant gigs for $100.00 and a meal for two hours of work. Some of the nicer venues would pay $150.00, and a meal, for two hours of work. (Right now my fee is $75.00 per hour).

In all of the Restaurant gigs I did, I would never solicit for tips; I would state I was there on behalf of the management to entertain. I discovered that people were more open to the intrusion on their night out. Of course I was given tips many times, upwards of $20.00 to $100.00.

Magic Fees do drastically differ from region to region and different countries. Here in Southern California, there are amateur or part-timers that charge $100.00 per show to close-up/strolling performers charging $800.00 an hour.

Personally, I currently charge $250.00 per hour, minimum 2 hours, for strolling and double or triple that for 30 minute stand-up shows. (From a few professional magicians, that I know well, I charge lower than most).

Basically you need to know what the competition is charging in your area, which is difficult to discover, since many magicians are not open to sharing that information or embellish to sound more successful than they truly are.


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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Conflicts
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:41 pm 
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Joined: 05 Feb 2006
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People will pay more for good quality. If you tell someone you're worth $20 they'll think you're not as good as the guy charging $50. It's like "I know the store brand is cheaper... but the name brand HAS to be better, it's only $4 more for better quality".


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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Conflicts
PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:14 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 28 Jan 2009
Posts: 947
Location: Kettle Falls, WA
paddy wrote:
Sorry but Sankey has his head up his butt on this. restaurants will NOT pay anything close to $75/hr for magic, there's too many kids who'll do it for tips. Of course they don't last long and they give us a bad name. I have been working restaurant gigs for the last 16 years, the restaurants pay between $50 to $75 a night (notice NIGHT not HOUR.) This is for a 3 to 4 hour gig, it also allows me to accept tips. I don't wait around with my hand out, when I finish at a table I leave, unless they tell me to wait, in fact I have people come up and drop money in my tip jar when I'm at other tables.

I also make sure that the servers get credit for all they do, I make comments about how "you have the best server on tonight." Or if they are having some trouble I'll say "The kitchen is screwing up tonight, this server is too good to make that kind of error." Remember that happy servers help you, make one angry and they will kill your tips. Also I wear 2 LARGE 3" diameter buttons, one reads "I WORK FOR TIPS" and the other says "SUGGESTED TIP $2435.80"

Working restaurants can be financially GREAT! You get money from the store to be there, you get tips for being entertaining. 5 years ago it was not unusual to bring in $400 to 500 on a Friday night and up to $700 on a Sat. night. Now, well the economy is a lot worse off so don't even think about making that but a couple of hundred a night is still good.


I agree, I worked in restaurants for years 4-5 nights a week, I never found one that would pay $75/hour. I had an agreement with On The Border Cafe for a long time to work for $50 dollars a night and 2 meals. That was for a 3 hour shift.

The danger of taking tips is that the servers could think you are taking some of their money. That's an idea I first heard of on Charles Greenes tape about restaurant magic. I never had any trouble with that, most of the servers seemed happy to have me around to save them when there was a mistake in the kitchen.

Setting rates is tricky, figuring in tips is tough too. Good luck with it!

Ted


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