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 Post subject: Payment
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 5:00 pm 
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Joined: 09 May 2007
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This will be my first actual paying restaurant gig. I will be working one night for free so the management can see how it goes. After that we are going to discuss payment. In my first meeting with them, I mentioned starting at maybe $25-$30 an hour since it will be my first actual restaurant gig. I had tried to avoid discussing price during my first meeting because I've never really done much research on the subject (OF STARTING PRICE, I have in fact done much research on restaurant walkaround). However, the manager ended up really needing to know what I had in mind. So I told them what I had been given as advice by a few other magicians (start out at $25-$30 an hour). To be honest, they seemed shocked at this. I get the feeling he had been thinking more along the lines of $5-$10 an hour. He said something to the effect that none of his employees would ever get paid that much.
I then explained to him a little more of my reasoning and what I had been told by others who have done this work for a long time. He seems to understand now. I offered to work a night for free so they can see how that goes. My question is that after that night, when pricing comes up again, what should I tell him? I don't want pricing to be the deciding factor of whether or not I get the gig.
By the way, let me make clear that I have enough experience, and don't need any advice about the gig. I am prepared for this. I just need some advice on starting payment at restaurant gigs, preferably from people who have worked in restaurant gigs and can think back to when they first started. Thanks in advance.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 6:40 pm 
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Try pricing it per evening instead of per hour. Then estimate how many tables you can handle and divide it into the fee. Now you can give him a price per table (per show) that sounds much more reasonable. Tell him your standard fee for a half hour show and sell him on the great bargain you're giving him.

Remember too, you're not there to earn a wage. You're there to make contacts for future private shows.

You're not an hourly employee so you shouldn't price it per hour.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:26 am 
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Penguin

Joined: 22 Mar 2005
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Location: CT
jackpot6200,
Sometimes it can seem alot to a manager to pay a magician or balloon artist 40 dollars a hour (and up) when his wait staff makes 5 dollars a hour.
Now the way to break it down to the manager or the owner is that his wait staff makes X ammount of dollars for the night (tips and wages all included). You are charging him the same ammount. Magicians and entertainers are not privelaged to the wait staff's standard 10-20 percent tip. So we make our wages in a diffrent way.

Cheers,
Adam


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 7:29 pm 
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Have you done any research to answer you question or is THIS the only research you are doing. So far no one has told you anything that will help. (Sorry Dave, you can see I disagree with you on this one.) Jim Pace's book, Peter Lansing's book and several others that are devoted to restaurant work all give a formula to arrive at what to charge. I won't divulge it because you should buy one of their books and learn how to work restaurants the right way.

Trying to get info off of forums Won't help you and will hurt you if you follow bad advice.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 10:04 am 
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Joined: 22 Mar 2005
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paddy wrote:
Have you done any research to answer you question or is THIS the only research you are doing. So far no one has told you anything that will help. (Sorry Dave, you can see I disagree with you on this one.) Jim Pace's book, Peter Lansing's book and several others that are devoted to restaurant work all give a formula to arrive at what to charge. I won't divulge it because you should buy one of their books and learn how to work restaurants the right way.

Trying to get info off of forums Won't help you and will hurt you if you follow bad advice.


Hmmmm I gave him my opinion and what has worked for me in the past. Obviously I'm a idiot and have no idea what I'm talking about sinceI don't have a book published on the subject.
Very sorry to have tried to give some pointers on what works for me at the restaurants I work(ed) at.

Cheers,
Adam


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 11:23 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 13 Nov 2003
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA
space_ghost15 wrote:
paddy wrote:
Have you done any research to answer you question or is THIS the only research you are doing. So far no one has told you anything that will help. (Sorry Dave, you can see I disagree with you on this one.) Jim Pace's book, Peter Lansing's book and several others that are devoted to restaurant work all give a formula to arrive at what to charge. I won't divulge it because you should buy one of their books and learn how to work restaurants the right way.

Trying to get info off of forums Won't help you and will hurt you if you follow bad advice.


Hmmmm I gave him my opinion and what has worked for me in the past. Obviously I'm a idiot and have no idea what I'm talking about sinceI don't have a book published on the subject.
Very sorry to have tried to give some pointers on what works for me at the restaurants I work(ed) at.

Cheers,
Adam


Paddy wasn't saying that your advice was crappy, he's saying that his book, Jim Pace's book, etc, give the information he's looking for. Those books do indeed discuss starting price, as I have Pace's book and it is awesome. People come to the forums looking for advice when the answers are right in front of them.

Paddy was offering up a couple resources that could GREATLY help jackpot be successful in restaurant work.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 12:07 pm 
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Spaceghost wrote
Quote:
Hmmmm I gave him my opinion and what has worked for me in the past. Obviously I'm a idiot and have no idea what I'm talking about sinceI don't have a book published on the subject.


No you didn't give him advice about what worked for you. What you said was:
Quote:
Sometimes it can seem alot to a manager to pay a magician or balloon artist 40 dollars a hour (and up) when his wait staff makes 5 dollars a hour.
Now the way to break it down to the manager or the owner is that his wait staff makes X ammount of dollars for the night (tips and wages all included). You are charging him the same ammount. Magicians and entertainers are not privelaged to the wait staff's standard 10-20 percent tip. So we make our wages in a diffrent way.


First of all the waitstaff doesn't make $5/hour it is more like $2.15 Second, what worked at one restaurant is not a standard for the business. There are other things wrong with this "advice." One, the manager knows what the waitstaff makes and you are an entertainer, NOT a waiter. If you said this to me I would agree. So I will give you the $2.15 per hour and you can get tips just like the waitstaff. Either that or I'll pay you what the cooks make which is between 7 to 12 per hour.

That manager knows that as a magi working restaurants I'll make tips. What I don't want him to know is how much I make in tips. On a Fri and a Sat nijght I'll pull in between $150 to $200 for a 3 hour shift plus the restaurant fee.

Now the formula that is used in various books makes allowances for the different types of restaurant. You can't charge a family place $40 an hour if the average meal cost is $15 per person. You would charge a fine dining place much more because the average mneal costs $40 or $50. Get the books, follow the formulas and make some money.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 12:21 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 22 Mar 2005
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Location: CT
Paddy,
Ah well. Agree to disagree. I'm not trolling the message boards looking to start fights and get into arguments about opinions.
I fully respect your views and that of other perfromers in print and not but I know what works for me and my area (as you stated).
I simply wanted to give the fella a little bit of understanding on how to approach a manager that seems to have a issue paying a entertainer the going rate. I agree that the he should take a look at the books out there by seasoned proffesionals but there is no formula that works for every situation, even you can't argue that one Paddy.

Cheers,
Adam


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 3:35 pm 
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Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 37
Thanks for the advice, guys. No Paddy, this is definately not the only research I have done on the subject. I have a couple of DVDs, and I've read a couple of books on it (however not the ones you mentioned). I've also spoken to three magicians already in the business. What I asked for as a starting price from the manager was a culmination from all of those sources. However, because of the reaction it got, I thought I'd ask on the forums for some additional advice. It couldn't hurt, right? Anyway, thanks to all of you, I will give what you said some thought. Paddy, what is the name of the Jim Pace book? Is it Restaurant Worker's Handbook, or something like that, because I'm not sure if they sell it on this site or if I should look for it on Amazon or something. I figure it's worth looking into some more books :D . Thanks again.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 8:37 pm 
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You're right. They don't sell it here but you can google Jim Pace or the title and find it. Also if you have a brick and mortar shop near you call them. Or call Haines House of Cards in Cincinnati I know they have it. their number is 513 531-6548


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 9:35 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 26 Jun 2006
Posts: 1435
When I first started doing restaurants, I ran into a problem with getting my asking price. Once they saw my performance and what I could do for their restaurant, that changed. My general fee is by the hour...with a 3 hour minimum. I will negotiate my fee according to the size of the restaurant, and the type of restaurant...family dining, casual dining, fine dining, etc..
I once had a General Manager tell me he would pay me top dollar for my entertainment. He followed it up with "$15 an hour". I kind of laughed and told him that my normal fee was 8 1/2 times that amount (about $125 an hour), but I would cut him a deal at $95 an hour for a minimum of 3 hours. Of course, he scoffed at that, and told me that I was crazy for charging such an amount and said something about charging him more than his doctor would.
I gave him a copy of my DVD, as well as a list of client references, and 3 weeks later, I was booked for his restaurant at the rate I quoted him...$95.00 an hour.

My point to that story is....The reason why a doctor charges so much is because not everybody can do what they do. They have their specialty field. That's what they do. Servers in a restaurant all get the paid the same...they do the same job as everyone else in that place. YOU should command a MUCH higher wage...not everyone can do what YOU do...Provide quality entertainment to the guests of the restaurant, promote their business (while promoting yours :wink: ), increasing guest satisfaction, and increasing servers' incomes. In an way, you are working miracles in that restaurant by boosting sales, generating entertainment for the restaurant, boosting incomes and morale of the servers... Let's see someone ELSE do that for minimum wage. Not gonna happen. And I HAVE been known to tell the General Manager of a restaurant, "You get what you pay for."


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:48 pm 
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Penguin

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Thanks for all advice. I'll be sure to follow up, unfortunately I did not get the gig though. The general manager decided he wouldn't allow it unless I'd agree to work for tips only. :cry: So, I'll be looking around again. I know TGI Fridays hires magicians but ours already has one. Maybe I'll give Applebees a shot or some place like that. Thanks again.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:25 am 
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born to perform.

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I don't normally condone working for tips only, but it DOES beat NOTHING. At least you can get the experience, and a reference from the restaurant, which would allow you to get OTHER restaurant work. Need the experience before you can make it to the top...Can't start out there. Consider the pros and cons. Are yo doing magic for the money, or for the art? Besides that, as stated earlier...The point of doing restaurant work is to get work OUTSIDE the restaurant. Sure, you may starve working for tips, but if it gets you 3 or 4 bookings a week, what's it hurt. You just don't want to work for tips only very long.


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