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The restaurant industry is a VERY competitive one. Walk down your local high street - you will notice there are so many options of where to go out for a meal. As a consumer how you do decide where to eat? Hundreds of restaurants go out of business every year because they weren't competitive enough and more importantly they didn't give their customers a good enough reason to use their services.

This is going to be a very bold statement but (here it comes)


Restaurant magic is the art of performing magic in a restaurant. A magician would go from table to table entertaining guests at their table. This type of magic (known as close up magic) happens right in front of their eyes. The magician will typically perform before the food is served or in between courses.

Now that we have that out of the way let me give you a few reasons why you need magic in your establishment:

1.) Magic is very popular right now.

Derren Brown, Dynamo, Ben Hanlin, Troy, David Blaine, Chris Angel - the list goes on and on. Magic is very popular with the general public.

Dynamo has just sold out arenas up and down the UK with his stage show, magic is on TV all of the time and there are more touring illusion shows now than ever before. People WANT to see magic and are prepared to pay to do so. As a restaurant manager/owner this is something that you should take advantage of.

2.) Close up magic is EVEN more popular.

Close up magic is the sort that is performed close up, right in front of the spectator's eyes and in many cases in their own hands. As a magician one of the things I hear the most is, "I thought I could catch it if I watched up close."

Close up magic lends itself perfectly to a restaurant environment. You can have a magician going from table to table and your customers will love it!

3.) Magic is unobtrusive, unlike a lot of other types of entertainment.

If you decide that entertainment would work in your venue there are many choices. However pretty much everything else you can think of has to be experienced by the whole venue.

karaoke singer in a grey shit and glasses performs in front of a crowd at a small bar

The perfect example is Karaoke - I HATE Karaoke. I went into a restaurant once and they had a Karaoke system set up so I immediately walked out. If I wanted to eat there I HAD to listen to a couple of hours of terrible singing and I didn't want to do that. The same is true of singers, bands, comedians - pretty much every other type of entertainment - either you have to watch/listen to it or you leave.

Magic on the other hand is unobtrusive. A magician goes from table to table performing magic to one group and then another one. If a particular table doesn't like magic or they don't want to get involved THEY DON'T HAVE TO. It means you can put on entertainment which most customers will enjoy but you don't have to worry about driving away customers.

4.) Magic gives you a competitive advantage.

I mentioned earlier that customers have a lot of choice of where to eat. How can you differentiate your venue from the dozens of others within the same catchment area? Simply offer something that nobody else is offering.

People these days do not go out and eat every day. Therefore when they do decide to dine out they want a special experience and they want to get the most for their money (or Bang for the Buck!). If you were going out and there was a choice of two venues, both the same other than one was advertising free entertainment, which would you chose? More importantly, which would your customers chose?

We work with a lot of restaurants and many get us in on a quiet night to try and drive more business to the venue. There is one restaurant we work at in Birmingham and we have worked there for seven years. They got us in on a very quiet night in the hopes that it would increase footfall. Fast forward seven years and that night is now their busiest night of the week. The manager will openly tell you (and I quote):

"One of the reasons my business is in MASSIVE growth is because of having magic in on Thursday nights. It gives customers a reason to come back time and time again"

Simple really!

5.) Magic encourages repeat custom.

Most restaurants we work with use us on a residency basis. This means that we go into the restaurant on a weekly or a fortnightly basis. This is the absolute best way to use a magician if you REALLY want your business to increase. The reason is simple - magic generates fantastic word of mouth.

You have to understand that there are very few places you can go to see magic - especially close up magic. When people see a GOOD magician perform they normally

magician stacks and mixes up red playing cards ready to perform some magic

will want to see more. More importantly they will want their friends to watch as well. We have been in restaurants before when the customer dining has called their friends to come and join them there and then because they really HAVE to see the magician.

Restaurants we work with on a weekly basis focus a great deal of their advertising on getting people in on the nights we are there. You would be amazed at the amount of YOUR customers that will come back every single week to see the magic. They will even bring their friends and family as well. Many of the restaurants we work with brand the nights we are there as 'Magic Night'.

6.) Whatever your clientele magic can work really well.

The great thing about close up magic is that you can adapt the performance depending on the venue you are performing in. So if a magician is working at a high end restaurant they can perform sleight of hand, mind reading and effects designed specifically for an adult audience. On the other hand if you own or manage a family restaurant, the performances can be changed to appeal more to children and teenagers.

In fact with family restaurants there is something to consider that I like to call 'The Kid Factor'. The basic concept of this is that your child will choose where you go out and eat as a family. If you have children and have been to a restaurant where there is a magician doing magic tricks and making balloons, when it comes time to pick where to go again, where do you think the child will choose; the place where there is nothing going on or the restaurant where they can watch an awesome magician and get a balloon model?

7.) You can totally eliminate walk outs.

If you own or manage a busy restaurant and you don't need more business, then having a magician is even more important. If you are busy then you have probably experienced walk outs. Walk outs are those customers that find out there is over an hour wait for a table and decide to go somewhere else. We work with a number of large chains where their priority is for us to stop this from happening.

As customers arrive they are shown into the bar area and told the magician will be over shortly. Then while they are waiting they get to see live close up magic. Before they know it their table is ready and they go and sit down. Effectively, as a venue, you have turned a potential walkout into a happy customer.

8.) Magic can help manage problems within the venue

Imagine you have a problem in the kitchen and there is a delay on food service. Depending on the customer this can be frustrating for all concerned. A good magician will work with the staff in the restaurant to ensure any problems are dealt with quickly and effectively.

If there is going to be a delay, the magician can go to the table and explain the situation and then inform the customer that it is their job is to entertain them while they wait. Before the customer knows it, the food has arrived and they don't have an issue waiting at all.

9.) Magic is a great way to clear tables quickly.

Some venues like to turn their tables around as fast as possible. The problem comes when there is one particular table that insists on staying forever after they have finished eating. For a venue that likes to turn things around quickly this can be very frustrating. Without offending the customer how do you get rid of them?

We work with one venue that hire us to deal with this one specific problem. Basically the staff will let us know when a table needs moving on. At that point a magician will go over, say hi and ask if they would like to see some magic. When the table says yes, the magician asks the customers to follow him into the bar area. Once they are there, they get a chance to see some magic and the table can be turned around. Simple!

10.) Create a magical souvenir that is better than word of mouth!

a silver fork that is bent

A lot of magic tricks involve altering a seemingly normal object in an impossible way. For example making a borrowed coin bend in the hands of the spectator or having two playing cards fuse together into one card. When working in a restaurant a good magician will perform tricks like this all of the time. The reason for this is that a magically altered object can be given to the person watching the trick as a souvenir.

You would be amazed at the amount of people that take these magical souvenirs home and show them to friends and family. This generates publicity that you just cannot buy!

One of the tricks that I often do is to take a perfectly normal fork and bend it in the hands of the spectator. Then I always give this fork away. I couldn't tell you the amount of times I have been in a restaurant and a person I have never met before asks, "can you do the trick with the fork my friend told me about?' People will come into your restaurant because they want to see this sort of thing happen to them.

Having a magician in a restaurant is cost effective and will generate repeat business and new business. Obviously you have to pick the right magician. Find out what experience they have and how many restaurants they have worked in. Perhaps arrange for a performer to come in as a one off to enable you to watch the reactions of your customers and listen to the laughter. I promise you will soon wonder why you didn't do this years ago.


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