The following are the basic guidelines I use and teach to those interested in restaurant entertainment. This is just the short list of basic guidelines that act as a preamble before the full chunk of the manual is reviewed. I provide them here as a list of suggestions for others interested in working restaurants as an entertainer.
As all of my articles, this is what I’ve found works for me. It is in no way a 100% fool-proof list as all entertainers and artists perform differently and each restaurant must be dealt with as its own entity.
- Appearance – Show up clean cut and well groomed in professional attire. Dress pants, closed toed dress shoes, and a button up shirt is the norm. I do not dress as a clown and do not suggest that others do it because of the high number of people that are terrified of clowns. However, if you do dress in a costume, make sure it is a well polished costume that is regularly dry cleaned.
- Timeliness – Always show up on time or early. It is also good to try and leave on time as well. If you do happen to stay late, be sure to let the manager know you are staying late as a courtesy so they do not come to expect it as this also can be difficult to address later on in the business relationship.
- Priorities – Patrons are at the restaurant to eat first and to be entertained second. The best time to approach the table is after the food has been ordered, but before the food has arrived. If a server or one of the staff come to the table, do your best to get out of their way completely. When at all possible, speed up the rotation of the tables whenever you can. More patrons coming into the restaurant means more money for the restaurant and a longer lasting business relationship for you.
- Safety First – Balloons are a choking hazard for all children under the age of three. Due to the nature of latex, it becomes very dangerous if swallowed. Be sure to inform all parents and guardians who have younger children with them.
- Manager Clause – Everything in the manual is to be followed as written unless otherwise stated by a manager. If you are told to do something by management, assuming it does not endanger yourself or others, please comply. This only applies to the manager, not the wait staff. If a staff member asks you to make them a balloon, you can do it after your shift. However, if they are requesting you go to one of their tables that requested you; it is probably a good idea to follow their advice. Just remember that the manager has final say in anything in the restaurant.
- Marketing – You are in the restaurant to help build business for the restaurant. Always talk positively about the restaurant you are in and encourage guests to come again. Not only does it increase possible tips you may receive, but it also maintains a positive relationship between the restaurant and yourself, encouraging patrons to visit over and over again.
- Staffing – You are not a part of the restaurant staff. If there is a problem, find out who can help and notify them immediately. If it is a matter of silverware or napkins, know where to find them. If it has anything to do with the kitchen, notify the wait staff accordingly.
- Humility – Know your place. You are an added bonus, an extra, something special that the restaurant added for their customers. You are never going to be chosen over that of a member of a wait staff. They always have priority. If you show them all the respect and kindness that you can, many of them will return the favor and the restaurant staff will work together with you to help build a welcoming environment for the entire community to come and have dinner.
- Understand No – A no is a no. Do not pressure the guests into anything. There are creative ways to entertain and amuse people that would not otherwise be amused, but do not push your limits too far.
- Have Fun – If you are not having fun, then no one else is. Smile, enjoy yourself, and make sure everyone is happy. If you can do that, then you will do well. On a side note, I’ve personally found that I make much better money in tips when I go, entertain, and just have a great old time.
This is on the first page of my restaurant training program. These are the 10 principles that I use while in a restaurant. I hope they will at the very least encourage you to come up with a list of things to guide you throughout your business walk as well.