A Step by Step Guide to Pitching a Restaurant

Walk inside to the bar. Start twisting. Make a simple, but impressive balloon.

Let's make some moneyWhen someone asks you what is going on, ask if the General Manager is in.

If so, twist until they arrive.

If not, ask for a card and see if a shift manager is in. Pitch to Shift Manager and ask when GM will be available to talk with.

Hello. I’m Jonathan Fudge, an internationally award winning balloon artist and entertainer that specializes in restaurant entertainment. I’ve not only been trained in restaurant customer retention, client satisfaction, and problem intervention – I wrote the book.

Keep twisting. Make another shape if you need to.

The reason I’m here is to offer to entertain at your restaurant at a time when you could be here to watch the reactions of the customers so that you can see what I do and how things work.

You have nothing to lose.

If you like it, we can talk about starting up a program for your restaurant.

If you don’t like it, we part friends.

When done, get all the contact information of the restaurant. Make sure to get the following information:

  • Store Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Name of GM
  • Name of Contact
  • Date and Time of Tryout

Also be sure to write down whatever was quoted to the Contact so that you can stick with it and be sure to write down the time of the tryout on two identical business cards so that both parties remember.

  • The goal when you first walk into the restaurant is to get a tryout.
  • The goal of the tryout is to let the management see how awesome you are.
  • Set aside 5 minutes to talk after the tryout or call them later to discuss prices.
  • Sales Funnel works as follows:
  • Gather all names, numbers, and GM names from all the restaurants in the area.
    Go to all the Restaurants and do pitch for a tryout.
    Work the tryout and sit down to speak with the manager AT the tryout.
  • Set up at minimum once a week for entertainment.
  • Every 3 months (or weekly) have a follow up phone call to see if they still like your services and if they’d like to upgrade or improve in any way.

For the tryout, I offer to entertain for only coupons. If they like what they see, we continue to trade out coupons or gift certificates for cash on a regular basis until I finally accept just cash. This allows for a low risk investment of the restaurant and makes my job of selling much easier later on.

It has also been helpful for me to mention my 100% money back guarantee. If they are not completely satisfied with my services, I do not charge them for the night.

5 thoughts on “A Step by Step Guide to Pitching a Restaurant”

  1. I like your ideas but would quibble with your idea of working for gift certificates at first. I give away a free trial night but after that I expect to get paid for my professional services. I would find it hard to convince a restaurant to pay me a fair rate after they have gotten used to paying in coupons or gift certificates. But that’s just one guy’s opinion .. I’d rather hunt for one great restaurant than waste any time with 10 that won’t work out in the long term.

  2. Here’s another question – how do you compare pitching to corporate / chain restaurants as opposed to privately owned (aka Mom n’ Pop) restaurants? I find that in many cases I’m frustrated trying to get anywhere in the corporate chain side with managers / GMs not willing to go up against “corporate” to bring in entertainers even if they want to. Any chains in particular that are particularly friendly to entertainers? I heard somewhere that Rainforest Cafe even tried to get entertainers to pay them to work there!

  3. Smarty Pants-
    I think you are absolutely correct. I used to give only free tryouts when I started pitching restaurants, but it was pointed out to me that by charging “something,” I was promoting the restaurant to pay later on.

    And as far as the gift cards go, they actually cost the restaurant more money in the long run if they are not used at that specific location. So, switching to cash is ussually not an issue.

    As far as corporate vs. privately owned, you have to realise that they are completely different animals. For you specifically, I would suggest the following when approaching a chain restaurant:

    -Meet with each of the GMs individually and see who’s interested.
    -Find out the contact name and number of the District Manager or Regional Director
    -Pitch him on the idea of you entertaining at each of his restaurants in rotation.

    (You can make more this way as each restaurant pays you a little at a time and the District Manager is really only paying at “one” location as far as budgeting is concerned.)

    Add that with a solid marketing campaign and you’re set with that company for life.

    As far as Rainforest Cafe is concerned, I don’t doubt the claim; however, any restaurant worth its salt would pay top dollar for top of the line entertainment.

    Then again… If I had the option to work at Rainforest Cafe, I would definately consider giving them a discount.

  4. Well I was able to find it again and working…seems when I click the link, it comes out askew, but when I go to it from within the site it works.

    I am still working on getting my chutzpah together for this, but I’ve made some practice runs at a movie theater etc….and dealt with unfriendliness. I also made an attempt via email at a restaurant that initially I was just asking information about to eat there.

    I want to try Papa Ginos since they are very kid friendly and I like their food, but I somehow remember seeing a no solicitation sign on the door. Does that mean anything for us, or is that to keep the girl scout cookies out?

    Oh also, since I am doing this with face painting, I don’t think I will sit there and paint my face lol, but maybe go in with my face painted, and a book of some things I do or something.

    I really do want to get into this though…..and I am happy to work for GCs to the restaurant. I am just wondering–is it recommended to get much less than your normal rate in GCs or your normal rate since they are not having to pay you cash?

    I think that’s it for now, I’m thrilled I was able to get back to this page finally 🙂

  5. I’m back—the minute the school year started, I’ve been kept quite busy, as are the ways of graduate school—but as the spring draws near, I want to start thinking about my plans once I’m back home for the summer, and wanting to get into restaurants. So I scoured until I found this again and am SO relieved to be back…I’m still scared a bit–I mean I’ve already spoken to restaurants, and once I’m in there it’s not that bad, I’d just like to have a better plan of exactly what I will be saying–and it WOULD be wonderful to be able to go in introducing myself with my accomplishments, so I definitely have a few things to tweak…but I am inspired once again by this article, thank you so much and I won’t be surprised if I am back again to comment some time in the future.

Leave a Comment