I arrived at my Saturday night restaurant and had just unloaded my gear when a regular patron approached me with money in his hand saying, “Great, you are here tonight, the grand kids will love it” then proceeded to hand me $20. I had done nothing and I was 20 bucks richer.
This was not the first time I was tipped before performing. Years back, I entertained at a bar. As I entered, the waitress handed me a beer. (I was working for tips and the establishment allowed me to drink free.) A regular customer was on her way to the bathroom and slipped me $5.00, saying “I am going the bathroom, make me something cool.” My friend had come out with me for a night of fun. His mouth hit the floor. “I love this bar,” he said. “The waitress gives you free beer when you walk in and ladies give you money for doing nothing”, he exclaimed.
I wish this happened every day, but it does not. However, I will share some tricks I have learned to help you increase or get a big tip.
- Wear a tip badge. My tip badge has my name and a line that reads “Suggested tip $2,846,352.35” When asked about the number, I tell them the 846,352.35 is tax.
- Look people in the eye when entertaining. Eye contact is very powerful and allows you to read the person’s reactions.
- If an adult asks, “how much?” I tell them “two million to a quarter of thousand.” All my restaurants I work have a base pay, therefore I am not selling balloons. If I were on a street corner there would be a rate established.
- Interact and joke with everyone at the table. Entertainment should be inclusive not exclusive.
- If there is a birthday party at the table, play larger, over the top comedy. Make it extra special. I have taken simple balloon figures and stepped them up on balloon size from 260 to 360’s making the figure twice as large, increasing the tip or adding an extra single to the tally.
- Receive a tip in front of a customer. This is hard to do, but if you need to stage a waitress to walk up and hand you money (your money which you gave to her earlier) saying, “This is from my table, they want to give you a tip.”
- Bring value to the entertainment. Making a great balloon figure does not increase your tip, unless you bring personality with it.
- Regular customers tip constantly so do not expect their pattern to change, unless they are with extended family or if it is a special occasion. Then you, as the entertainer, need to step up your entertainment, and surprisingly they step up the size of the tip.
Street performers have been mastering the art of monetary reward. There is some skill, luck, and understanding your audience involved, and you will learn how to better your odds on getting or improving your tip.