Tuesday, September 2, 2008

There's on and then there's ON

Sometimes when you first start working in a restaurant, it is hard to "go on" (get into character). So, here are a few things I've done over the past few gigs when I haven't felt too well.

I've also added a few little bits that I've used in restaurants for entertainment of the guests and of myself. Hope you enjoy!

Ihop, North Dale 116
Monday Sept. 1st 9 am-1 pm

Getting Started

I started out by not approaching a table, not saying hello to management, and by not really making any type of eye contact with any of the customers.

I then proceded to make a large display piece for the front of the store. (Specifically, I made a crocodile chasing a monkey up a palm tree. Thanks Jeanine for the inspiration for this one! Mine looked no where near as cute as yours did, but it was a great challenge.)

As I was twisting, I would periodically move to different areas of the restaurant and let people get little glimpses of what I was putting together. My goal was to make the customers start to ask me if they could get a balloon. I did not want to really "approach" anyone.

Well, It worked.
I'm sure it helped that there were children involved...lol, but I eventually had someone ask if they could get a balloon. I said sure. However, I made them wait until I was done with the piece I was working on.

Also, after I finished, I made sure to walk around and show it to people. I used this time to interact with the adults, say hello, introduce myself, and (most importantly) hand out business cards.

Once I finally finished the little parade, I hung up the sculpture in the front of the store for everyone to see as they came and went. I also introduced myself to some of the staff and then headed over to my first table.

Hat Attack!!

I have to admit... I REALLY love to make hats. I made it a point to make a number of different hats today. It was a lot of fun!

I have had a number of people ask me exactly how I can get away with making a lot of hats. It's simple. I don't give them a choice.

When they tell me what they want, I ask them if they want to wear it on their wrist or on their head. Depending on the figure, I don't always give them those exact choices. Sometimes I give them the option of wearing it on their shoulder, pony tail, finger, wheel chair, etc.

It all just depends on the mood I'm in.

This is a table I made a bunch of balloon hats for. There are two crazy looking hats and a purple giraffe. I had a blast at their table and ended up spending a good 10-15 minutes there.

Beef O' Bradys 86
Tuesday Sept. 2nd 5:30 pm- 9:30 pm

For this segment, I am going to talk about a few things I did today on the entertainment and patter side of things. One of these I made up on the fly today and another one is just the continuation of a line I've been using for a few years now.

While we're out in the restaurants, if we're enjoying ourselves, we are constantly coming up with really great material. So, this is my attempt of writing some of it down for my sake and yours. I hope it helps.


This is a great technique to utilize when you can. Today I walked up to a table, introduced myself, and then their food came before I could even blow up a balloon to start twisting for a kid. So, I started talking (fairly quickly), saying something similar to the following:

"Okay, so I'll make you a balloon under one condition: You've got to be eating. So, while I'm twisting, you've got to be chewing food. Soung good?"


"What?! You're talking! You're giving yourself away. If you're talking, then you can't be chewing. And if you're not chewing, then you're not eating. And if you're not eating, then I can't be making you a balloon because you wouldn't be following the deal.

"So, grab a bite of that hamburger really quick and start to chew so I can start to twist"

Dad: "Wow... Can we take you home? He's actually eating his food"

To dad: "Sure. (Hands him a business card.) I do house calls."

Continuing with child: "So, Since you are going to be eating, you're not going to be talking to me. And since you're not going to be talking to me, then that means I'm probably not going to be able to talk to you either, which means it will be really quite over here and you will just have to watch me twist and twist until I can finish making your suprize.

"So, no matter what you do, don't stop eating. You don't want me to stop half way in the middle of making your balloon or you might not turn out with anything and that could be sad. And we don't want to get sad because we like to be happy, and if we're happy, then we can eat and enjoy our food and we can get balloons because we ate all our food and did what we were suposed to. And we like to do what we're suposed to so that our parents take us out to nice restaurants so we can eat. And we like to eat so we can get a balloon. And...."

Well, it went on and on until I finally finished the balloon. The best part was that I kept throwing in lines talking about how I would not be able to talk, yet I kept on talking the entire time.

Eventually, I found that the parents completely stopped eating because they were laughing so hard and the child had eaten so much of his burger that there was nearly nothing left on the plate by the time I finished.

This was AMAZING.

I hope you can find some way to use the circular reasoning self-conversation in your entertainment arsenal as well.

I love my job

This is one of my favorite lines to use while working in a restaurant situation:

"I really love my job.

"I mean, there are a lot of things I really, really love. I love to walk around and have a good time, I love meeting awesome people, I love getting to practice my art where others can appreciate it, and I really love that I can get away with this (bopping child on head with the balloons as talking to the parents).

"However... There are things I really don't like about my job as well. I mean, I'm walking around table to table, I'm starving, and I have to smell this delicious food all night long. The food always looks so great and I'm always stuck waiting until later in the evening to eat...

"So, I guess what I'm saying is... That food looks awesome! And I totally know what I'm going to be ordering when I get off"

I then follow it with a wink and a smile.

Some Pictures from the Restaurant

Baby Balloon for Mom-2-b

Baseball Player for the Rays

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