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How do you get restaurant gigs?

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How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by Terina on Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:37 pm

I have seen that several of you work at restaurant gigs. I have never pursued this but want to try it. January is my month for marketing. I am trying lots of new things. So, do you face paint at restaurants or mostly do balloons? How do you go about it?

I mean I have no qualms about marketing myself to anyone, but, I do want to use what works already. Do you offer a % of what you sell to the manager? Or do you offer to pay them to set up or simply ask them to hire you for events in the future? I know that the other balloon guy at the mall was raking it in. He had no rent, no mall insurance and just made profit so I know I am missing out on something here LOL...someone let me in on the secret!!!
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by barbb919 on Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:53 pm

Terina. I face paint at 2 restraunts.. one in the summer the other in the winter.. I just took my book and talked to them.. one has kids night. it was a fairly easy one to get. Fazolis//the other one does car cruise nights and I took my book and spoke with them.. He new my husband which made it a little eaiser..he has to locations. so I paint on the days he has cars and the days he has motorcycles...it keeps the kids away from the cars and bikes..good for me and good for the people with cars and bikes. I have been trying to get into perkins..not much luch there.. but will still try..
good luck
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by Mirandas on Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:31 am

barbb919 wrote:Terina. I face paint at 2 restraunts.. one in the summer the other in the winter.. I just took my book and talked to them.. one has kids night. it was a fairly easy one to get. Fazolis//the other one does car cruise nights and I took my book and spoke with them.. He new my husband which made it a little eaiser..he has to locations. so I paint on the days he has cars and the days he has motorcycles...it keeps the kids away from the cars and bikes..good for me and good for the people with cars and bikes. I have been trying to get into perkins..not much luch there.. but will still try..
good luck

Awesome..but besides showing your book, how do you approach them? do you ask to be hire or you do PPF ?? Question
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by Psalmbook on Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:14 am

This is how restaurants work where I'm at: I paint for 2 hours at around 1/2 my going rate. I'm allowed to politely pursue tips(I wear a BIG button saying "TIPS MAKE ME SMILE! THANK YOU!"), and a soft drink & meal per entertainer is part of the deal(since I'm working through dinner time). You could alternate balloon twisting & face painting or have 2 entertainers. The more services you offer, the better as a lot of restaurants want variety each week.
As far as advertising, we have a local website that lists all the restaurants that have free kids nights. I went their & complied a list. I emailed, sent post cards & called them or their corporate office. I'll offer the 1st night for free(tipping & meal will be included) so they can get a feel for what I do & then we negotiate from there. I've been a little lax in this & need to go after some more restaurants. They can get you tons of leads for future parties & events, it's great to facebook & email to let people know you'll be there & ask all your friends to come out & support you, etc.
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by Terina on Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:01 am

Awesome ideas guys. I just need to get out there and try it!!!
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by barbb919 on Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:23 am

yes they won't pay the full price mine feed me and my husband he always helps me out..and great with kids..and i do put out a tip jar and can pass out flyers.. I had one little boy around 4 and his sister around 6 i paint them every time im there..he sang happy birthday to me. and they brought me a christmas sucker..they are so cute..i am very busy the whole time Im there.. the mgr started me at 1 price a few weeks later she started giving me 10.00 more. she said she loved what I was doing//great gig fazolis
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by Terina on Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:35 am

Wow that is great. Our Fazoli's shut down here. But I think there is one about 45 minutes from my house. I think that I will do some research to see who offers kids nights and see what I can get worked out. If I could paint and my husband twist then we could maybe do ok. Are you guys charging like half your regular rates? Or how do you decide what to charge customers? I have done like all designs for $5 before but have never charged any less for painting...what is the typical rate for restaurant work? Thanks! clown
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by Michelle Heffner on Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:27 pm

Terina wrote:Wow that is great. Our Fazoli's shut down here. But I think there is one about 45 minutes from my house. I think that I will do some research to see who offers kids nights and see what I can get worked out. If I could paint and my husband twist then we could maybe do ok. Are you guys charging like half your regular rates? Or how do you decide what to charge customers? I have done like all designs for $5 before but have never charged any less for painting...what is the typical rate for restaurant work? Thanks! clown

Now, I can't speak from actual restaurant work experience so please take this with a grain of salt.


From my perspective as a "Restaurant Customer" :


  • I have kids. I'm tired. I want a restaurant where my kids won't embarrass me (loud enough). If it is fast food I want to be able to let them run off and play while I finish eating.


  • I do not want to pay for any extra entertainment that night. If someone was doing PPF or PPB (pay per balloon) you can bet I wouldn't let my kids near it for fear of them pestering me all night & then being grouchy that night b/c I said no.


  • If an entertainer was free but obnoxiously soliciting tips I also would not want to make the entertainer feel cheesed off so I would grudgingly give my kids a tip. But I would probably not come back to the restaurant next week since I wouldn't want to remember how crappy not wanting to tip them felt. In fact, I probably didn't pay attention to the dates of when the entertainer was going to be there so I just avoid that place like it's on fire during dinner time. I hate feeling tricked into giving up money or feeling like a jerk for being stingy in front of others.


And from the Restaurant Manager's perspective:

  • I need more customers. Corporate is cutting restaurants all over the country and I need to step my game up.


  • But I also have a budget and I really can't afford to shell out huge bux for anything.


So the manager wants to keep his customers happy and coming back each week to see you, the face painter. And he also does not want to pay you... anything. Which is why you have to explain why working for tips or PPF makes his customers not come back again and it will kill his bottom line. If you do anything to make the customers uneasy about money they won't come back and they won't recommend eating there to their friends.

So my inexperienced self says you should not do PPF (or working for tips etc. which I know you didn't mention but it has been discussed before). And any kinds of tipping paraphernalia should be subtle.

But again, grain of salt. This is all hypothetical. I just like to brainstorm Smile

~Heff
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by Psalmbook on Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:00 pm

I've been doing restaurant gigs on & off for 5 years now. Some have been mom & pop places & some major chains. Some want me to collect tips & some don't. The ones that don't allow tips will pay my full rate. But, no one has ever been offended by my tipping button & I've never outright asked for a tip(that would be rude & inappropriate). That's why I said, "Gently Pursue Tips." When asked if it cost anything, I say, "My services are being provided by 'said restaurant'. Tips are appreciated but not required. To be honest, I just love painting the kids! So, if it's ok with you, can they get painted?" I've never had a parent turn my down. They usually talk with me, the kids talk with me, etc. through the whole face painting process. I think it's as fun for the parent as the child(and sometimes the mom or dad jumps in & gets painted too:-) I give them a card & let them know the easy removal instructions are on the back & the kids & parents are always very happy. Of course, I'm in the south & people are pretty laid back here. It might be different in other areas of the country.
Another great thing to do is write numbers on the back of your business cards & have the kids take one. Then you just take them in order & it puts a card in each families hand.
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by Michelle Heffner on Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:05 pm

Psalmbook wrote:
Another great thing to do is write numbers on the back of your business cards & have the kids take one. Then you just take them in order & it puts a card in each families hand.

Oh baby! I love that idea!

Sorry - I wasn't trying to point fingers about the tips thing. I was just sort of freewriting or stream of consciousness writing my thoughts Smile

Rock out with your conch out!
~Heff
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by barbb919 on Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:34 pm

the restraunts i work for pay me and feed me..they also let me put out a tip jar.. i don't ask for tips if they want to thats fine..i get the same families back each time i paint a fazolis..the mgr gives me an extra 10 on top of what we oringally set on..so this gig is a good one for me..good contacts
the other one is Rudys Drive In they are only open from april to oct. I paint there from june till sept..every tuesday.. they have 2 locations.. so 3 weeks of the month i am painting 2 nights a week...they pay me and feed me and my husband.. and i put out a tip jar..they have car cruise nights and motorcycle nights..these have been 2 really good gigs for me.. I have gotten a family reunion off the Rudys and they have had be back 2 times for there reunion.. I have gotten some birthday parties also..the money may not be full price, but its good free advertising
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by Psalmbook on Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:24 am

Michelle Heffner wrote:
Psalmbook wrote:
Another great thing to do is write numbers on the back of your business cards & have the kids take one. Then you just take them in order & it puts a card in each families hand.

Oh baby! I love that idea!

Sorry - I wasn't trying to point fingers about the tips thing. I was just sort of freewriting or stream of consciousness writing my thoughts Smile

Rock out with your conch out!
~Heff

LOL! No problem. I agree that I wouldn't face paint anywhere just for tips. If you do, then everyone expects it & no one gets paid. Do face paints really cost money? I thought the face paint fairy put them under your pillow if you were a good little face painter Suspect ... or ninjas bring them?
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by Michelle Heffner on Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:36 pm

Psalmbook wrote:

LOL! No problem. I agree that I wouldn't face paint anywhere just for tips. If you do, then everyone expects it & no one gets paid. Do face paints really cost money? I thought the face paint fairy put them under your pillow if you were a good little face painter Suspect ... or ninjas bring them?


...dude. face painting ninjas.

I'm totally calling myself that Very Happy

~Heff
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by AngieAnders on Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:45 pm

Michelle Heffner wrote:
...dude. face painting ninjas.
I'm totally calling myself that Very Happy

~Heff

Heh heh heh... I love that.
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by Bec on Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:19 pm

I drove myself nuts last year trying to get restaurant/steady gigs. I've given up. People would be interested but want to pay me in gift certificates or in "trade" for them advertising for me. Lame. Hopefully now that I have steady parties and events all summer long something will come up for the weekdays.
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by Amy Moon on Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:13 am

How does it work when you face paint at a restaurant? I know balloon twisters walk around to the tables but what do you do as a face painter?
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by Peggy on Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:05 pm

I'm glad this topic was brought up. I've been wondering about restaurant gigs myself and how to pursue them, and if they were even worth going after. Interesting replies so far. I have a friend who owns his own restaurant, I think I may have to go talk to him.
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by Terina on Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:17 pm

I am interested in how many different ways that there are to work this angle of the business. The balloon guy that was at our chik-fil-a had a great deal. He was at the mall so it was busy, he had a table and his stuff set up and he was just working away. Now from my perspective I was a little unhappy at the time cause I was paying the mall rent and the special extra insurance that I knew he was not paying. But, I could see on the flip side that there could be a good opportunity to get some extra jobs that way...

Really enjoying hearing everyone's experiences with this.
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by MommysLittleMonsters on Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:16 pm

I used to do a gig at Cici's pizza and they just let me set up there and the kids would come get painted. I charged per face and tips, got a free meal out of it too. Nothing coming out of the restaurants pocket at all. I really didn't "get" the gig tho, Mandi Ilene was doing it and I just helped at first and then we would switch off doing it alone.
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by celebrate_paint on Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:14 pm

Hey all, I think this might be my first post, but long time lurker. I have always wondered about this issue and what to charge or offer to the restaurant to get a gig.

Heff, it's me Melissa. TOTALLY agree with you. As a customer, I get uneasy about those tip jars too--they are everywhere now. Especially since you are already paying for a meal and wait service tip. Of course I would tip an entertainer, being that I am one and know what it's like, but many people are not in our shoes.

I like the idea of putting a $5 bill in your pocket, a subtle hint to customers that someone tipped you already. The button is ok too I guess. I've done tip jars and they didn't work that well. It could be the location/demographic, who knows. I do know that when people see others tip---they will follow in their footsteps. I've had that experience many times.

Giving the child a business card to give to mom and dad is SUCH a great, easy idea.

My next question would be how to obtain gigs at shopping malls and centers (not individual stores, but the mall itself)? Any difference there in what to charge the owners/management companies? I'd feel more comfortable subtly advertising a tip sign there because unlike the restaurant, you may not have spent any money yet that day.

Thanks guys and happy painting Smile
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by tanyamaldo119 on Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:14 pm

I agree with beck. I have been calling marketing managers at restaurants and everyone wants to pay in gift cards and merchandise. I like to eat out once in a while but not that often at the same place. And with tips, it doesn't work out because people will pretend they don't notice the jar and will assume that you will paint regardless of whether you get tipped or not. There is nothing wrong with trying because there will be maybe one restaurant that would be willing to work out a good deal with you but usually you will be working for practically nothing.
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by tanyamaldo119 on Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:17 pm

P.S. the best way to go about looking for it is finding their phone numbers on Google and asking for the Marketing manager or person in charge of planning events. If you look for emails and send them one they tend to trash them thinking it's spam or a waste of time. It's harder for them to dodge you when they are on the phone with you.
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by IamGinaW on Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:17 pm

So, how do you actually set up? Do you sit at one table in the front and hand out numbers on cards? Then who walks around asking for "#11 up next"? Do you get the staff to go get them? ....maybe they know what table they're at?
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by Abril on Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:44 pm

Ive been thinking about working on restaurants too...i think working there on weekdays (since i dont have much to do in the afternoons after school) would be great for practice/extra cash/and advertisement Smile ...we'll see.
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Re: How do you get restaurant gigs?

Post by jacana on Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:31 am

Psalmbook wrote: I emailed, sent post cards & called them or their corporate office. I'll offer the 1st night for free(tipping & meal will be included) so they can get a feel for what I do & then we negotiate from there. I've been a little lax in this & need to go after some more restaurants.

I moved to a new area, Vista print is great! I made a post card that said "Jacana Parties is giving you a free night of face painting! please call . . . etc.
Of the 30 I sent out I only had one restaurant call me, but I have been working there every week for about 6 months, they pay me- and I get tips on top of that. Pretty much it pays the rent and them some. I have also done some calling of managers, etc- The free night to show them what you are like is great, I don't even mention pricing until after they have seen how their clients love me. Being a part of a kids night is great. I have families that come every week to see me. It makes me feel like I have public job security. :)


I set up in the lobby area wear the hostesses are seating people, the kids come up to me. I have a tip jar on my table among my supplies, but I tell people it is free (the restaurant is paying me)

I would say wait for the restaurant that will pay you what you are worth, but that is just me, and I have lost jobs because of it.

You can build a pay scale where you do the first month for cheap, then have a couple dates in the future where you will renegociate your agreement. If being there has made them really busy, they should reward you for that.
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