Thursday, March 31, 2011

Helping the Restaurant

As a consumer, we know what good service is. As a restaurant entertainer, we should strive to make sure the customer services is top rank. So, it is imperative that a restaurant entertainer be aware of their surroundings.

If entertaining and you see a line forming at the door, check to see what tables are waiting for entertainment because these tables will not turnover unless you visit them. For any restaurant, table turnover is critical to a busy restaurant.  When making your rounds you will encounter people who are waiting for a server, silverware, or just need a napkin, See if you can quickly accommodate their needs or at least acknowledge them.

Simple interaction with the customers will reduce stress and increase the odds that they will return.  The goal of the entertainer is to insure the customer will return—if they have dealings with you the restaurant entertainer.  This is the key selling point to your restaurant entertainment. As entertainers, we do not bring in customer; we just keep them coming back!

Restaurants unknowingly need an ambassador of good will (the restaurant entertainer) who moves around the room smoothing out problems or running interference.  This happened one night while working my Friday night pizza parlor.  The manager approached me and asked if I could go across the room to a specific table right away.  Apparently, the server accidentally gave their pizza to another table and a new pizza was coming. The manager now assigned me the task to run interference with the customer and keep them entertained.

This roll of ambassador is common in the restaurant industry.  As an entertainer, we have to understand this and roll with the environment.  When I arrived at the table you could see the disappointment on the customers faces at the realization of another thirty-minute wait.  I quickly started joking around with the kids, asking them what type of balloon they wanted.  As I worked the table you could see the customer’s minds were now fixated on me, the entertainer, and not their hungry stomachs.  I looked at the customer and said “your pizza was great! I’ll be stuffed for hours, but next time can you hold the mushrooms?”  The customer replied, “Did you at least save me a piece?”  We both laughed about the missing pizza.   If you can get the customers to laugh at their misfortunes, then you have done your job.  When I finished, I apologized again for the mishap. As I left, the manager came over and gave them a 10% discount for their inconvenience.  Later that evening the manager thanked me for taking care of the table.

Another time, I was working a table and I noticed a family, sitting with food in front of them, and nobody was eating.  “Need silverware?” I asked.  They replied “yes”, and with that, I flagged down the nearest server, stopped her dead in her tracks, and ask her “Could you please get this table some silverware?”  She stopped, looked at them, and said, “sure thing.” With that, I crack a joke telling them “your getting the clean silverware, aren’t you lucky.”  Then I want back to entertaining. Needless to say they were impressed that I was able to get the attention of the server so quickly. Problem solved.

Good restaurant entertainers are aware of their surroundings and understand that resolving problems, making sure tables turnovers smoothly and creating a fun-filled atmosphere is part of the restaurant entertainment. If the entertainer successfully achieves this, the restaurant will see regular customers bring in family and friends to see the entertainer.  These new converted fans of the restaurant and its entertainer are now loyal customers that will boast about your abilities and become a great source if advertisement.

Friday nights I would have a family come to the local pizza parlor. It was mom, dad and their twenty-two year old daughter.  The daughter always wanted a balloon because she was the baby of the family and, as she put it, “she was special”.  They were very nice people and I always sat and visited with them.  They become my restaurant “mom & dad and my bratty little sister”.  On slow nights, I would sit and talk with them about everything under the stars. Over time, I became part of the family.  Mom and dad had an older son who managed a Famous Dave’s Restaurant and because they thought so highly of me, they convinced him he had to come see the Magical Balloon-dude.  It only took a week before I got a call to work Monday nights at his restaurant.  Not only that, the mom thought it would be cool to see the Magical Balloon-dude Dale at different restaurants. So on Friday they came for pizza, Sunday morning, they ate breakfast at the Cracker Barrel that I was working. Monday the came to Famous Dave’s Barbeque Ribs and the joke was were they coming to see their real son or the newly adopted balloon-making son?  The mom said she saw me more that month than she did her own son. She jokingly said, “I was more fun then her real son”.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Understanding the Restaurant Business - chp 1

When we choose a restaurant for dinner, we take in some simple considerations: Location - how close is it to the house? Service – are severs attentive to your needs? Food quality – are the portions adequate and is the food good? Ambiance – was the room clean and visually appealing? Each of these factors will determine the quality of dining experience and if we, will return. Therefore, it is imperative that a first-time customer have the best dinning experience to assure their return. We need to understand that customers come in with an open mind; that they have never experienced this restaurant’s environment, service or food.

Good restaurants will take advantage of this every time. If you go to a four-star restaurant, the Matre De or host will ask if you have dined with them before? If you say no, they will politely explain house specialties, traditions, and special events that are going on that evening. This insures the customer will understand the dinning environment and be able to experience the ambiance.

As an entertainer, we can help a restaurant achieve this experience by providing an enjoyable atmosphere so customers will remember the fun they had and overlook the poor service or lukewarm meal. A comical magician rooming the lobby of a crowded restaurant can make customers forget that they have been waiting over an hour for a seat. Moms and dads can enjoy a nice peaceful dinner as the kids play with their new balloon animals. A family gathering will turn in to one big party as the clown interacts with aunts, uncles and cousins.

If your first experience at a restaurant is bad, the likelihood of you returning is slim. Most individuals are very critical of a restaurant on the first visit. So as an entertainer, we need to provide the customer with an exceptionally good time. If the parents enjoy the meal and the kids have fun, you can be positive the family will return. Kids can dictate which restaurant a parent visits. McDonald’s has learned that giving a toy in a kid’s meal the child will want to return to the restaurant. My neighbor’s child likes going to the Sunday pancake house because he receives a helium balloon every weekend. The parents like it because the food is good. Smart restaurant owners understand kids control the family dinning experience and provide special kids meals, coloring material or games at a table.

At the Crackle Barrel, hey provide a Peg Game on the table. Customers would play with the Peg Game while waiting for their meal. This has been a running tradition at the Cracker Barrel location since 1969. Good family restaurants understand family needs and do their best to accommodate their customers.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Chapter 1 - Benefits of Restaurant Entertainment

Restaurants are a goldmine of entertainment opportunities.  When I first started entertaining, I was unaware of the potential gains by performing at a restaurant.  This once overlooked money making opportunity is becoming popular with entertainers as stories of entertainers landing more birthday parties, corporate events and major sporting venues by simply entertaining at a restaurant.

Restaurant entertainment is not a recent trend, though. Many entertainers have been performing at restaurants for years. It is with improvements in communication technology that entertainers are networking and boasting about their restaurants.  In this section, we are going to look at how entertaining at a restaurant can help the restaurant, entertainer and the customer.


I would like to thank my wife Michelle for her love, support and for her understanding with my obsession with balloons and entertaining. To my newborn son Carter, who drives me to excel in business and has improved my life. My parents, Ed and Diana Obrochta, who have encourage me to go for my dreams and support me in all my efforts to achieve those dreams. My in-laws, Ron and Kris Langlois who have accepted me into their family like their own child.

The Editors Kevin B and Faye, whose editing skills kept me on track, corrected my spelling and helped make this book what it is. The entertainment community, who has supported, encouraged and challenges me to better my skills as an entertainer and businessperson..

I thank you all!

Since I have started this journey some 5 years ago, life has toss me some curves balls with the loss of my parents Ed and Diana, but also has blessed me with my second son Wyatt. With life settling back to a new normal level, I pursue the completion of this book.

Blueprint on:
How to Succeed in Restaurant Entertainment

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Welcome to the World of Restaurant Entertainment

This is my knowledge and experience about working, acquiring and entertaining at restaurants. The information is not just for the balloon entertainer, but also for all who wishes to entertain at a restaurant.

About Dale the Entertainer

If you ask Dale where he learned his skills, he will tell you from a bunch of twisted people. While attending college he met a group of professional entertainers, which met every Monday and would practice in the gym. Always wanting to learn how to juggle, Dale joined this merry group.

This Illinois entertainer learned from world-class jugglers, unicyclist, magicians, clowns, balloonists, fire-eaters, theatrical entertainers, and vaudevillians. “I did not realize at the time how lucky I was to be working with such talented people and the skills and techniques that were freely given to me” said Dale “I have used all my entertainment skills over the years, but have decided I would rather be a Master of one form of entertainment, than a jack-of-all-trades. So a Master Balloonist I became.”

Dale's unique mix of comedy and balloon twisting has been making people laugh since 1984. He actively writes for trade show blogs, entertainment newsletter and professional organizations while constantly working on new communication techniques to improve his entertainment business.

Dale started DEO Consulting, Inc in 1988 to handle the ever-increasing demand for his performing expertise and special event know-how. Except for taking a little time out to earn a master's degree in Communication from Governors State University, Dale has spent the past twenty-six years performing at private and corporate events.

Dale's background consists of 15 years as an Associate Professor, where he educated faculty, students and corporate America on techniques to improve upon their business and organizational skills, while interjecting lighthearted comedy. His drive to get the most out of himself is infectious and quickly spread to those who are around him.

Dale's performances are always custom-tailored to the audience. Whether performing at a college, entertaining corporate clients after dinner, astonishing guest at a cocktail party with his balloon twisting, or at a private event. Dale ways integrates audience participation, humor and this unforgettable balloon creation ensuring the event will be special

His many accomplishments so far so far in his life have been:

  • Married in 1998 with two sons
  • A Master’s Degree in Communication
  • MC for Cable Television Show
  • Performed on NBC and WGN
  • On premise Promotions Entertainer for major US Corporations
  • Lecture and Mentor for Business Entrepreneur
  • Owner and Operator of E-commerce Store
  • Author of Faces, Faces, Balloon Faces and Mardi Gras Bead Twisting
  • Introduced Festive Alien Head balloons to the balloon industry
 All information is the property of DEO Consulting, Inc and is copyrighted 2011.