Restaurant managers… they are entrepreneurs, hard working, and trying to make their establishment prosper so they can achieve a fruitful life. With all the popularity of belly dance and how it has turned many restaurants around in terms of attracting customers and creating a nice group of regulars who love the environment, belly dancers really add a lot of value to a venue.
What is unfortunate though is when managers with little to no experience hiring entertainment do not manage it well or mistreat their performers. As equally as unfortunate is when management hires the lowest priced option rather than paying a fraction more and acquiring an experienced and dynamic performer.
As a belly dancer I have had to fight, convince, struggle and educate management for years in order to try to make the environment a better place. Some venues are amazing and treat me like family, so the struggle was never necessary. Other venues were a headache, and after some attempts I simply could not agree with the managements ridiculous limitations and left.
Due to this frustration over the years, Bellydance By Jennifer Inc. has written below the “Restaurant Managers Guide to Working with Belly Dance Entertainment”. As entrepreneurs we both have something in common and know how best to help the other. Allowing the performer to have a voice and to work together with you will lead to the best outcome and vice versa.
-We will start at the agreed upon time as stated in the contract we signed. Now things DO happen, parties run late, and etc… so there is a 20 minute grace period for sincerely “oops” days.
-DO NOT take advantage of this kind grace period we extend. If we have to start 20min later several times or more, there will be a charge. It is not fair to us, we have families, work, and other tasks and will not accept starting late continuously.
-Educate your audience so they know that START TIME= SHOW TIME. If they are late they will miss out on the show, and that is their problem, not yours. I promise you, after a few times the audience will know better.
-“We are not robots”, this is my favorite line. We need to hydrate, fix our makeup, stretch some more, and adjust our costumes for the next set (so we can do our best for your crowd).
-Dancing without breaks is not negotiable; there MUST be 20min breaks at a minimum between sets. We are athletes not immortals.
-The break time will be followed strictly. We are here to dance! Once our break is over we will perform the second set on time. No extra wait time, or an extra charge will occur.
-Often times, belly dance shows are held late at night, and then we must come back to our home, children, families, spouses. We will work with you, but ending on time is just as important to us as starting on time.
>Marketing and Promotion
-You are responsible for making your restaurant successful and getting the word out with marketing is part of your essential business practices.
-We are entertainers, not marketers (usually) and we can help entertain, and retain your audience once they are at your establishment.
-GETTING THEM TO THE RESTAURANT in the first place is YOUR job. We can help by posting on social media through our kindness, but that is not the only marketing you can depend on. So MARKET your establishment please so we can have a crowd to dance for.
-You can get a novice dancer for half the price (even free) or you can pay a reasonable and fair rate that is not much higher and have a gorgeous, talented, and wildly engaging dancer for your audience.
-Why should you pay the higher rate? It is simple math, have a poor dancer and only x amount of clients will be retained or talk about the show after to their friends. Have an exceptional and fun belly dancer and she will engage by getting your friends talking, sharing photos on Facebook, and MAKE SURE they have the time of their life and come back with an excellent show. More people=more $$$$ for you.
“I feel it is my responsibility as a belly dancer at a restaurant to not just show the audience my moves, but to talk to them briefly, take photos, encourage them to share it, and ensure they leave more relaxed. This is powerful, so having a dancer like this will lead to many more warm bodies at your restaurant the next time”
-Holidays are extra, end of story. Talk to any professional performer and that is the norm.
-Do not haggle with us on our rates. There are many options based upon how often we perform at your restaurant. The more we perform, the lower the fee, the more audience we can help you retain and we are all left happy and making more money.
-We also can receive raises and bonuses.
-We have bills to pay and mouths to feed, as do you. Canceling an hour before or every other week is not a professional business practice, nor will your performer be likely to continue working with you.
-Just as you your establishment must follow a steady schedule and be open every day to do well we need that security and assurance as well. Do not mistreat us and make us feel as if you do not need our services every other week.
Ok, I think that covers a lot of the basics. Please leave your comments below and share with your fellow dancers and manager friends. Feel free to share your additions to the guide lines below