Whenever I book a gig at a banquet I always mention that I do not perform while people are eating. The booker 95% of the time is OK with that and the 5% that aren’t OK are gigs I pass on. However of the ones that book, I would say a good half of them I end up performing while people are eating.
There are a few reasons for this, the most common one is that people don’t consider desert part of the meal. I consider desert part of the meal or at least part of “eating” and it has the same problems that the main meal has for the show.
Those problems are that when people are eating, they aren’t engaged in the show. They can’t laugh and clap like they normally would when not eating. Then once they get used to responding by not responding, they will not respond once they are done eating.
Unfortunately when you get to the gig and people are eating and you’re told to go on, there are really two things you can do:
1: Start the show
2. Don’t start the show.
Both have pluses and minuses you need to consider. Starting the show may affect the reception of your show. Not starting the show may affect your relationship with the booker. Also due to time restraints on the venue, it may not be possible to delay the show, so your option would be to actually not do the show.
In most situations I start the show and plow through it. However you need to do what’s right for you!