From Dishwasher to Hosting Events Featuring Nelly and Avicii: Why Italian Immigrant Lanfranco Pescante Believes the American Dream Is Still Alive
In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of The Oracles. This interview is with Lanfranco Pescante, co-founder of Nocturnal Hospitality Group. It was condensed by The Oracles.
Who are you?
Lanfranco Pescante: I am the co-founder of Nocturnal Hospitality Group (NHG), which has produced countless events in Florida with artists ranging from Nelly to Avicii. I have a vast nightclub and restaurant hospitality background stemming from my childhood in Italy, where I started as a dishwasher. I moved to America at 17 years old and worked every single position in the restaurant and bar, moving up the ladder rapidly. I always loved the industry and the people and knew I wanted to be in it.
What are you more skilled at than most people in the world?
Lanfranco Pescante: I never forget where I came from, and this humility helps me relate to people and manage my team. Most importantly, I don’t know how to quit or lose, whether it’s a huge business deal or a small chore. I am relentless in accomplishing my goals.
How did your business get started?
Lanfranco Pescante: The journey began in the 2000s by organizing house parties for over 1,000 guests with bartenders, valet, and security. As the parties became popular, with more guests than the local clubs, the club owners took notice and hired us. We evolved into bar and club promotions, with large-scale concert production and developing bar-centric hospitality concepts.
What did you learn from your favorite mentor?
Lanfranco Pescante: My father taught me about integrity, sacrifice, hard work, honesty, and always standing up for what you believe in. I apply it to everything in business and life. Always be kind to people and never expect anything in return.
What was your most painful failure?
Lanfranco Pescante: The raising capital process for our bar and first major project, The Franklin Manor. At the time, I didn’t have an office, so I sat in over 400 coffee shop meetings, pitching my business plan, and received rejection after rejection.
Having people tell you yes and then not answering your emails or phone calls was hard to digest. Begging people to believe in you was brutal. Patience is not a virtue for Italians, but I was forced to learn it.
I learned that no one owes you anything; you have to keep fighting for it. Now I always respond to anyone who writes to me because of this experience; no one is too busy.
How do you define great leadership?
Lanfranco Pescante: I lead by example and roll up my sleeves when needed — even if the cook needs help making pasta! Be there for your team, no questions asked. That’s the difference between a true leader and a “boss.”
How do you evaluate a good business deal?
Lanfranco Pescante: Having a good partner is crucial to business success. Without good partners, the deal is dead from the beginning.
What’s your daily routine for success?
Lanfranco Pescante: When I wake up, I first read the reports from all my restaurants, analyzing sales and any challenges from the previous night. I will scan my email or phone for any urgent requests. Then I wake up my English bulldog, Sir Brutus, who is always the most excited to see me. I don’t have an evening ritual because I’m in the nightlife and restaurant business.
What are you working on right now?
Lanfranco Pescante: I’m opening two more top-notch projects in early 2020: Shibui, an Asian fusion restaurant in downtown Tampa; and La Pegola, a high-end Italian restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg.
What do you want to be known for, or what do you want your legacy to be?
Lanfranco Pescante: Everyone always asks me, “Franco, when will you stop? When is enough for you?” Since childhood, I’ve always wanted to be the best at everything I do. I genuinely love seeing others happy, so I want to be known as the guy who brought a bunch of cool places to their town and threw the wildest parties. I also want to be seen as an example of the guy who never quit when everyone doubted him. Always believe in your dreams; they do come true if you want them badly enough.Connect with Lanfranco on Instagram