Marcelo Marani is a Brazilian entrepreneur and restaurant owner known for his educational, marketing and sales expertise, particularly in the restaurant industry. Marani got his start in the restaurant industry as a teenager at the age of 14 when he started working at his father’s restaurant, Pizzaria Terraço. His father believed that in order for his son to truly become the best restauranteur, that he needed to experience first hand what each employee at the restaurant did.
“I am the son of a restaurant owner. My father has worked in the industry for more than 40 years,” says Marani about the man that taught him everything.
After leaving the restaurant world a few years later, he went on to study computer science at university in Belo Horizonte where he lived at the time. Though Marani attempted to follow in his parents footsteps, he didn’t succeed in the way he had hoped. He went back to school to get his postgraduate degree in finance and a master’s degree in marketing.
“In 2015, I was about to face the most difficulty of my life. That’s when I built my third business, the biggest of all, with a huge investment,” explains the Brazilian businessman. “And in less than a year I went bust. This was very painful for me. I believed I already knew everything. That’s when I needed to reinvent myself, study, and evolve. And so, after rebuilding my business and succeeding, I decided to teach other people important things that help them to not get the same experience that I got.”
Fast forward to today and he’s now the owner of popular eatery, A Francesinha Pizzeria, and the CEO and Founder of Donos de Restaurantes, which translates to Restaurant Owners in English. This is one of the largest educational programs in Latina America, specializing in helping entrepreneurs successfully open, manage and grow their own lucrative restaurant businesses.
Founded in 2019, his well-known educational program of mentors and experts has successfully trained almost 15,000 entrepreneurs since it opened doors.
“I have had a few experiences of what it is like to lead a restaurant that has gone through moments of success and failure,” says Marani. “The theory is completely different from practicing. I’m still a restaurant owner and I’m still testing in practice all the techniques that I teach. This is what I believe makes me stand out.”
When Marani heads to the International Pizza Expo and the Bar & Restaurant Expo in Las Vegas annually, he has a selection of restaurants that he makes sure to stop by with clients and for fun.
For a true extravagant Vegas experience, he suggests Nusr-Et Steakhouse Las Vegas Restaurant. This is the establishment of internet famous, Salt Bae, who became a viral sensation for his salt-sprinkling memes. This lively, upscale and over-the-top meat centric Turkish restaurant serves big time cuts of steak ranging from the Saltbae Tomahawk, a highly marbled, mustard marinated wagyu bone in rib-eye, to the Nusr-Et Special, which is tenderloin sliced and griddled on a hot plate with butter.
“My order was a traditional cut, which came very succulent and perfectly cooked,” says Marani. “I was very satisfied with the food and the service. I highly recommend the visit!”
He also enjoys a meal at local’s favorite, Golden Steer SteakHouse. The establishment’s vintage glamorous vibes are ideal for a night out in Vegas. Celebrities that include Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Muhammad Ali have dined here. “The food is plentiful and the cuts are prime,” says Marani. “And take it from me, you need to try Caesar Salad to go with your meal.”
As an owner of a pizzeria, he was very impressed with Pizza Rock, owned by pizza making legend and entrepreneur Tony Gemignani. “Visiting this place is a gastronomic experience. The pizzeria is completely out of the ordinary. There are almost 200 seats in a very cool environment, with all the sounds and vibes of a real rock and roll stage.
“My order is the Margherita pizza, which was chosen as the best in the world in Naples, Italy,” he says. “They only make 73 Margherita pizzas per day, so don’t miss out!”
When it comes to impressing clients or going all out for a dinner, Marani suggests Joel Robuchon Vegas. Located on the MGM Grand casino floor, this is French dining at its finest. This elegant, three-Michelin starred establishment offers guests an unforgettable tasting menu.
“The ingredients are the highest quality and provide an explosion of new flavors,” says Marani. “Especially when it comes to French cuisine, which has particularities and an elaboration quite different from other cuisines.”