Fusco’s first foray into gentlemen’s clubs was looking for work as a bartender. Instead, he was inserted as the door guy and has since molded his career into that of a successful Regional Supervisor for the BSC Management Group.

(Note: This story appears in the March 2023 issue of ED Magazine)

Between Milan, Italy, Washington D.C. and San Francisco — along with a stop in Baltimore — Frankie Fusco has established his roots in the Bay Area as a key member of the BSC Management Group. 

Fusco started, like plenty in the industry, as a food runner in restaurants, then became a waiter and bartender before he finally turned his sights on the gentlemen’s club industry at Boys Toys (a club on Broadway in San Francisco).

“I walked into Boys Toys in December of 1999 or 2000, I can’t remember exactly, to see if I could get a job as a bartender,” says Fusco, now a Regional Supervisor for BSC. “The GM, who was willing to give me an interview, said that he wasn’t looking for a bartender but needed a host, and I became the door guy there. That’s where it all started.”

ED Legal Correspondent Larry Kaplan spoke with Fusco to learn about how he’s honed his craft through his travels, how the industry has evolved — including grappling with the employee-independent contractor model — and how promoting a family atmosphere benefits everyone in the club. 

ED: What other markets have you worked in besides San Francisco?

FUSCO: Besides San Francisco, I worked in Maryland (Baltimore). I was at Scores in Baltimore for about a year and a half. I was managing over there. I loved it because it was different; tt was a different market, different laws, a full-nude club with alcohol. It was a great club and the owners were very nice. It was a big corporation with two guys owning it. They did a great job before I got there, putting that club on the map. Working there for a little bit, we increased revenue by 30%.

When I took over the Hustler Club in October 2013, I was able to bring the average revenue there up by 30% as well.

ED: Aside from San Francisco, what other markets have you enjoyed? 

FUSCO: Vegas is always one that’s been fun. When we had the ED Awards in New Orleans for those two years in a row, that was a lot of fun. New Orleans seems like a big party. I’ve been to Miami before, and I enjoyed that, too. All markets are different. It’s kind of hard to say which one you like better. It’s kind of like saying, “Which is your favorite fruit?” They all have a different flavor, different attributes. It’s hard to say which is my favorite market, aside from San Francisco. If I had to pick one, I’d have to pick San Fran because I enjoy the market, the clubs and the culture. 

ED: How have you seen the industry evolve since you started? Has it gotten better or worse?

FUSCO: I couldn’t tell if it’s gotten better or worse. It’s definitely changed a lot since I started. I started in the days when all the entertainers wore gowns, and it was all pretty classy. We had a pretty strict dress code: no hats, no sportswear, and we try to still hold true to that to this day. Also, San Francisco has changed a tremendous amount since I started, going from the independent contractor to the employee model. That’s definitely taken a few years of adjusting. There are so many things to adjust to, not just the managing style and how to manage the girls, or how to run the clubs with the breaks and meal waivers or meal breaks with the constantly evolving labor laws. It’s a lot of things you have to retrain your brain on. The industry completely changed in San Francisco when that happened.

ED: In terms of the Hustler Club, what distinguishes it from the eight clubs in the BSC portfolio?

FUSCO: What separates Hustler from all the others in the company is that we’re a little more diverse. We have something for everyone. But not just that, I think what really separates the club is the sense of comfort you get. Everybody works very well together. I’ve noticed in the industry as a whole, a lot of clubs have cattiness and cliques within the girls’ ranks. Hustler is more of a family: all the girls work very well together. We encourage them to work together because it translates to a better experience for the guests.

I think the newest floor host I’ve hired was eight months ago, and he’s a door guy. The guys on the floor have been there for years, since before COVID — nobody’s left. We’re a pretty tight-knit group. Once we established the present culture, we started making a lot more sales, a lot more money. Everyone’s happy. The team, the family, the camaraderie that we have at Hustler is great. Once a year, we go paintballing together, it’s a team-building exercise. You come out feeling more bonded with your coworkers.

I can tell you that the percentage of guys that go in a (VIP) room and stay longer and spend more money is much higher when it’s more than one entertainer per guest than it is if it’s one on one. If you can get your staff to do it, it’s great. I encourage all the clubs to do that, it’s a great way of making more revenue.

“We’re a pretty tight-knit group. Once we established the present culture, we started making a lot more sales, a lot more money. Everyone’s happy. The team, the family, the camaraderie that we have at Hustler is great. Once a year, we go paintballing together — it’s a team-building exercise. You come out feeling more bonded with your co-workers.” – Frankie Fusco

ED: With Hustler, how do you reach and cater to the 21-29-year-old guests? Is there anything in particular you do to reach them and to cater to them once they’re there?

FUSCO: Mainly, the same thing that everybody does: a little bit of guerrilla marketing, some Instagram and social media marketing, (Instagram/Tik-Tok) Reels and little videos that you see kind of go viral here and there, a little trend video, and I’ll have the girls do it or just take pictures and promote on social media. But word-of-mouth is still one of the biggest and best ways to promote yourself.

ED: With BSC’s eight clubs — you oversee four directly — you certainly need solid management and staff. How do you find managers, DJs and others? Once hired, how do you motivate them and keep them on board?

FUSCO: For managers, we always put ads out. We don’t really need too many managers here. We have a pretty solid team. For employees, we always put ads out and we interview. For an interview, you have to be ready to sell yourself. I’ve had people show up to interviews in sweatpants and slide (sandals), just not really professionally ready to be interviewed. 

As far as the interview, “experience” is an interesting area to evaluate. You can work in a place for 10 years and still not know what you’re doing, but you can work in a place for a year and be very knowledgeable. I want to see how long you work at a place just to see how consistent you are, but I also want to see if I get a good feel for you. If I don’t have a good feel for you and I don’t think you’d fit the family or the criteria, then I’m not going to hire you. Once you’re hired, I make sure you understand how it all works. At the same time, I always try to make feel people feel comfortable and make people feel they’re part of a team and they belong. 

I know the word “family” gets tossed around, but it does work if you treat your team nicely and communicate. The more you explain to people what’s going on, the more communication you have, the less chance there is of somebody quitting because of a misunderstanding or maybe feeling a little weird about something that wasn’t explained right. The more you treat them like they belong with you, the farther they’ll go for you and the harder they’ll work. That’s been a good key to what we do at Hustler and what we’ve been doing to the other clubs. 

You have to make sure that your staff understands that you’re hiring them to do a job and know what the job is. Make sure they know it’s their number-one priority. But by doing this, and by doing it the right way, you can make money. 

ED: Do you have any interesting stories or anecdotes that you could share — any celebrity athletes or normal customer stories?

FUSCO: All clubs have different stories. I’ve had plenty of celebrities come in, whether they’re movie stars, athletes the (San Francisco) Giants or the Golden State Warriors, the (San Francisco) 49ers — there are a lot of sports teams here in the Bay. So once in a while you get some of these athletes coming in, and they want to stay low-key. Same with movie stars: there’s always some kind of movie being shot in San Francisco. I can’t really think of a crazy story off my head. But I can tell you this: typically, the people that spend the most money are not the athletes or celebrities, they’re the everyday people.

ED: Were you working at Broadway Showgirls when that boulder came down? You remember that story? (Ed’s note: this is in reference to a rockslide that impacted the club in 2007.)

FUSCO: Oh, yeah. I had a day job at the time as well. I was working at Showgirls, and I was supposed to work that night. Funny enough, at the end of the night, there’s a desk in the office that faces that wall that the boulder came through. I used to sit at that desk and count my tips. That’s when I was a VIP host; I wasn’t management yet. And I was supposed to work that night. I actually asked for the night off because I had a trip to Indiana with my day job for some training. And the boulder came through, I want to say, minutes after they set the code and walked out. The boulder was basically the size of that entire office, it was huge. If I hadn’t asked for the night off and if we had a good night and we were there for a little longer, I wouldn’t be talking to you right now. 

Larry Kaplan has for 22 years been the Legal Correspondent for ED Publications. In addition, Mr. Kaplan is a business broker in the sale and purchase of adult nightclubs and adult retail stores and the Executive Director of the ACE of Michigan adult nightclub state trade association. Contact Larry Kaplan: at 313-815-3311 or email larry@kaplanclubsales.com.

Garden of Eden

EXPO deal 1