Name: Stefano Pieraccini.

Age: 25.

What is your business called?

The Rocca Group.

Where is it based?

We currently have three venues across Scotland and have plans to open two more in Edinburgh this summer. The current portfolio comprises the Seafood Ristorante in St Andrews and The West Room and The Broughton, both in Edinburgh. We will be opening Rico’s, a destination Italian restaurant, in Edinburgh city centre in July 2021, on the former site of Michelin Star Chef Martin Wishart’s The Honours. We also have plans for a more casual, pop-up version of Rico’s in another area of the city, which is still to be formally announced.

What does it produce, what services does it offer?

We are a family-owned, independent restaurant group. Each venue has its own distinct identity which we think slots perfectly into its surroundings. The Seafood Ristorante is situated overlooking West Sands beach, behind the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews. It offers Scottish-Italian dishes with the finest east coast seafood, caught daily by fishermen just 10 miles down the road in Anstruther. The Broughton is located on Edinburgh’s Broughton Street and we like to call it “everyone’s local”. The West Room is Edinburgh’s first cicchetti bar. Cicchetti are snacks or ‘small plates’ served with drinks, and are a traditional favourite in Venice.

To whom does it sell?

We have a diverse range of customers. At The Seafood Ristorante in St Andrews we welcome plenty of locals but also, as you might expect being located in the ‘home of golf’, many golfers and tourists. At The Broughton we see lots of post-work drinks, family get-togethers and casual dining for Sunday lunch. The West Room is primarily evening drinks and dining, after work or at the weekend.

How many employees?


All three businesses were closed for much of last year. Even when things reopened following the first lockdown, it was more difficult for venues like The Broughton and The West Room under certain guidelines (tier 3, for example) as they relied more on the sale of alcohol.

The Seafood Ristorante was able to offer an ‘at home’ service for events like Christmas and Mother’s Day. This was usually a three-course meal which could be picked up from the venue or delivered nationwide via DPD.

Staff were furloughed throughout any periods of closure.

Naturally, we have had to make some necessary changes to the way we operate but I would like to say our core dining experience and values remain unchanged.

It is noticeable in our venues that the levels of confidence now among customers are different compared to last July. The vaccine has meant lots of our older guests have returned to the restaurants again. Of course, Covid hasn’t gone away, but we have to move on, build back the business and we remain cautiously optimistic about the future.

When was it formed?

I took on my first venue in 2017, which was the Seafood Ristorante. The group has been growing since then with the acquisition of The West Room, The Broughton and Rico’s.

Why did you take the plunge?

I was lucky enough to be mentored by my own parents, Adrian and Susan Pieraccini, who had been successful restaurateurs themselves in Inverness and St Andrews. My dad brought me up with three core values: good food, good drink and good service. From that upbringing and being immersed in Scottish hospitality from such a young age, and also having a great support network around me, I knew it was an opportunity not to be missed.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I had recently graduated from Northumbria University with a degree in Business with Marketing Management.

What was your biggest break?

I feel like my big break is still to happen and it will come when our new venue, Rico’s, opens in July. It isn’t just another venue, it’s a brand concept I have been developing for about four years and I am hopeful it will really take our business to the next level.

What was your worst moment?

By far, the worst moment was losing my dad at the start of this year. Although he had taken a step back from the day-to-day work, he was such a big part of the business and a huge inspiration to me.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

I am really proud when I see customers come into the venues, enjoy good food and fine wine and share amazing experiences together. I’m fairly hands on and I like to be on service, speaking to guests and maintaining the standards that I was brought up with.

What is your biggest bugbear?

I really dislike when people season dishes without tasting them first.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

I would like to grow the Rocca Group with at least three new venues over the next five years. We are aiming to open multiple venues across Scotland and the north of England.

What single thing would most help?

For a variety of reasons, we are experiencing a real shortage of staff in the industry. More focus on nurturing young talent, encouraging young people to consider hospitality as a career and more training would really raise the bar.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

Keep the VAT rate low. The cut to 5% helps us massively, especially at the moment.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

You can’t make everyone happy.

How do you relax?

I like golf and I like jetting off to the sunshine when I can.