How I Got Here: Roberto Bergamotti

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Photo credit: Bricco e Bacco website
Photo credit: Bricco e Bacco website

Related tags: London, Restaurant, Italian restaurant, steakhouse

The co-founder and business director at Fitzrovia-based Sicilian steak restaurant Bricco e Bacco on visits to Sake no Hana, and the importance of believing in and respecting your staff.

Why restaurants?
I love the industry and personally, one of my favourite things in life is enjoying a nice meal with a delicious glass of wine. As an Italian, I love to welcome guests and impress with food as I also love to cook. I do love going to restaurants and enjoying good customer service while discovering new cultures through gastronomic experiences. It is important to me to be empathic and understanding customer needs. I studied marketing so I understand the customer needs and this is crucial to providing the final perfect customer experience. From the point of view of a restaurateur, it is essential to evaluate the guests well to deliver a tailor-made service, impressing them not only with food but with a hedonic experience. I always loved this industry and wanted to open my experiential restaurant. Because our job is not selling food or drink, but rather provide the best experience. Thus, at Bricco e Bacco we deliver only the best gastronomic experience as Sicilian know to do!

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
I will give an obvious answer… about the Covid-19 outbreak and the length of time it has affected us all. I mean, if I could know that the outbreak was lasting more than a year, I might do something concerning dark kitchens and work with takeaway brands while waiting for Bricco e Bacco to open.

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your own)?
. Besides the Italian gastronomic culture, I do love Japanese. I love the balance and flavours of food. This restaurant is very particular to providing top quality products and the atmosphere is outstanding, like a quick trip to Japan.

What motivates you?
The smile and appreciation of guests when they finish their meal. If you work in hospitality, you must enjoy when others are having fun, and it is our job to make their experience unforgettable. The customers that I like more are the one difficult to please; if you can accomplish their satisfaction, it means you are good at it.

What keeps you up at night?
I always try to assess the day, evaluating whatever we could do better for our guests. I always try to make changes, especially to small things, because perfection is not a small thing, but small things make perfection.

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
NAC Mayfair maître d' Vincenzo Rogati became a very good friend of mine over time. He taught me almost everything about this industry. Also, the passion for making people happy and manage the stress in this difficult but still amazing environment. Also Gaetano Perino, chef at The Ned; and Antonio Basanisi, executive chef at Bricco e Bacco and constantly has ideas about how to improve and create new experiences for our guests.

What time do you wake up?
I like to wake up early in the morning although I had a late night the day before. It is important for me to start the day early, have a nice coffee, look at the email and schedule all day. 

Coffee or tea?
Coffee 100%: cappuccino only before 9am and after that then only espresso. Obviously robusta-arabica blend.

How often do you check your email?
Every morning and then I try to keep an eye every hour.

How do you let off steam?
Listening to music.

Do you prefer a night on the tiles or a night on the sofa?
A night talking to people.

What’s your signature dish to cook at home?
I am Italian so whatever I cook is outstanding. Joke aside, I think I am very good with fish-based pasta and cooking steaks. 

Typical Sunday?
Watching Formula One or going out with the family.

Favourite holiday destination?
Back to Palermo specially to see my best friend - my dog, Diego.

What was your dream job growing up?
Football player but then I realise I was very bad at it and good only to talk to people.

Best business decision?
Open a business in the UK specifically, in London. I love this city. London is an incredible city in which you can learn and improve every day. Also, here you can find different cultures and customer mindsets. Discovering and learning is a daily commitment.

Worst business decision?
I think that as human being, everyone can make a bad decisions on any day. However, I focus mostly in manage bad situation and fix the issues caused from a bad decision.

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
Believe in yourself and most importantly believe and respect your staff. Provide your employees with all necessary training and remember that without your staff the business will go down. So first of all, you must start by respecting your employees and then think about the guests. Remember that you work to please customers and not your own ego. Also, experience is everything in life (never believe to know everything or to be cleverer than others); it is very important to start from the bottom line in a business in order to learn all the aspects and be a successful owner.

If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
Fast food providing bad quality products. I don’t mind fast food to provide quick meal; however, using bad quality products should be illegal for a food business.

Bio

Bergamotti was born in Palermo, Sicily, in February 1992. He did a business administration degree in Sicily, coming to London to complete his studies in international management and marketing, specialising in branding. His first job in hospitality was at NAC, Mayfair London While studying for his master's, Bergamotti kept working there and learnt the ropes of the industry. He then moved to Mercato Metropolitano, where he learned to be a bartender and how to prepare cocktails. He opened Bricco e Bacco in London's Fitzrovia with Giovanni Sorrentino in June 2021.

Related topics: People, Profiles, Restaurant

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