The owner of the newly opened Ritorno in Chelsea speaks to Katie Pathiaki about his former career working in the oil business, why he entered the hospitality industry and his plans for the future
What’s your background?
I worked in the oil and gas industry for almost six years after graduating from Kingston University with a degree in business management.
Why did you want to make the move to the hospitality industry?
I’ve always been passionate about food and drink, and I have seen the industry grow over the years. I always had in mind the idea to have my own place.
Have you had a mentor along the way, either formally or informally?
I am delighted to have the support of Massimo Montone, an expert business advisor and restaurant consultant, and the team to help me in my new role. My family has also worked hard with me to make this happen with our operations
and marketing team.
What inspired you to launch Ritorno?
I have lived in London since 2010 and I did miss the authentic and traditional Italian aperitivo followed by proper Italian food. I grew up in the north of Italy,
near Milan, where the aperitivo-dinner has been well known for many years. In London, there wasn’t an Italian place where you could find this concept, with highquality cocktails and food served in a beautiful environment.
What makes Ritorno different from other Italian-style restaurants?
Ritorno is not just an Italian restaurant, it is an elegant and premium cocktail bar and Italian kitchen that serves high-quality food and drinks. Italian restaurants in London are generally known for pizza and pasta Ritorno is bringing the aperitivo-dinner lifestyle from Milan to London.
What attracted you to Chelsea specifically?
I have lived in west London since I moved to London seven years ago and my heart lies in Chelsea. We also carried out thorough market research prior to opening to decide on the location.
Did anyone ever try to talk you out of pursuing a career in the hospitality industry?
My good friends and people who know me well knew said that due to my attitude and personality, the hospitality industry could be the right environment to help me grow as a person and as an entrepreneur.
Do you think that your experiences in sales and business management aided you when opening Ritorno?
Yes, indeed. My sales and business management experience in the oil and gas industry, as well as the business studies I’ve carried out, have helped with the restaurant opening.
What problems did you encounter when you first opened and how did you overcome them?
Luckily, there haven’t been any major problems to solve. Our team is fully experienced in hospitality, and in food and beverage. I am sure that if anything does come up in the future, it will be overcome with the strength of team work.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2017?
Ritorno is a new brand and our goal is to take Ritorno to the top. We will work hard to ensure that Ritorno Chelsea runs smoothly, with an eye on new opportunities and expansion.
Do you have a motto?
“The achievements of an organisation are the results of the combined effort of each individual” – Vince Lombardi.
What’s the most inspiring day you’ve had in your career?
The very first day when Ritorno opened, even though everyone thought it was impossible, including myself. But I have learned with hard work and determination that anything is possible. Ritorno was open to the public by 6pm and everything was perfect.
What do you love most about your job?
I love meeting new people every day and, of course, organising and planning the restaurant.
2017-present Owner/director, Ritorno, London
2016-2017 After-sales co-ordinator, Petrolvalves GB
2013-2016 Internal sales administrator, KTS Oil Services