The Key to Running a Successful Family Biz


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Rosanna Scotto and Jenna Ruggerio have learned a secret to running a successful family restaurant business: teamwork.

Rosanna Scotto, best known for her Emmy-winning presence as co-anchor on Good Day New York and WNYW-Fox 5, and her daughter, Jenna Ruggerio are co-owners of Fresco by Scott in New York City. Rosanna’s mother, Marion Scotto, affectionately known as “Mama Scotto”, sparked the family’s initial ambition to carve out a culinary haven amidst the ever-competitive NYC restaurant scene.

The initial hurdle was skepticism from their landlord, who doubted the family’s ability to succeed in the restaurant business. The odds of success were stacked high, however, with a family tree full of connections, the Scottos were up for the challenge and pressed on.

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“We had a lot of motivation to show people that we could do it,” shares Scotto with Restaurant Influencers host Shawn Walchef of Cali BBQ Media.

The turning point came just a week into their venture. Ruth Reichl, the esteemed New York Times food critic, walked through the doors of Fresco by Scotto.

What followed was a whirlwind.

Reichl awarded the fledgling restaurant two stars, a significant accolade at the time that effectively put them on the map. Rosanna beams as she recounts, “People were coming from everywhere…The lines were out the door.” The review ignited a frenzy, transforming the restaurant into a must-visit destination overnight. Years later, the torch has been passed to the lone member of the next generation who works within the family business, Scotto’s daughter, Jenna Ruggiero.

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Having worked in the entertainment business, Rugerrio brought a keen understanding of modern marketing, particularly the power of social media. Ruggierio’s efforts not only highlighted the exquisite cuisine. It also brought a lively, inviting ambiance, complete with dancing and joyous gatherings, enticing a global audience to experience the magic of Fresco by Scotto.

“Instagram can be a really valuable tool,” Jenna notes about using social media to market their restaurant. “When I started working here two years ago, we had 25,000 Instagram followers, and I grew it to 70,000. So many customers see us on Instagram from across the states, from across the world.”

The Scotto family’s commitment extends beyond their restaurant walls into the very fabric of New York City’s community. Their deep-rooted ties to the city manifest in heartfelt philanthropy, particularly their support for God’s Love We Deliver. Each October, the family hosts a vibrant luncheon, channeling all proceeds to this vital organization.

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Scotto passionately describes the cause: “God’s Love We Deliver started many years ago as a lifeline for people who had AIDS and no food. They were homeless. They could not get out, they could not nourish themselves.” Today, the organization serves a broader spectrum of New Yorkers in need, delivering meals to the city’s most vulnerable.

From overcoming skepticism and earning critical acclaim to leveraging social media and giving back to their community, the story of Fresco by Scotto is not just a restaurant. It’s a testament to the spirit of a hospitable family that thrives on turning challenges into triumphs, one delicious meal at a time.

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