Brett Lawrence: An appetite for business growth

Brett Lawrence, owner of the award-winning Rocca Deli in St Andrews, discusses the importance of having a trusted team of advisors supporting a business, in order to allow it to succeed and thrive.

Brett Lawrence: An appetite for business growth

 Gill Burnett, EQ, Gillian McLaren, Brett Lawrence and Scott Greig

Mr Brett began working with Scott Greig, principal manager at EQ chartered accountants in 2016 when he decided to buy the former delicatessen in the Home of Golf’s Bell Street and more recently The Golf Inn, located just a short walk away.

Mr Lawrence, who runs the business alongside fiancée Gillian McLaren, said: “We considered a few accountancy firms but, when we spoke to Scott, it just felt right and he seemed to ‘get’ the business and our broader aims from the outset.”

Initially, Scott and his colleagues advised on the purchase of the business, its trading structure, tax implications and asset purchase agreement. He then worked with Brett to set up the company, advising on future tax efficient remuneration, while EQ’s Amber Accounting department began providing bookkeeping training and payroll support.

A favourite with students, tourists and the wider community, the deli has since grown year on year, with Brett investing in state-of-the-art kitchen equipment and refurbishing the interior to deliver a sit-down experience for clients. And it’s paid off! – Rocca Deli recently won the Top Award in the Best Deli/Café category of the Scottish Italian Awards and, prior to that, clinched the ‘Deli of the Year’ title in the Scottish Takeaway Awards.

Mr Lawrence continued: “We have a fantastic relationship with the Cupar office whose team have consistently given us solid but friendly advice as we grow Rocca Deli to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations. We strive to provide the very best service and experience to our client base here in St Andrews so we really wanted the very best business advisors to match, ensuring that our finances were in hand, going in the right direction as we grow.”

Scott added: “One of the most rewarding aspects of my role with EQ is working closely with clients and building relationships that will last. Brett and Gillian are a prime example of this, and it’s been fantastic helping them realise their ambition with Rocca Deli, and supporting the business as it goes from strength to strength.”

As if an award-winning deli was not enough, Brett and Gillian have since gone on to acquire their second food and drink business, The Golf Inn on Golf Place. One of St Andrews’ most iconic ‘pubs with rooms’, The Golf Inn boasts not only a well-stocked bar, but six bedrooms and a 50-cover Brasserie and upstairs roof terrace. With aims to build a strong foodie clientele and refurbish the interior, the couple also plan to introduce stand-up comedy, live music and cocktail nights to drive footfall and build their brand.

Mr Lawrence explained: “When we were looking to expand our portfolio to include The Golf Inn, we worked closely with Scott to identify the right package and the right way to move forward. As well as negotiating and acquiring the best finance at the most preferable rates, Scott also helped us secure an Economic Re-Development and Growth (ERG) grant, something we wouldn’t have the time or expertise to do ourselves.

“The whole process of buying the hotel was pretty challenging but, without Scott’s expertise, it would have been far more complex, time-consuming and expensive, so we were grateful for his guidance to lead us in the right direction.”

Looking ahead, Brett and Gillian are confident that EQ can help guide them on the ups and downs of business life, with Brett adding: “The team’s level of experience and professionalism enables them to go above and beyond – they’ve got the capabilities to cover those unexpected and trickier challenges. We’re confident that nothing could ever be too much for them, and they’d always help us resolve what might crop up, helping us overcome any obstacles.”

On a day-to-day level, Brett and Gillian also find the wider EQ team a pleasure to deal with.

Mr Lawrence explained: “As well as our great relationship with Scott, Gill and Laura from Amber’s Payroll department are also excellent and nothing is ever too much trouble. It’s always good to get a friendly voice at the end of the phone, and any information we might need is always forthcoming. In a nutshell, it’s good advice and they’re our first port of call for so many issues – they help us achieve what we want to achieve!”

Scott added: “Brett and Gillian are true entrepreneurs with the skills and ambition to make any business succeed so we were delighted to be supporting them as they embraced the next stage of the journey with the purchase of The Golf Inn.

“As we enter a new year, Brett and Gillian are very much progressing with their plans to build the business and put their own stamp on it. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with them on any new challenges and opportunities as they take their thriving businesses to the next stage.”

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