Written by John Porter
Stefan King – Snapshot
Stefan King is the founder and managing director of G1 Group, one of Scotland’s best-known operators of bars, restaurants, clubs and hotels. The business runs managed sites in its Glasgow heartland, has recently expanded into Edinburgh, and also offers pub leases across Scotland through its Iona Pub Partnership business.
Stefan King – Career guide
Stefan King’s G1 group opened its first venue, Club X on Royal Exchange Square in Glasgow, in 1990. Targeting a stylish, predominantly gay clientele, it set new standards for the city’s nightlife, and laid down a model that has served the business well ever since – high quality food and drink, high standards of customer service, delivered in opulent surroundings in an iconic building.
The combination of successful venues and King’s eye for the right property deal have made him a millionaire many times over and G1 Group one of the best known operators on the Scottish hospitality scene, with more than 40 managed outlets and over 100 leased pubs.
King maintains a low personal media profile, preferring that plaudits go to the group. G1’s roll call of awards includes a number of Regeneration of Scotland Awards for its work in bringing high profile buildings back into use, and it has twice been named Independent Multiple Operator of the Year by Scottish Licensed Trade News.
Stefan King – What we think
For a media-shy personality, Stefan King is no stranger to publicity. Deals to buy high profile Glasgow properties such as the former BBC Scotland headquarters, the former General Post Office have inevitably attracted controversy, and one high profile plan, for a nightclub in the city’s Botanic Gardens, was eventually rejected by the council after a protest campaign.
However, King would argue, with considerable justification, that the clubs, bars, restaurants and cinemas operated by G1 Group are an asset to Glasgow’s social profile and have kept many iconic buildings alive and in use when they might otherwise have lay derelict.
King has in place a strong management team, including operations director David McDowell, formerly with Mitchells & Butlers and Montpelier Hotels, and Lesley Welsh, brought in from leased specialist Punch Taverns in 2009 to head up G1’s sister business, Iona Pub Partnership,
In 2011, a drive to expand into Edinburgh saw King acquire a package of businesses from the administrators of the Festival Group, with former Festival boss Kenny Waugh joining King in EH1, the business set up by G1 to run the Edinburgh arm.
G1 continues in invest heavily in regularly refreshing and refurbishing its properties, and is also a strong investor in training and staff development. G1’s stated mission is “to deliver an outstanding experience on every occasion”, and for King, that is mission accomplished.
Glasgow Bar Supremo moves into Edinburgh >>