David Wither is the founder and managing director of Montpeliers (Edinburgh), the seven-strong group which encompasses boutique hotels, bars and restaurants.
Daivd Wither - Career guide
David Wither joined the hospitality trade at the age of 18. Just a year later, as manager of Edinburgh's World Pub he declared his ambition to open his own bar and restaurant by the age of 30. After a career with Scottish & Newcastle, initially as general manager then followed by a head office role as development manager, he achieved his goal. In 1992 he opened Montpeliers Bar & Brassiere in Bruntsfield alongside his wife Ruth, and business partners Rob and Wendy Elliott.
Over the past 20 years, David and his business partners have expanded the business to encompass seven fashionable establishments - Tigerlily, Lulu, Opal Lounge, the 10-bedroom-Rick's, Indigo Yard, Candy Bar & Kitchen and Montpeliers Bar & Brasserie. Wither says that "each has a unique personality and style".
The group has won many accolades, including Business Innovator of the Year and the Dram Awards multiple operator of the year. This year has seen Tigerlily, Lulu & Candy Bar voted as 'must -visit destinations in Edinburgh' by the New York Times, while the 33-bedroomTigerlily has been voted one of the Top 100 in the World Boutique Awards 2012 and named as "one of the coolest hotels in the world" by Conde Nast Traveller.
David is keen to emphasise customer service and staff development and offers online training programmes to his staff via his own company, Flow Training, a separate business from Montpeliers. Flow also runs bespoke programmes for external clients.
David Wither - What we think
Montpeliers establishments are placed around Edinburgh's high-end fashion district and, while each has its own identity, they feel part of the same Montpeliers brand.
This is a rare feat and has enabled Wither to nurture customer loyalty yet remain flexible enough to move into other markets. Montpeliers has also developed a range of customer events such as masterclasses in making cupcakes or cocktails which cleverly offer a memorable experience, as well as keeping the venues busy.
"In the current economic climate, it's important to find ways of overcoming the hurdles that are affecting us all. We strive to find new and innovative ways of appealing to our market place," he told Caterer.