Harlequin Leisure Group
Charan Gill is the face and mastemind behind the hugely successful Glasgow based Harlequin Leisure Group, which incorporates Harlequin Restaurant Group, now the largest Indian restaurant chain in the UK.
Often revered as 'Glasgow's Curry King' by the media over the last 19 years, Charan has turned the Glaswegian passion for curry into a thriving empire of 17 restaurants across Scotland...and that's just for starters! In 1998, Charan was awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours List for his outstanding contribution to the food and catering industry.
It's fair to say Charan's achievements have been phenomenal. So what is the secret of his success? Rather than being born with the silver spoon syndrome, on the contrary, Charan's childhood was tough. He arrived in Glasgow from the Punjab, India in 1963 at the age of 9 with little knowledge of English or indeed the western culture. Denied a university education, he started his career as a turner and fitter at Yarrow's Shipyards on the Clyde in 1969.
By 1974, he was a married man with a young child, living in a room and kitchen on the south side of Glasgow. To supplement his meagre income in the shipyards, Charan worked as a waiter in his friend's restaurant, the Ashoka West End, in the evenings - and this is when his entrepreneurial flair began to flourish. He had a vision.
In 1984 when the opportunity arose to purchase the restuarant, Charan begged and borrowed to secure the deal. Through grim determination (amd at times desperation), he applied his innate ability to turn ideas into innovative concepts - and the Harlequin Empire was born.
Harlequin Leisure Group now also incorporates Harelquin Properties and Harlequin Developments, concentrating on luxury conversions and new build properties across west central Scotland.
The Group now employs in excess of 450 staff, and its contribution to the Socttish economy has been considerable.