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J D Wetherspoon plc
Public limited company
Traded as LSEJDW
Industry Hospitality industry
Founded 1979
Founder Tim Martin
Headquarters Watford, United Kingdom
Number of locations
Over 920 pubs throughout Britain[1]
Key people
Tim Martin (Chairman)
John Hutson (CEO)
Products Public houses and hotels
Revenue £1,280.9 million (2013)[2]
£111.3 million (2013)[2]
Profit £46.2 million (2013)[2]
Number of employees
26,000 (2012)[3]
Website www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk

Wetherspoons (business name J D Wetherspoon plc) is a pub chain operating in the UK and Ireland, with headquarters in Watford, Hertfordshire. Founded in 1979 by Tim Martin, the company owns over 920 outlets. The chain champions cask ale, low prices, long opening hours, and no music. The company also operates the Lloyds No. 1 chain and a modest number of Wetherspoon Hotels. The chain has become known for converting large, unconventional premises into pubs. Premises tend to be large by British pub standards, and use an open plan layout.

It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

The chain began supporting cask ale when it was unfashionable to do so,[4] and is the largest single purchaser from microbreweries in the UK.[citation needed]


The Rochester Castle, Stoke Newington

In 1979, Tim Martin opened his first pub, on Colney Hatch Lane in Muswell Hill, north London.[5] Many of the other early Wetherspoon pubs were also in the western part of Haringey. The J D Wetherspoon name comes from one of Martin's teachers in New Zealand who could not control his class,[6][7][8] and told Tim that he would never succeed in business.[9]

In the early 1990s, Wetherspoon began a policy of routinely selling off their smaller or less profitable outlets, often—but not always—replacing them with larger premises very close by. There are now around 100 ex-Wetherspoon pubs, and none of the earliest outlets in the chain is still part of the estate. The oldest surviving Wetherspoon is the Rochester Castle in Stoke Newington, opened in 1983.[10] Until the mid-1990s, when it began to expand across the country, most of the company's pubs were clustered around the Greater London area.

In 1998, Wetherspoon introduced over-sized glasses and promoted the "full pint".[11] This initiative was soon withdrawn, supposedly because customers were still asking for top-ups, but arguably because other pub chains did not follow their lead.[12]

Food and drink[edit]

Wetherspoon claimed to be "the only large pub firm which opens all its pubs early in the morning", serving breakfast and coffee as well as a full food menu into the evening.[13] Weekly food promotions include Mexican Monday, Steak club (Tuesday), Wing it Wednesday (Chicken club, Wednesday), Curry Club (Thursday), Fish Friday, and Sunday Club (traditional Sunday roasts).[14]

Wetherspoon hosts an "Ale Festival" in March/April each year, where a larger range of guest ales is available in each pub, and a "Cider Festival" in the summer.

Properties and operations[edit]

Becketts Bank in Leeds, its name reflecting the building's former use

Many Wetherspoons pubs are conversions of existing buildings, including:

Consequently, many Wetherspoons properties are listed buildings.[15]

There are Wetherspoons bars in the passenger terminals of many UK airports, such as Robin Hood Airport, London Stansted and London Heathrow as well as within London Victoria station and Leeds station.

The Picturedrome in Liverpool, a converted cinema

In December 2013, the chain opened its 900th pub. [1] Around half are owned freehold; the rest are leasehold.

Wetherspoon half-year figures for March 2013[16] show revenue was £626.4m, up 10% for 26 weeks, however profits were fractionally down 2% to £52.1 million with the interim dividend maintained at 4p a share. In a statement, chairman Tim Martin said, "We believe there to be an overwhelmingly strong case for tax parity between pubs and supermarkets, since lower supermarket taxes help them to sell alcoholic drinks at extremely low prices, compared with those of pubs."

Wetherspoon pioneered having non-smoking areas in pubs, even before the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Health Act 2006 in England and Wales introduced smoking bans in public houses,[17] and started converting some of its pubs to completely non-smoking in 2005 before introducing a complete ban in 2006.[18]

Ireland's first Wetherspoons pub, The Three Tun Tavern opened in Blackrock, Co Dublin in July 2014.[19][20][21]

In 2014, Wetherspoons controversially opened a pub at the Beaconsfield motorway service area on the M40 [22]


Wetherspoon also owns and runs a chain of hotels (known until 17 September 2009 as "Wetherspoon Lodges" or "WetherLodges" and since then as "Wetherspoon Hotels") in the UK. As of 2015, there are now 34 hotels in total covering England, Wales and Scotland. Very soon Wetherspoons will open a 100 bedroom hotel in the center of Dublin, Ireland.


Tim Martin[edit]

Timothy Randall Martin, the founder and chairman of Wetherspoon, was born on 28 April 1955, in Northern Ireland. He was educated at eleven different schools in Northern Ireland and New Zealand including Campbell College in Belfast.[7][23] He studied law at the University of Nottingham.[7] His early jobs included work on a construction site in Ware,[7] and acting as a sales representative for The Times.[23] In 2005, he was voted the fifth most influential person in the UK pub industry.[24] Martin is a Eurosceptic and has been convinced for many years that the Euro will collapse.[25] He is an admirer of Sam Walton's business philosophy.[26] He makes numerous visits to Wetherspoon's outlets, his favourite ale being Greene King Abbot.[27]

Standing 6 feet and 6 inches (198 cm) he has been described as the "giant of the British pub industry", and is also known for sporting a mullet haircut.[28] He is married with four children.[7]

Martin retains an approximately 25% stake in the company.[29]


John Hutson is the chief executive, with total annual remuneration of £758,000 in 2009, consisting of a £364,000 base salary and a £394,000 bonus+other income.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "JD Wetherspoon To Open 900th Pub Next Week". Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Annual Results 2013". J D Wetherspoon. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  3. ^ JD Wetherspoon: Our people
  4. ^ Martin, Tim (14 September 2012). "Good News Britain: We're putting the 'pub' in 'public'". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  5. ^ "Refurb for Tim Martin's first outlet". Property News. Morning Advertiser. Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  6. ^ Refurb for Tim Martin's first outlet Morning Advertiser, 1 September 2005
  7. ^ a b c d e The Real Pub Landlord The Observer, 3 March 2002
  8. ^ "The real pub landlord | Business | The Observer". London: Guardian. 3 March 2002. Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  9. ^ I'll tell you what's wrong with Wetherspoon's - it's run by a man named Tim, Will Self, New Statesman, 1 March 2013
  10. ^ Indicia - www.indicia.com (1983-05-01). "The Rochester Castle | Our Pubs". J D Wetherspoon. Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  11. ^ "The Investment Column: Wetherspoon dips in growth glitch". Business, News (London: The Independent). 1998-03-11. Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  12. ^ "Full Pint Issue 6". CAMRA North London. 2002-08-28. Retrieved 2010-02-26. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Wetherspoon toasts record sales". BBC News. 11 September 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  14. ^ Quality Food, Great Value | Food Menu | J D Wetherspoon
  15. ^ Woodger, Andrew (2 July 2010). "Suffolk to get Wetherspoon's pub". BBC News. 
  16. ^ "On investegate.co.uk 15 March 2013"
  17. ^ "Wetherspoon pubs ban smoking". BBC News. 24 January 2005. Retrieved 2 June 2008. 
  18. ^ Tran, Mark (24 January 2005). "Wetherspoon pubs to ban smoking". guardian.co.uk (London). Retrieved 2 June 2008. 
  19. ^ "Open for business: Wetherspoon’s first Irish pub serves its first customers". The Journal. 8 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  20. ^ June 30, 2014 (Ciarán Hancock). "Guinness pulled from menu at Wetherspoon’s Blackrock pub". The Irish Times.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  21. ^ http://m.independent.ie/business/irish/video-first-look-inside-irelands-first-wetherspoon-pub-30415014.html
  22. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/m40-wetherspoons-first-motorway-pub-sends-completely-wrong-message-on-drinkdriving-9073803.html
  23. ^ a b The giant of the pub world The Times, 8 February 2009
  24. ^ Tim Martin CatererSearch 100 Profile
  25. ^ Clark, Andrew (5 January 2002). "Single minded: yes. Single currency: no way". The Guardian (London). 
  26. ^ The Book that Shook Tim Martin
  27. ^ The Publican
  28. ^ "The giant of the pub world". The Times (London). 8 February 2009. 
  29. ^ Neville, Simon (18 May 2012). "JD Wetherspoon boss buys £2.5m of shares". The Guardian (London). 
  30. ^ "John Hutson: Executive Profile & Biography". BusinessWeek. McGraw-Hill. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 

External links[edit]