|Public limited company|
|Traded as||LSE: JDW|
|Headquarters||Watford, United Kingdom|
Number of locations
|Tim Martin (Chairman)
John Hutson (CEO)
|Products||Public houses and hotels|
|Revenue||£1,513.9 million (2015)|
|£112.5 million (2015)|
|Profit||£44.8 million (2015)|
Number of employees
Wetherspoons (J D Wetherspoon plc) is a pub chain in the UK and Ireland, with headquarters in Watford, Hertfordshire. Founded in 1979 by Tim Martin, the company owns just under 1,000 outlets. The chain's pubs offer cask ale, low prices, long opening hours, and no music. The company also operates the Lloyds No.1 chain and Wetherspoon Hotels.
Tim Martin opened his first pub in 1979, on Colney Hatch Lane in Muswell Hill, north London. 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.
Martin chose the name when he was running his first pub in Muswell Hill. "I decided to call it Wetherspoon's after a former teacher - not because the teacher in question at my primary school in New Zealand had said I would never make it, as some people think, but because he was too nice a fellow to be running our particular class and he couldn't control it. So I thought: I can't control the pub, he couldn't control the class, so I'll name it after him."
In the early 1990s, Wetherspoons began a policy of routinely selling off its smaller or less profitable outlets, often—but not always—replacing them with larger premises close by. There are now around 100 ex-Wetherspoons pubs, and none of the earliest outlets in the chain are still part of the estate. The oldest surviving Wetherspoons is the Rochester Castle in Stoke Newington, opened in 1983.
In 1998, Wetherspoons introduced oversized glasses and promoted the "full pint". This initiative was soon withdrawn, supposedly because customers were still asking for top-ups, but arguably because other pub chains did not follow its lead.
In 2015, Wetherspoons was made to pay a total of £24,000 for "direct racial discrimination" to eight individuals who were refused admittance to one of its pubs in north London based on what a judge described as "the stereotypical assumption that Irish travellers and English gypsies cause disorder wherever they go".
Food and drink
Wetherspoons 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. Weekly food promotions include Mexican Monday, Steak club (Tuesday), Wing it Wednesday (Chicken club), Curry Club (Thursday) and Fish Friday. The Sunday Club (traditional Sunday roasts) promotion was controversially dropped in March 2016.
Wetherspoons hosts two Ale Festivals in March/April and October each year (when a larger range of guest ales is available in each pub) and a Cider Festival in the summer.
Properties and operations
Many Wetherspoons pubs are conversions of existing buildings, including:
- Theatres and cinemas (The Playhouse, Colchester; Opera House, Tunbridge Wells; The Capitol, Forest Hill; Coronet, Holloway; Prince Of Wales, Cardiff; The Salt Cot, Saltcoats; The Picture Palace, Enfield; The Regal Cinema, Rochdale; The Plaza, Rugeley; The Capitol, Dundee)
- Banks (The Crosse Keys, City of London; Bankers Draft, Sheffield; The Twelve Tellers, Preston; The Standing Order, Derby; The Standing Order, Edinburgh; The Standing Order, Southampton; Becketts Bank, Leeds; The Moon and Sixpence, Hatch End; The Counting House, Congleton; The Counting House, Glasgow)
- Post offices (The Wheeping Ash, St Neots; The Penny Black, Bicester; Last Post, Paisley, Southend; Loughton; Humphrey Bean, Tonbridge; The Narrows, Abingdon; The Arnold Machin, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stone; The Harlequin, Huntingdon; The Last Post, Beeston; The William Webb Ellis, Twickenham)
- Swimming pools (Swim Inn & Rawson Spring, Sheffield)
- Churches (The Church House, Wath-upon-Dearne; Chapel An Gansblydhen, Bodmin; The West Kirk, Ayr; The Black Bull Inn, Bangor); The Earl of Zetland, Grangemouth
Consequently, many Wetherspoons properties are listed buildings.
There are Wetherspoons bars in the passenger terminals of many UK airports, such as Robin Hood Airport, London Gatwick, London Stansted and London Heathrow and in several main railway stations including London Victoria, London Liverpool Street, London Cannon Street, Leeds and Liverpool Lime Street.
In 2013, the chain opened its 900th pub.
Wetherspoons pioneered 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 – and started converting some of its pubs to completely non-smoking in 2005 before introducing a complete ban in 2006.
Wetherspoons also owns a chain of hotels in the UK. As of 2015, there are 34 hotels in England, Wales and Scotland. In 2014, it was reported that the company would open a pub and 100-room hotel in Camden Street, Dublin, Ireland.
Every Wetherspoons pub has a unique carpet, drawing on the location, building and name. They are produced by Axminster Carpets and, having more than the usual six colours, have to be partially handmade on old fashioned looms, costing up to £30,000 – twice as much as stock designs.
Mags Thomson, 66, from Livingston, Scotland, has visited every Wetherspoons in Great Britain, from 1994 to October 2015, when she had visited 972, including 80 that have subsequently closed.
John Hutson is the chief executive, with total annual renumeration of £758,000 in 2009, consisting of a £364,000 base salary and a £394,000 bonus, plus other income.
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- 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
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- Woodger, Andrew (2 July 2010). "Suffolk to get Wetherspoon's pub". BBC News.
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- "Wetherspoon pubs ban smoking". BBC News. 24 January 2005. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
- Tran, Mark (24 January 2005). "Wetherspoon pubs to ban smoking". guardian.co.uk. London. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
- "Open for business: Wetherspoon's first Irish pub serves its first customers". The Journal. 8 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- Ciarán Hancock (June 30, 2014). "Guinness pulled from menu at Wetherspoon's Blackrock pub". The Irish Times.
- "Video: First look inside Ireland's first Wetherspoon pub". Independent.ie. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
- "JD Wetherspoon opens first motorway pub". The Independent. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
- "JD Wetherspoon to open hotel, bar at homeless hostel in Dublin". The Irish Times. 15 December 2014.
- "State Cinema set to become a Wetherspoons pub". Thurrock Gazette. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
- The secret life of Wetherspoon’s freaky carpets The Guardian 10 January 2016
- "John Hutson: Executive Profile & Biography". BusinessWeek. McGraw-Hill. Retrieved 23 August 2009.
Media related to J D Wetherspoon at Wikimedia Commons