|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||£1,409.3 million (2014)|
|£115.6 million (2014)|
|Profit||£41.1 million (2014)|
Number of employees
Wetherspoon (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 just under 1000 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 a 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. The company 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.
In 1979, Tim Martin opened his first pub, 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, Contrary to popular belief, the Wetherspoon name did not come from the teacher telling Tim that he would never succeed in business. The name came from when Tim 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, 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. 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". 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.
Food and drink
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. Weekly food promotions include Mexican Monday, Steak club (Tuesday), Wing it Wednesday (Chicken club), Curry Club (Thursday), Fish Friday, and Sunday Club (traditional Sunday roasts).
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
Many Wetherspoon's 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)
- Banks (The Crosse Keys, City of London; Bankers Draft, Sheffield; The Twelve Tellers, Preston, The Standing Order, Derby; 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, 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)
Consequently, many Wetherspoon's properties are listed buildings.
There are Wetherspoon's bars in the passenger terminals of many UK airports, such as Robin Hood Airport, London Stansted and London Heathrow and in main railway stations - London Victoria, London Liverpool Street, London Cannon Street, Leeds and Liverpool Lime Street.
In December 2013, the chain opened its 900th pub.  Around half are owned freehold; the rest are leasehold.
Wetherspoon half-year figures for March 2013 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, and started converting some of its pubs to completely non-smoking in 2005 before introducing a complete ban in 2006.
Ireland's first Wetherspoon's pub, The Three Tun Tavern opened in Blackrock, Co. Dublin, in July 2014. In 2015, the Old Borough Public House in Swords, Dublin, was converted into a Wetherspoons Pub.
Wetherspoon's also owns 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 in England, Wales and Scotland. In December 2014, it was reported that they would open a pub and 100-room hotel in Camden Street, Dublin, Ireland.
In September 2015 Wetherspoon's bought the Grade II* Listed Art Deco State Cinema in Grays, Essex which had been under threat of damage by vandalism and water ingress for a number of years.
In December 2015, Wetherspoon's sent an email to customers announcing that its system had been hacked between 15 and 17 June 2015. This hack resulted in the potential loss of over 650,000 customers' data including names, dates of birth, email addresses and phone numbers, and around 100 customers' credit card information. Wetherspoon has since replaced its website to ward against future hacking attempts.
Every Wetherspoon's pub has a unique, bespoke designed carpet, drawing on the inspiration of the location, building and name. They are produced by Axminster Carpets; and having more than the usual standard six colours, have to be partially hand made on old fashioned looms, costing up to £30,000, twice as much as stock designs.
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 and other income.
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- "On investegate.co.uk 15 March 2013"
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- "Open for business: Wetherspoon’s first Irish pub serves its first customers". The Journal. 8 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
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- "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.
- "JD Wetherspoon loses data of over 650,000 customers in cyberattack". ZDNet. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
- 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