Wetherspoons

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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
Key people
Tim Martin (Chairman)
John Hutson (CEO)
Products Public houses and hotels
Revenue £1,595.2 million (2016)[1]
£109.7 million (2016)[1]
Profit £51.2 million (2016)[1]
Number of employees
37,000 (2017)[2]
Website www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk

J D Wetherspoon plc, branded as Wetherspoon's, is a pub company in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Founded in 1979 by Tim Martin, the company owns just under 1,000 outlets, including the chain of Lloyds No.1 bars and the chain of Wetherspoon hotels. With its headquarters in Watford, Wetherspoons is known for converting unconventional premises into pubs. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.[3]

History[edit]

Tim Martin opened his first pub in 1979, on Colney Hatch Lane in Muswell Hill, north London.[4] Many of the other early Wetherspoon pubs were also in the western part of Haringey. The name of the business originates from JD, a character in The Dukes of Hazzard, and Wetherspoon, the name of one of Martin's teachers in New Zealand.[5][6][7][8] Martin said, "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."[9]

During the 1990s, Wetherspoon began a policy of routinely closing its smaller or less profitable outlets, often—but not always—replacing them with larger premises close by. In 1998, Wetherspoon introduced the oversized pint glass to promote the "full pint".[10] This initiative was withdrawn, supposedly because customers were still asking for top-ups, but arguably because other pub chains did not follow its lead.[11]

In 2015, Wetherspoon 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".[12]

Food and drink[edit]

Weekly food promotions include the Steak Club on Tuesday, the Chicken Club on Wednesday, the Curry Club on Thursday and Fish and Chips on Friday. Wetherspoon claim to be "the only large pub firm which opens all its pubs early in the morning", serving breakfast and coffee. The full food menu is available well into the late evening.[13][14]

Wetherspoon 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.[15]

Properties and operations[edit]

Beckett's Bank in Leeds, its name reflecting the building's former use
The Picturedrome in Liverpool, a converted cinema

Many Wetherspoon pubs are conversions of existing buildings, including,

Many Wetherspoon properties are listed buildings.[16] Wetherspoon bars are situated in the passenger terminals of many UK airports, such as Doncaster Sheffield Airport, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Edinburgh Airport, Glasgow Airport, Gatwick Airport, Stansted Airport and Heathrow Airport, and in several main railway stations including London Victoria, London Liverpool Street, London Cannon Street, Leeds and Liverpool Lime Street.[17][18]

Wetherspoon pioneered non-smoking areas in pubs before the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005, The Smoking (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 and the Health Act 2006 in England and Wales became law in 2006.[19][20]

The first Wetherspoon's pub in Ireland was The Spinning Mill in Ballymena, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland, which opened in 2000. The Republic of Ireland's first Wetherspoon pub, The Three Tun Tavern, opened in Blackrock, County Dublin, in 2014.[21][22][23]

In 2014, Wetherspoon controversially opened a pub at the Beaconsfield motorway service area on the M40.[24]

Wetherspoon 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.[25]

In 2015, Wetherspoon bought the Grade II* Listed Art Deco State Cinema in Grays, Essex which had been under threat of damage from vandalism and water ingress for a number of years.[26]

Every Wetherspoon 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.[27]

Mags Thomson visited every Wetherspoon in Great Britain from 1994 to October 2015. She reached a total of 972 which included 80 that have subsequently closed.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Annual Results 2016" (PDF). J D Wetherspoon. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  2. ^ "J D Wetherspoon Pubs & Hotels – Our People". jdwetherspoon.co.uk. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  3. ^ Martin, Tim (14 September 2012). "Good News Britain: We're putting the 'pub' in 'public'". The Daily Telegraph. London. 
  4. ^ "Refurb for Tim Martin's first outlet". Property News. Morning Advertiser. Retrieved 26 February 2010. 
  5. ^ Cumming, Ed (6 August 2017). "How Britain fell for Wetherspoon’s" – via www.theguardian.com. 
  6. ^ Refurb for Tim Martin's first outlet Morning Advertiser, 1 September 2005
  7. ^ The Real Pub Landlord The Observer, 3 March 2002
  8. ^ "The real pub landlord". The Guardian. London. 3 March 2002. Retrieved 26 February 2010. 
  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. ^ "The Investment Column: Wetherspoon dips in growth glitch". Business, News. London: The Independent. 11 March 1998. Retrieved 26 February 2010. 
  11. ^ "Full Pint Issue 6". CAMRA North London. 28 August 2002. Archived from the original on 4 June 2008. Retrieved 26 February 2010. 
  12. ^ "Pub chain pays damages over traveller race bias". London Evening Standard. 18 May 2015. p. 10. 
  13. ^ "Wetherspoon toasts record sales". BBC News. 11 September 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  14. ^ "Quality Food, Great Value – Food Menu – J D Wetherspoon". jdwetherspoon.co.uk. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  15. ^ "Wetherspoons spring festival focuses on British hops". Cask Marque. 2 February 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  16. ^ Woodger, Andrew (2 July 2010). "Suffolk to get Wetherspoon's pub". BBC News. 
  17. ^ "First look: See inside the new £2 million North Western pub at Lime Street". Liverpool Echo. 3 July 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  18. ^ "JD Wetherspoon To Open 900th Pub Next Week". Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  19. ^ "Wetherspoon pubs ban smoking". BBC News. 24 January 2005. Retrieved 2 June 2008. 
  20. ^ Tran, Mark (24 January 2005). "Wetherspoon pubs to ban smoking". guardian.co.uk. London. Retrieved 2 June 2008. 
  21. ^ "Open for business: Wetherspoon’s first Irish pub serves its first customers". The Journal. 8 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  22. ^ Ciarán Hancock (30 June 2014). "Guinness pulled from menu at Wetherspoon’s Blackrock pub". The Irish Times. 
  23. ^ "Video: First look inside Ireland's first Wetherspoon pub". Independent.ie. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  24. ^ "JD Wetherspoon opens first motorway pub". The Independent. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  25. ^ "JD Wetherspoon to open hotel, bar at homeless hostel in Dublin". The Irish Times. 15 December 2014. 
  26. ^ "State Cinema set to become a Wetherspoons pub". Thurrock Gazette. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  27. ^ The secret life of Wetherspoon’s freaky carpets The Guardian 10 January 2016
  28. ^ "One woman's 21-year odyssey to visit every Wetherspoon's". BBC. 31 October 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 

External links[edit]