|Public limited company|
|Traded as||LSE: JDW|
|Tim Martin (Chairman)|
John Hutson (CEO)
|Products||Public houses and hotels|
|Revenue||£1,660.8 million (2017)|
|£128.5 million (2017)|
|£56.1 million (2017)|
Number of employees
J D Wetherspoon plc, branded as Wetherspoon, is a pub company in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Founded in 1979 by Tim Martin, the company operates around 900 outlets, including the chain of Lloyds No.1 bars and a growing number of Wetherspoon hotels. With its headquarters in Watford, Wetherspoon is known for converting unconventional yet attractive premises into pubs. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.
Tim Martin opened his first pub in 1979, in Colney Hatch Lane in Muswell Hill, north London. 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. 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."
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". This initiative was withdrawn, supposedly because customers were still asking for top-ups, but arguably because other pub chains did not follow its lead.
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".
On 16 April 2018, Wetherspoon announced that it was deleting all of its social media profiles. In announcing the decision, chairman Tim Martin cited the "current bad publicity surrounding social media, including the trolling of MPs and others" as a reason for the decision.
Food and drink
Weekly food promotions include the Steak Club on Tuesday, the Chicken Club on Wednesday, the Curry Club on Thursday, Fish and Chips on Friday and Brunch on Sundays. Wetherspoon claims 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.
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.
Properties and operations
Many Wetherspoon pubs are conversions of existing buildings, including:
- Theatres and cinemas: The Regal, Cambridge; The Ritz, Lincoln; The Playhouse, Colchester, The York Palace, Llanelli; 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 Hippodrome, March; The Plaza, Rugeley; The Capitol, Dundee; The Peter Cushing, Whitstable; The Gordon Highlander, Inverurie; The Caley Picture House, Edinburgh; The Clifton Cinema, Sedgley; The Palladium, Llandudno; The Picture House, Colwyn Bay; The Montagu Pyke, formerly The Marquee Club, Charing Cross Road; The Art Picture House, Bury; The Moon Under Water, Manchester; The Picture House, Stafford; The York Palace, Llanelli.
- 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; The Archibald Simpson, Aberdeen; The Counting House, Dundee; The Bank Statement, Swansea.
- Post offices: The Wheeping Ash, St Neots; The Penny Black, Bicester; The Last Post, Paisley, Southend; Loughton; Humphrey Bean, Tonbridge; The Narrows, Abingdon; The Arnold Machin, Newcastle-under-Lyme; The Poste of Stone, Stone; Sandford House, Huntingdon; The Last Post, Beeston; The William Webb Ellis, Twickenham; The Postal Order, Blackburn; The College Arms, Peterborough, The Postal Order, Crystal Palace; The Wilfred Owen, Oswestry; The Exchange, Banbury.
- Swimming pools: Rawson Spring, Sheffield.
- Churches: The Man in the Moon, Newport; The Church House, Wath-upon-Dearne; Chapel An Gansblydhen, Bodmin; The West Kirk, Ayr; The Black Bull Inn, Bangor; The Earl of Zetland, Grangemouth; The Samuel Peto, Folkestone; The Old Chapel, Darwen; George's Meeting House, Exeter.Nine Arches, Earlestown;
Many Wetherspoon properties are listed buildings. 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, Aberdeen Airport and Heathrow Airport, and in several main railway stations including London Victoria, London Liverpool Street, London Cannon Street, Leeds and Liverpool Lime Street.
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.
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.
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. The first hotel opened by the company in the Republic of Ireland officially opened on the 17th of August 2018 in The Old Borough, Swords.
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.
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.
In 2018 Wetherspoon announced the City of Wolverhampton had been chosen for the location of the National JD Wetherspoon Museum. The existing pub would be expanded to take in the whole former Co-Op Department Store, to include a hotel and gift shop.
The firm — whose founder is a strong supporter of Brexit — replaced champagne with British sparkling wines and Australian wines on 9 July 2018. The goal of the firm is to sell cheaper drinks and to get cheaper alcohol to its two million weekly customers.
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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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- "Open for business: Wetherspoon's first Irish pub serves its first customers". The Journal. 8 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- Ciarán Hancock (30 June 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
- "One woman's 21-year odyssey to visit every Wetherspoon's". BBC. 31 October 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
- "National museum part of £7m city Wetherspoon plan". 13 December 2018.
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