|Public limited company|
|Traded as||LSE: JDW|
|Headquarters||Watford, England, UK|
|Tim Martin (Chairman)|
John Hutson (CEO)
|Products||Public houses and hotels|
|Revenue||£1,818.8 million (2019)|
|£131.9 million (2019)|
|£72.8 million (2019)|
Number of employees
J D Wetherspoon plc (branded variously as Wetherspoon or Wetherspoons, and colloquially known as Spoons) is a pub company based in Watford, England, operating in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Founded in 1979 by Tim Martin, the company operates nearly 900 pubs, including the chain of Lloyds No.1 bars, and a growing number of Wetherspoon hotels. Wetherspoon 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.
Tim Martin opened his first pub in 1979 in Colney Hatch Lane in Muswell Hill, 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.
During the 1990s, Wetherspoon began a policy of routinely closing its smaller or less profitable outlets, often 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 This initiative was withdrawn, supposedly because customers were still asking for top-ups, but arguably because other pub chains did not follow its lead.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 deleted all of its social media profiles. 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.
Wetherspoons have objected to the VAT rates on food and drink sales in pubs and restaurants in the United Kingdom, and the fact they are higher than those paid by supermarkets. When VAT was temporarily reduced from 20% to 5% during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Wetherspoons was one of several chains to pass some of that saving to customers.
Properties and operations
Wetherspoon bars are situated in the passenger terminals of many UK airports, including Doncaster Sheffield Airport, Edinburgh Airport, Gatwick Airport, Glasgow Airport, Heathrow Airport, and Stansted Airport, as well as at several main railway stations, including Leeds, Liverpool Lime Street, London Cannon Street, London Liverpool Street, and London Victoria, with a new bar due to open in Glasgow Central. The main station buildings at Aberystwyth railway station were converted to a Wetherspoon pub Yr Hen Orsaf The Old Station and received a National Railway Heritage Award in 2003.
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 Northern Ireland was The Spinning Mill in Ballymena, County Antrim, which opened in 2000. The first Wetherspoon pub in the Republic of Ireland, The Three Tun Tavern, opened in Blackrock, County Dublin, in 2014. Another opened in Cork City in 2015.
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, the company chose Wolverhampton as 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. In July 2019, they bought the former carbon nightclub in Galway city with the plan of opening a bar and restaurant. 
The firm — whose founder is a strong supporter of Brexit — replaced champagne with British sparkling wines and Australian wines on 9 July 2018. The firm claims the goal of this is to sell cheaper drinks and to get cheaper alcohol to its two million weekly customers.
In mid-March 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, the government initially advised members of the public to 'socially distance' and avoid areas like pubs, clubs, restaurants and gyms. As a result many pub chains closed. However, Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin rejected the government's advice and refused to close a single pub, saying that his instinct was that "closure won’t save lives but will cost thousands of jobs". The government went on to order the closure of all pubs from 21 March. Martin was later reported to have refused to pay its 43,000 employees for the period of closure until the furlough costs had been reimbursed by the Government, unlike other national chains which were covering the costs up front, and encouraged staff to find employment elsewhere, such as the supermarket Tesco. The majority of staff were placed on the Government furlough scheme after its announcement. The Wetherspoon group later suggested that Martin's statement had been reported misleadingly, and said that staff had been paid every week during the closure.
Wetherspoon also told its suppliers in March it would not pay them until its 874 pubs were allowed to reopen after the coronavirus lockdown.
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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.
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- "JD Wetherspoon opens first motorway pub". The Independent. 21 January 2014. 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 News. 31 October 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
- "National museum part of £7m city Wetherspoon plan". wolverhampton.gov.uk. 13 December 2018.
- "Wetherspoon to replace champagne with British sparkling wines in the run-up to Brexit". The Independent. 13 June 2018.
- Wetherspoons boss says UK pubs will stay open as long as possible The Guardian 20 March 2020
- "PM orders shutdown of all bars and restaurants". The Times. 21 March 2020. p. 1.
- Coronavirus: Millionaire Wetherspoon’s boss tells staff to consider working for Tesco The Independent 24 March 2020
- "JD Wetherspoons Corrects Media Reports On Staff Pay And Reopenings". MorningStar. 7 May 2020. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
- "JD Wetherspoon refuses to pay suppliers until lockdown ends". The Guardian. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
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