“We’re only as good as our last pint” (Tim Martin)
Wetherspoon is a very well known brand (I’m sure you’ve heard of them). They now have just under 1,000 pubs, a chain of Lloyds No1 Late Dancing Bars and 50 Hotels with 1,100 rooms. They employ over 37,000 people, and in 2017 turned over £1.6 billion with a net profit of £56 million. They pay roughly £700 million a year in taxes to the treasury.
All Wetherspoon pubs are in the UK and Ireland, and many are converted from unconventional premises. Many are listed buildings such as theatres, cinemas, banks, post offices, churches and even a swimming pool.
They have pubs at 8 airports, 5 railway stations and one at the Beaconsfield Service Station. There was obvious uproar when it opened with people saying it would lead to drink driving and car accidents. I disagree with this. What’s to stop somebody going to the pub and drinking off the motorway exits and then getting back on it?
I think the businesses already located at these service stations and charge extortionate prices were worried about losing money because of the excellent value Wetherspoon offer for food and drinks. Their level of service is also better than most of these service stations who aren’t renown for customer services.
Each new Wetherspoon has an individual unique Axminster Carpet designed for them which reflects the history of the building and the local area, using up to six colours at a cost of over £30,000.
Each pub has two Real Ale Festivals each year in March and October to the delight of CAMRA members who get a discount whenever they go in a Wetherspoon and produce their card.
Wetherspoon is all down to an idea by the founder and Chairman Mr Tim Martin. and I’am sure many people would like to personally thank him for such amazing pubs.
Tim was born in Norwich on the 28th April 1955. When his father left the RAF, the family moved to New Zealand where Dad was offered a job with Guinness in Malaysia as Marketing Director. The family then moved to Northern Ireland for work.
Tim attended 11 different schools in total and moved to England to study Law at Nottingnam University and later qualified as a Barrister. He never practised Law and opened up his first pub in 1979 in Muswell Hill, London.
Here are a number of Wetherspoon pubs in South Devon…
The Vigilance Brixham
Talk of the Town Paignton
Issac Merrit Paignton
Green Ginger Torquay
Richard Hopkin Newton Abbot
Jolie Brise Teignmouth
Tim read an 1946 essay by George Orwell about the perfect pub, which inspired him to run his pubs like Orwells Utopian Dream, the essay stated that a pub should be,
– Free of Music where customers can talk
– Selling good range of Ales
– Offering cheap and nutrious food
– Friendly bar staff who know your name.
Orwell named this pub
“The Moon Under Water”
Wetherspoon now have 14 moon named pubs.
Tim decided to call his pub brand JD Wetherspoon. JD after Jefferson Davis “JD” Boss Hogg from Dukes of Hazzard, one of Tim’s early favourite TV shows. And Wetherspoon, after his hopeless male Geography Teacher in New Zealand who was a nice bloke but couldn’t control the class.
When you meet Tim you will notice how tall he is at 6’6″, with his famous silver mullet hair style Kiwi drawl.
Clothes aren’t important to Tim and his entire daily wardrobe with shoes adds up to around £80. He visits 15 different pubs a week when he’s on the road in his beaten up beloved Volvo.
On his visits he brings out his little black book that he carries and notes down staff smartness, customer rapport and pint pulling capabilities. This book is then brought out and used heavily in his weekly Big HR meetings.
He believes in his staff and spends up to £2 million a year on staff training. Tim lives near Exeter with his wife Felicity, his 4 children and his 3 cherished surf boards. He walks 10 km a day to relax and he believes his staff should be prepared for hardwork, persistence and fairness.
Wetherspoon comes under a lot of criticism with sceptics saying things like Microwaved cardboard tasting meals, treating staff badly, out of date beer, full of old scruffy men, destroying traditional pubs… This is, as Donald Trump says, is “FAKE NEWS”
Tim is worth £750 million, owns 26.6% of the business, has vision and is a real grafter and a kind family man, husband and Employer. It was nice to of met Tim one Boxing Day in The London Inn Torquay with my brother when we discussed his steak puddings on the Menu. Keep up the good work!