JD Wetherspoons: A British obsession

JD Wetherspoons began life back in 1979 when Tim Martin opened a pub in North London. Fourteen years later Mr. Martin had 50 pubs on his books. Just a year after that he had 100 pubs. Fast Forward 6 years to 2000 and Tim had 400 pubs. Last year Tim Martin reached a whopping 800 pubs. Wetherspoons pubs offer affordable food, reasonably priced alcohol and a wide variety of hot drinks.

It’s easy to see why the format is so popular with the general public when you consider the current recession and our eagerness to save a few pennies here and there and it seems now price is a substitute for atmosphere as with most Wetherspoons pubs there is no music or ambiance. There is nothing but the sound of clinking cups and plates and the cacophony of noise from every other persons conversations which is just annoying enough to drive you to insanity.

On the face of it JD Wetherspoon is an extremely smart business model. Tim Martin did target churches and old shops to turn into pubs as they already had licences to serve alcohol. This made change of usage much easier. It also made property very cheap as people just wanted rid of derelict buildings and Councils would offer grants to improve and sustain original features of classic architecture. In the eyes of the government this was also great creating more job opportunities. All appears to sunshine’s and rainbows in this idyllic business. However, there is a dark side to this.

Whether or not this is something the general public are aware of or care about is irrelevant because its happening. There are pubs all across the country closing every day. There is a particular town in North Devon that now has two Wetherspoons run pubs. Since the first pub opened there I can recall five pubs that have permanently closed as well as probably 75% of the other pubs having changed hands on more than one occasion in that time. The idea that they can force their way into towns that are already struggling for trade due to the current financial slump and ‘slit the throats’ of the local publicans. In a metaphorical sense of course.

There is no doubt that this article will be met with a great deal of opposing views because it could be considered blasphemy because of how family friendly and cost effective it is but I urge you to consider the other side of this story.

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