Wetherspoon to create 2,000 jobs

THE FAST-GROWING pub chain JD Wetherspoon defied fears of a recession and a share price collapse yesterday, announcing that it would create 2,000 new jobs in 1999.

It plans to spend pounds 100m opening 80 new premises to add to the 306 it already owns. The new pubs will be sited in town and city centres.

The chairman Tim Martin, who founded the company 19 years ago, said: ``Since we opened our first pub we have traded in good and bad economic times and it hasn't made a lot of difference.''

Between April and September this year its share price halved, and has shown little sign of recovering since. Yesterday the shares closed down 1p at 175.5p.

Even so, Mr Martin seems to have found a winning formula in the highly competitive and fast changing market for Britain's pub drinkers.

While breweries are endlessly converting unfashionable and decaying licensed premises into a bewildering variety of themed drinking dens, Wetherspoon rarely buys pubs.

Instead, it converts buildings such as banks, post offices and cinemas into large free houses and serves food in them all day as well as drink.

Music and television are banned (the latter even during the World Cup), as are karaoke and quiz nights. All its pubs provide non-smoking areas and closed-circuit television to deter crime.

The chain is also willing to price beer aggressively and indulge in loss leaders. Next month about half of its premises will be selling a leading bitter at 99p a pint. Last month it put large posters up in Calais, the home of cheap beer, advertising the fact that two of its pubs near Leeds would be selling John Smith's Yorkshire bitter at 50p a pint.

The new jobs, a mixture of full and part-time posts, will include managers, bar workers and kitchen staff. The chain currently employs 7,900 staff. Its new premises will be opening in towns and cities in England, Scotland and Wales.

Mr Martin, aged 43, started the business as a young law graduate from Nottingham university, when he sold a flat to finance the purchase of a single north London pub. He believes that Wetherspoon could more than triple in size to run over 1,000.

``He senses that a lot of rival pubs are not particularly good, and there are still plenty of towns where we've never been heard of,'' said company spokesman Eddie Gershon.

``Our [pubs] are clean, safe and straightforward and we welcome everyone, from students to pensioners.''

But Wetherspoon's quest for new customers does not extend to what may be the most heavy drinking night in history - New Year's Eve, 1999. The company has already announced its pubs will shut at 8pm, allowing its staff to go off and celebrate.

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments