Wetherspoons has become a staple of the British high street with multiple pubs owned by the chain found throughout the UK. The first J D Wetherspoon pub opened in north London in 1979 and rapidly established itself as the place to go for a cheap drink. The chain now owns more than 800 pubs across the country and employs more than 42,000 people.
Despite the popularity of the pub, boozers are questioning how ‘Spoons keeps its prices so low, with many customers taking to the online forum, Reddit to demand answers to the question: “Why am I paying half the price for a pint in Wetherspoons compared to any pub anywhere else?”
One user, @puppy2010, explained the concept behind free houses: “Wetherspoons pubs aren’t tied to a brewery, meaning they aren’t tied to paying brewery’s prices for beer. Many other pubs are tied to the respective brewery, and tend to pay more for their beer as they cannot buy their beer from elsewhere.”
Another user, @nothingtoseehere____ explained Wetherspoons “owns pubs outright” to avoid being tied to controlled prices.
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Similarly, a Channel 5 documentary titled “Wetherspoons: How do they really do it?” explored how the chain gained ground on its rivals by being cheaper and more responsive to customer demands, and revealed owning pubs was one of its many secrets.
Another user, @ClaphamOmnibusDriver, joked about the chain “relying heavily on near-expiry beer” which they stated was an “urban myth”.
Social media users also speculated why Wetherspoons always had more of a quieter atmosphere than other pub chains with one user explaining not playing music or showing sporting events also helped keep prices down. Wetherspoons has previously revealed keeping costs down is not the only reason no music is played, but it creates a rather unique atmosphere for customers.
Users wrote: “They don’t have to pay royalties to Sky and BT or for music. This can cost pubs thousands.”
Last month the chain warned it was increasing prices by 7.5 percent which added 29p onto the cost of a pint and around 75p on food, which is reflected in the new pricing menu and was an increase to battle soaring food and energy costs.
However, there are chains closing this year with 19 UK pubs at risk, and over 20 restaurants being closed in the last few months. Last year, Wetherspoon announced it would be selling more than 30 pubs due to the chain struggling to compete with its pre-covid levels.