JD Wetherspoon weathers recession
The UK pub chain JD Wetherspoon has unveiled plans to open 250 new pubs over the next five years, increasing its outlets by nearly one third.
This move bucks the current trend, but is scarcely turning the industry around: the British Beer and Pub Association estimated in July that more than 50 pubs were closing each week.
City analysts point to JD Wetherspoon's move into such markets as breakfasts and evening meals as key to the chain's success. The company says it now serves 1.5 meals per week, including 254,000 breakfasts and 75,000 curries.
Wetherspoon chair Tim Martin, who opened his first pub in 1969, yesterday told The Independent: "I think cappuccinos and breakfasts have been very important, as has a big concentration on real ale. Volumes of real ale are up around 17 per cent in the last few months."
The chain reportedly sold nearly three million pints during Wetherspoon's 19-day, bi-annual international real ale festival, which ended on 15 November. Martin cited brewer Greene King's Ruddles County Premium Ale as selling particularly well, adding: "We are also doing a range of micro-brewers' beers from all over Britain, and also from New Zealand and Canada."