Is Wetherspoons a Franchise?

23/09/2018 08:00 | Start a business

is wetherspoons a franchise

Wetherspoon is one of the most recognisable pub brands in the UK. With just under 1,000 pubs situated all over the country, Wetherspoon is frequented by young and old alike. But is Wetherspoon a franchise?

Wetherspoons background

J D Wetherspoon plc, branded as Wetherspoon, was founded in 1979 by Tim Martin when he opened Marlers Bar in Barnett aged just 24. Since then the Wetherspoon brand has grown from strength to strength and includes the chain of Lloyds No.1 bars as well around 40 Wetherspoon hotels. Now employing more than 30,000 members of staff, Wetherspoon is one of the largest pub chains in the UK.

Wetherspoon appeals to a wide range of customers thanks to innovative promotional campaigns linked to the food thats served throughout the week. Offers including the Steak Club on Tuesday, the Curry Club on Thursday, and Fish and Chips on Friday keeps customers coming back for more.

Keen to cash in on the lucrative breakfast market, Martin made the groundbreaking decision in 2005 to open all his bars at 9 am. The gamble paid off with three-quarters of a million breakfasts now being sold each week. The breakfast market is so profitable in fact that from 2010 all Wetherspoon pubs have opened their doors at 7 am.

Wetherspoons franchise

Its easy to see why becoming part of the Wetherspoon brand is so appealing. But is Wetherspoon a franchise? The simple answer is no. Each branded outlet has an individual name, with the name Wetherspoon prominently displayed. Each Wetherspoon has a Pub Manager appointed who is responsible for the overall success of the branch.

However, if you want the position of Pub Manager and the responsibility that goes with this role, youll need to join Wetherspoon as a shift or kitchen manager. This is because Wetherspoon believes that, due to the importance of the role, its essential that the Pub Manager knows the business inside out. It also provides employees with an excellent opportunity to progress through the ranks.

And the training and staff development doesnt end there. As a Pub Manager, you can choose to move onto a role in area management or take on a senior management or specialist role at head office.

The story behind Wetherspoons success

Much of the success of Wetherspoon is down to the founder, Tim Martin. His commitment to staff training and development has resulted in the turnover of bar managers being around 10%, which is far below the industry average.

The fact that most bar managers stay with Wetherspoon for eight to 10 years validates Martins approach to training. By investing heavily in staff development, he is rewarded by loyal, well-trained employees offering customers high-quality service, which results in increased profit.

And it's fair to say that Martin is a people person, which influences the way he runs the whole business. He claims to know more than 1,000 managers and bar staff by name helping to make his workforce feel appreciated and respected. When Martin was once asked what success meant, he answered, "Seeing the part-time barmaid I knew in Windsor become pub manager in Swindon."

Pub and bar franchises in the UK

You may not be able to become a franchisee with Wetherspoon, but there are other pub and bar franchise investments that you could consider.

Marstons Pubs

With over 130 years of experience in the industry, Marstons is a popular, nationwide pub chain. Although only 40 of Marstons 1,700 UK pubs currently operate as franchises, the business is always looking for individuals who demonstrate the drive and ambition necessary to run a franchise. Franchisees benefit from the company's identifiable brand, excellent training and support schemes and the industry connections Marston's has spent decades nurturing.

Another great benefit is the purchasing power that being a Marstons franchisee offers. The savings the chain makes when buying stock is passed on to its franchisees. Thanks to the geographical spread of the chain, there is bound to be an opportunity near you. This allows you to use your awareness of the area to meet the needs of the customer base. Finally, the Marstons franchise model is a tried and tested approach, that has been refined and adapted over the years to meet the needs of franchisees.

Though Marstons has a great deal to offer potential franchisees, theyll only work with a very specific type of individual. Running a pub requires certain characteristics and skills that not everyone possesses. When vetting potential franchisees, Marstons are looking for charismatic leaders who demonstrate determination, hard work and an ability to communicate.


Whereas Marstons Pubs are based on the traditional British drinking establishments, Veeno is taking a different approach. Veenos business concept is based on creating a "gateway to Italian culture", and it has spent the last few years setting up Italian style wine cafs around the country. So far, this concept has proven to be a success, and the business has grown by a whopping 800% in the last three years.

As the first wine bar franchise of its kind, Veeno has created a unique space for itself in an extremely competitive market. By emphasising authenticity and staying true to its original aim of providing a genuine Italian aperitivo experience, Veeno has established itself as an alternative to the traditional British pub. It has achieved this by carefully vetting its franchisees, using strict criteria to select locations for its stores and always maintaining high standards.

One of the most exciting aspects of the Veeno franchise model is its ambition. Though the business has spread quickly across the UK, there are still plenty of opportunities to open new bars, and Veeno hopes to expand abroad in the coming years. With plans to open new establishments in Ireland, Scandinavia and the Far East, its clear that the Veeno franchise does not suffer from a lack of vision or determination.


If the answer to the question is Wetherspoon a franchise? has disappointed you, then perhaps you should take a look at the Marstons Pubs or Veeno opportunity. Just like Wetherspoon, they offer excellent training and development and give you the chance to be your own boss.

Other recent articles


post a comment

Characters remaining: 250