The Pub Conference

Tim Martin on JDW pubs: "It can go wrong in a flash"

By Oli Gross

- Last updated on GMT

Tim Martin on JDW pubs: "It can go wrong in a flash"

Related tags European union Germany

Tim Martin has insisted that JD Wetherspoon is not a brand and stressed that its position on the high street continues to evolve.

Speaking at MCA’s The Pub Conference, the company’s founder said it had pioneered many new trading elements that are now common to pubs.

He said: “If you go through 35 years it’s unlikely that it will keep exactly the same. We started serving coffee 15 years ago, then we started opening early for breakfast.

“I always discourage the use of the word brand - you can’t think like you’re a can of Coca-Cola. I always say you’re only as good as your last pint. If you have a really good pub in Muswell Hill for ten years, it can go wrong in a flash.

“It requires intensive work, management, hard work and new ideas. I don’t know why we do the job, it’s so damn difficult.”


Martin also used the opportunity to urge industry leaders to vote Leave in the upcoming EU referendum.

Delegates asked Martin if the industry could suffer a staffing crisis and problems striking trade deals with EU members in the event of a Leave majority in the referendum this week.

“There are a lot of scare stories about trade deals. But we will still be friends with the EU, and still trade with them,” he said.

“I’m on the liberal side. We should still have freedom of movement with countries within the EU. But future countries who want to join [the EU] and have right of residence here [in the UK] would have to be at the agreement of the UK government.

“It should be more like Australia, America, Singapore and New Zealand - where it’s a points based system.”

Martin has printed a total of 700,000 Brexit beer mats for his 920 Wetherspoon pubs - 200,000 of which criticise the International Monetary fund, and a further 500,000 attack chancellor George Osborne.

He continued: “Democracy and prosperity are interlinked - look at East Germany and West Germany, North and South Korea. When you institutionalise democracy you get a massive shot in the arm.

“The trouble with the EU is it is undemocratic. Power has been taken away by commissioners. You can’t elect them and you can’t eject them.

“The European laws are superior to our laws and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

The JDW founder said he has a 100% record with EU campaigning, after fighting against joining the Eurozone.

“I must be one of the few people speaking out. Most people think if you speak out you alienate 50% of your customers, but I‘ve already alienated most of my customers so it’s less of an issue.”

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