The article on the website on 15 August 2023 was headlined: “Wetherspoons delivers a major blow to punters wanting a cheap bite to eat as it hikes food prices by 13% – how much has YOUR favourite meal gone up by?”
JDW explained the article went on to review the pricing of a number meals at the company’s Oxted Inn pub in Oxted, Surrey, but contained a number of factual mistakes.
The price of a ham and cheddar cheese panini was stated correctly as £5.53 but failed to notify readers that this price also included a free soft drink while the cost of an all-day brunch with an alcoholic drink was stated as £11.11 when the correct price is £10.82.
Reference was also made to “pint prices at the chain’s airport and certain city pubs were revealed to have rocketed to an eye-watering £7”.
While one draught pint product (Leffe Blonde) has increased in price to over £7 at one pub in London (the Moon under Water, Leicester Square), no other draught product has and JDW said “it is misleading and inaccurate to state that Wetherspoon ‘pint prices’ are now £7.00 in city pubs”.
The article also contained the following statement from Martyn James who is described as “an independent consumer champion”: “People go to Wetherspoons because it’s cheap. It remains to be seen if it will retain its customers now it’s the same price as everywhere else.”
JDW stated this statement is incorrect and argued Wetherspoon is not “the same price as everywhere else”.
The managed pubs operator added that while its prices vary from location to location, a price survey carried out by the company’s pubs into pricing at their nearest competitors in April 2023 showed the competitors’ drinks prices were, on average, 43% more expensive than JDW and competitors’ food prices were, on average, 33% more expensive.
JDW chairman Tim Martin said: “Wetherspoon has identified a number of errors in recent Daily Mail articles. It is important for the press to maintain a reputation of providing accurate information for the public.”
Earlier this month, JDW accused the Daily Mail of “hyperbole and exaggeration” about the number of pubs the operator had placed on the market.
The article in the newspaper was published on 1 August and was republished online in the Mail Online after JDW argued there were errors in the article and these were amended in the republication.
JDW said the most recent announcement had been prepared solely to provide additional information to the shareholders of JD Wetherspoon, to meet the requirements of the FCA’s Disclosure and Transparency Rules.