It’s no secret that Wetherspoon is the UK’s most popular pub chain. Wales alone has 51 establishments selling its pints and meals at low prices.
New Wetherspoons TV Show: How Do They Do It? on Channel 5 went behind the scenes to find out what makes the channel so successful. The program covered their behind-the-bar and in-the-kitchen business tips that made it such a profitable business.
The program revealed how founder Tim Martin looked at American success stories such as Walmart and McDonald’s to identify how he could make the business work to his advantage. Hours of operation were highlighted as a great source of income and in 2002 the business started opening early for breakfast. Today, it is estimated that each chain serves approximately 1,000 breakfasts per week.
Thanks to its success, the chain is constantly able to outperform its competitors, allowing more tricks to save money and keep its prices low.
Secrets of the bar
Wetherspoon pubs are free houses and are not required to purchase from specific breweries. Unlike most public houses, by owning the buildings, Wetherspoon is able to seek the best price for its alcohol. The low prices allow for higher alcohol sales, which in turn makes the venue a popular location for vendors, who then provide better details for the business.
Bar staff also go through strict pouring and serving techniques to save money. Staff learn to pour a pint with a specific 5% head, which weighs a certain amount, allowing for minimum waste and maximum profit. Staff learn how much more waste equals less profit for the business, which is not in their best interest.
Additionally, you may notice when ordering a spirit that you are asked “double or single?” ”And never“ single or double? ”. The program explained the psychology behind this by giving you the option they want you to choose first, hoping you choose the first one that is offered to you. Staff learn to “try to add an item to every order” because their bonus would be generated on the amount of money you made for the business.
A former bartender explains: “We say the double word so that it stays in the head first. It works most of the time.
Secrets of the kitchen
Wetherspoon explained how their initial strategy was to incentivize to order. For example, rather than asking “Do you want onion rings with this?” They would ask, “Do you want six or 12 onion rings?”
But this strategy was abandoned in 2015 in favor of speed and meal offers and “club initiatives” which have become so popular.
Participants will notice a different “club” night, such as a curry club, steak club and fish club, etc. promoted every day in the chain. These club nights offer cheaper prices to attract people.
However, the program confirmed that popular curries are not made-to-order and instead are microwave-ordered curries.
Since starting to serve breakfasts, the chain has also been able to wholesale frozen breakfast items in large quantities, creating cheaper shopping opportunities.
However, in order for all the food to be sold, chefs are under strict time constraints in getting the food to their customers. Between the time of ordering and the time of table setting, chefs should not take more than 10 minutes. This quick turnaround is also facilitated by the use of microwave meals.
In addition to the strategies mentioned above, Wetherspoon monitors the prices of other sites around them to make sure they have the lowest prices. However, since all prices are location dependent, you are unlikely to find an item for the same price in every Wetherspoon location.