Music – Martin is an obvious music fan littering the conversation with reference to Kraftwerk, Captain Beefheart and Bob Dylan. But Wetherspoon’s are music free.
“We had music in our first pub but I took it out. It was impossible to get the volume right for the customers. The Stranglers were either too loud or too quiet!”
George Orwell – “In 1986 a Daily Telegraph journalist came to the opening of one of our pubs – an old car showroom. He mentioned that it had a lot of the elements of Orwell’s description of his ideal pub in his essay ‘Moon Under Water’. Victorian fittings, quiet enough to talk with no piano and a solid lunch for 3 shillings. It was the first I had ever heard of it. I thought that’s pretty good, that’s us then and we started naming some of our pubs ‘Moon Under Water’. The thing was that we had already started using Moon themes with some of our pubs called JJ Moons. Weird.”
Business Character – “Only certain people have the personality to become big business leaders. We see the Government encouraging people to set up on their own but it can be frightening, ruinous if you get it wrong. Growing a business is extremely demanding if like us you expand fast using debt. It is not everyone’s cup of tea.”
Retirement – “I like the Warren Buffet quote about ‘I hope to retire 5 years after I’m dead.’
Advice to aspiring bosses – “I have a line from Captain Beefheart on the wall of my office. ‘Keep on walking and don’t look back’. There is also the Bob Dylan line ‘Keep on keepin’ on like a bird that flew.’
Motorway Blues – “We opened at a service station off the M40 last year. I should have just kept listening to Autobahn by Kraftwerk instead! It is a struggle at the moment. We expected to get a lot of business from coach parties. But it hasn’t happened yet.”