Pub chain Wetherspoon will launch 18 new pubs and carry out major expansions of existing properties, creating 2000 jobs, so long as there are no more lockdowns, the company has said.
The company has unveiled an ambitious £145m investment plan which could start within weeks, according to the firm.
But this expansion, and further plans to grow the business, are conditional on the UK “opening back up again on a long-term basis”, the company’s founder, Tim Martin, said in a statement.
The first new pubs and extensions will be in towns and cities including Leeds, Birmingham, Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire, Sheffield, Felixstowe in Suffolk, Heswall on the Wirral, Dublin, Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthen and Glasgow.
‘Committed to our long-term investment’
Once all 75 projects in the pipeline are completed, Wetherspoon said it anticipates investing £750 million to open 15 new pubs and enlarging 50 existing pubs each year for 10 years, creating 20,000 new jobs.
Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin said: “Our immediate investment will provide work for architects, contractors and builders as well as result in 2,000 new jobs for staff in our pubs.
“We are geared up to start on the first projects within a few months.
“We are also committed to our long-term investment and job creation programme over the next decade.
“However, the investment is conditional on the UK opening back up again on a long-term basis, with no further lockdowns or the constant changing of rules.”
Large pub chains looking to snap-up struggling independents
Wetherspoon is among a handful of large pub companies thought to be planning on buying up small struggling pubs in the aftermath of the pandemic.
In a statement to investors in January, the company announced its intention to raise funds to be used “to facilitate the acquisition of new properties”.
It said the properties “are likely to be available at favourable prices, as a result of the pandemic” and that “it may be possible to achieve a higher-than-average return on capital on properties acquired in the next few years”.