Client 1: JD Wetherspoon
Pub chain JD Wetherspoon is one business that is thriving while many others are slowing down. The cheap booze on offer in its pubs appeals to consumers who are tightening their belts and gives the brand a competitive edge over other publicans.
This allows JD Wetherspoon an opportunism that other businesses can’t afford, and it expects to open at least 20 new pubs in the year from August 2008 to July 2009.
‘We do see these times as an opportunity to buy up more sites as land prices drop and more properties become available,’ says a JD Wetherspoon spokesman.
‘If the right site comes our way and fits in with our brand, we will go for it. I think that’s what sets us apart from other companies, which might not go for a listed building. We tend to think it’s more interesting to use these buildings.
‘It also allows the buildings to be reused,’ adds the spokesman. ‘Quite often these buildings, whether they are banks, theatres or museums, are really at the heart of these towns and cities, and are given a new lease of life.’
JD Wetherspoon’s opportunism and growth strategy means it’s on the look out for designers. ‘We don’t use in-house architects and we are always looking for new talent,’ says the spokesman.
‘Each pub is different in its own way. They each have their own identity, and to [create] that we use different architects each time.
‘We like to hear the architect’s point of view when it comes to our pubs. Obviously we give them a brief, but we leave it to them to interpret it.
‘Ever since we were established in 1979 we have used architects.’
How to bag this client: Make sure you have experience in refurbishing listed buildings, especially banks. Don’t turn your nose up at fit-outs in airports either