back to article UK pub chain Wetherspoons' last call: ♫ Just a spoonful of Twitter – let's pull social media down ♫

There's only one reason to head to cheap 'n' cheerful UK pub chain Wetherspoons and it is about to be taken away. No, we're not talking about the cheap beer, ever-shrinking menu options, or politically nuanced beer mats. As any 'Spoons aficionado will testify, the main reason to patronise this most functional of drinking …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Or maybe....

    ...they did a bit of maths, realised that paying thousands and thousand of pounds for a team of people to post pointless stuff day in day out was a complete waste of money.

    And of course they still will have their own app and website to push out promotions.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Or maybe....

      Or the social media bloke from the EU that they had on Twitter and Facebook finally couldn't cope with so much idiocy per square mile and packed their bags and went somewhere else.

    2. fnusnu

      Re: Or maybe....

      And also the amount of wasted time and money the response to the fake 'no poppies' tweet required...

    3. djstardust

      Re: Or maybe....

      Great idea and hopefully the start of a trend.

      I'm a DJ, and more and more people now come up for a request and shove a phone in my face with their track on Deezer, Apple Music etc. I just completely ignore them until they actually speak to me.

      The whole issue with smartphones and social media is creating a generation of people who won't communicate face to face. this is a problem for the future of society.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Or maybe....

        "The whole issue with smartphones and social media is creating a generation of people who won't communicate face to face. this is a problem for the future of society."

        This is by design. If people talked to each other, they could form groups and collectives, and work together to publicly object to poverty, abuse, tyrannical governments....

        Instead we have sheeple complaining into their personal void of twatter/fookwitbook/instatwat that counts for nothing.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Or maybe....

          Whose design?

          The Illuminati?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Confirmed

            <meme courtesy of my 10 yr old>

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Or maybe....

        Yep, how much traffic is lost by forced Facebook logins. I see that and go elsewhere....

      3. TWB

        Re: Or maybe....

        Although I concur with nearly all of your comment, I wonder if people shove their phones in your face as it might be easier than trying to shout/say "have you got xxxxxxx by zzzzzzz" and have the ensuring discussion above the sound of your loud music (presuming it is loud - I've never come across a quiet 'sound system')

    4. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Or maybe....

      I love nothing more than being a self-satisfied pedant on the El Reg comments section. Never found a use for Facebook though.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I guess he's taking back control ....

    in his own way ....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I guess he's taking back control ....

      Aha! You means it's a Wexit? Or is that Twexit? Fexit? Smexit? Er...

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I guess he's taking back control ....

        Smexit. Definitely.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: I guess he's taking back control ....

          Not smegsxit. That's what you get when you fall asleep with it still in.

          1. big_D Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: I guess he's taking back control ....

            That will be difficult for the AI to say...

            Smeee

            Smeeee

            Smeeeee

            Smeeeeg

            Smeeeegxit

            There, I did it sir!

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: I guess he's taking back control ....

              It's a small, off-duty Czechoslovakian traffic warden!

              Anyway, I can't hang around. I'd better take the penguin for a walk.

            2. The Dogs Meevonks

              Re: I guess he's taking back control ....

              We're a Smeeeg xxxxxxit

              Yes, and a total one at that.

            3. dbastianello

              Re: I guess he's taking back control ....

              I could only say that say the above with a constipated looking face and then you can say "I did it".

  3. Korev Silver badge

    In what could in no way be perceived as a publicity stunt, he said: "It’s becoming increasingly obvious that people spend too much time on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and struggle to control the compulsion.

    You mean they're spending time doing things that don't involve going to "not as cheap as they used to be" pubs?

    If they were really concerned they could put up a Faraday cage around each branch to stop people posting to social media from their pubs...

    1. James 51 Silver badge
      Pint

      How would people be able to text their order to the person who actually managed to make it to the bar while they are on their way over?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Is Wetherspoons that popular that one can't see the carpet anymore?

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          That's just because of the lowest bid contractor cleaners.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            lowest bid contractor cleaners

            Should have got the Eastern Europeans in to do it. Just as cheap but they do a better-than-half decent job.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: lowest bid contractor cleaners

              I spent 25 years working intermittently in the same large office building. When I started there the cleaners were predominantly local and of native ancestry. Over the years as contracts were let and renewed or not renewed the predominant ancestral group was successively locally resident asian, bussed in african and then eastern european, presumably according to which grouping was most willing to be exploited for starvation wages and where the contractor tended to find their victims.

    2. rmason Silver badge

      @Korev

      I feel this has gone over your head somewhat.

      They don't care what randoms post on social media. That's not what this is about.They simply want to stop paying people to respond to the types that tweet to /post on company social media accounts. They (almost exclusively) fall into two categories:

      1 - Trolls, people taking the piss and hoping for a bit of social media fame.

      2 - People with a complaint who either can't be arsed to phone/email or already have, didn't like the answer they got, and are hoping the complaint being public will change things.

      Having a large presence on social media isn't cheap, and they are realising/hoping it's just an huge waste of money.,

  4. wolfetone Silver badge

    Tim Martin. So convinced that Wetherspoons is the defacto pub chain in the UK, delivering quality refreshment to the good people of Britain, he decides to spend his time in his local Greene King pub.

    1. gv

      Given the choice, I think most people would do likewise.

      1. frank ly Silver badge

        He has a duty to study the competion, often.

        1. chivo243 Silver badge
          Happy

          @frank ly

          As a chef (many years ago) I visited many of the competitors, often. Often with my meal being comp'd too!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "he decides to spend his time in his local Greene King pub."

      He also visits a least 2 Wetherspoons a week, mainly incognito.

      Also I chatted to Noddy Holder in a Bathams...when he was busy advertising Banks' Bitter.

    3. ravenviz

      I like to spend my spare time away from the office!

  5. Warm Braw Silver badge
    Coat

    Ever-shrinking menu options

    Yet they've managed to drive a steak into the heart of social media...

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Ever-shrinking menu options

      Maybe they need to curry someone's favour

    2. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

      Re: Ever-shrinking menu options

      Souper decision, in my opinion!

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Ever-shrinking menu options

        "Souper decision, in my opinion!"

        Gazpacho?

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Ever-shrinking menu options

          Will they still employ someone to clean out the soup dispensers, though?

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Ever-shrinking menu options

            Off course they would as......

            "The only reason they don't give this job to the scuttters is that they have a better union than us."

        2. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

          Re: Ever-shrinking menu options

          @Prst. V.Jeltz

          Gazpacho?

          Damn right!

        3. The Dogs Meevonks

          Re: Ever-shrinking menu options

          'Gazpaco'

          I wanted to complain on twitter about the Gazpacho soup my local Weatherspoons served me... it was completely cold and I had to ask 3 times for it to be sorted out.

          1. illuminatus

            Re: Ever-shrinking menu options

            Yes, Arnold. Disgraceful service.

    3. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Ever-shrinking menu options

      Needs must, when the chips are down.

      1. The Jon

        Re: Ever-shrinking menu options

        Don't be taken in by this: it's a Scam-pi, chips, peas and tartare sauce.

    4. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Ever-shrinking menu options

      You say steak, but it's mostly gristle

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I suspect the real reason ...

    is he's trying to dissociate himself from certain things he's said in the past. I note his reasoning involves "trolling" of MPs. Which undoubtedly does happen. However being held to account for you views and actions isn't trolling, but democracy. Something Mr. Martin has made great play of previously.

  7. Juan Inamillion

    I, for one...

    ...enjoy the range of beers they serve and especially getting 3 pints from a tenner (living in London this is Very Important).

    There's always a glorious hubbub of voices not having to compete with music (for which I'll go to see a live band elsewhere) or slot machines (I just don't).

    If that makes me sound like a grumpy old git well I don't think I am, I'd just rather sit and talk complete shite with friends and family!

    YMMV.

    1. Stork Bronze badge

      Re: I, for one...

      3 for a tenner! what horror! I guess it dates me quite a bit, but the Flying Picket in Liverpool served pints for €1.20 or so when I was there in the mid 90es...

      1. Juan Inamillion

        Re: I, for one...

        You were lucky... I was in a pub just outside Durham about a year ago, for a cheeky pint in the afternoon. First time I'd ever been there.

        The pint was £1.85.

        I smiled until I opened my wallet to discover I only had a £50 note (my 'emergency money')...

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: I, for one...

      In Manchester just head for Sinclairs in the remodlled* Shambles Square: lovely Sammy Smiths for well under £2, unless you want lager in which case you deserve to pay more.

      * Sponsored by the IRA. Those visionary architects that Mr Martin seems to want back in business.

  8. ServerSauna

    Maybe a bit more to worry about...

    https://twitter.com/carolecadwalla/status/985793231295311872

    1. paulf Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Maybe a bit more to worry about...

      From the tweet linked by @ServerSauna: "Tim Martin, Wetherspoon's chairman, also a significant donor to Vote Leave....currently under investigation for possible overspending and data sharing. "

      I'm sure shutting down and deleting the social media accounts is completely unrelated to this revelation.

      1. nsld

        Re: Maybe a bit more to worry about...

        I guess Tim hasn't realised the interwebs are forever.

        1. ravenviz

          Re: Maybe a bit more to worry about...

          interwebs are forever

          Perhaps, but we are only in the first innings. Who knows where it will go?

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: Maybe a bit more to worry about...

            True , in a hundred years perhaps humanity will realise that storing all data and metadata really isnt worth it , when most of the worlds energy resources are powering data centres that are covering most of the dry land and heating up the atmosphere ....

            all to save everyones pictures of their dinners

      2. Paul Shirley

        Re: Maybe a bit more to worry about...

        The voters Tim convinced/reinforced with his saturation Leave campaigning are likely to start asking awkward questions as Tim continues to back away from what he said back then.

        If still under investigation the last minute pretence of balance (which simply filled equal space with the worst Remain advocates he could find) won't get him off the hook and neither will revising his public position.

        Dodging the shitstorm about to rain on his mullet from social media is not surprising and has bugger all to do with what he claims.

  9. David Gosnell

    I might have broken their Facebook

    The announcement came within moments of my posting on their Facebook page, regarding a combination of problems with their mobile ordering app and non-responsive customer services. Coincidence? Oh, probably. Hoping this might mean they actually have some staff to reassign to aforementioned non-responsive customer services. Oh, probably not.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wetherspoons

    Ancient Druid word for 'stomach pump'.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Wetherspoons

      I thought that was the question one asked oneself when one encountered their soup of the day... whether spoons would survive being dipped into the foul suspension before one.

  11. andy 103
    WTF?

    Wetherspoons promotions??

    WTF are Wetherspoons **promotions**? It's the only place where you can buy a drink or meal for less than going to Bargain Booze and doing it yourself!

    If you're the sort of person who needs 10% off a pint of piss tasting floor cleaner that costs £1.40 to begin with, you have bigger problems than "missing out" on such offers.

    1. juice Bronze badge

      Re: Wetherspoons promotions??

      Hey, those 10%s add up, especially on a Friday night ;)

      As to the quality of the beer, I really don't recognise that description. Wetherspoons may prioritise quantity over quality - after all, they are essentially the McDonalds of the pub world. And a friend who works in the trade was very disparaging of the way they handle cask ales.

      But generally, I've found the beer quality to be more than acceptable. Which is better than I can say for some of the other local pubs; I got into the habit several years ago of only drinking lager at said venues, as the ale invariably tastes of line cleaner (or worse!), regardless of how busy it is, or the time of day.

      Also, at least part of Wetherspoon's success is down to the way they've managed to get cheap beer combined with cheap food delivered quickly - these days, they're even offering free tea and coffee refills!

      I go to quite a few urban music festivals, and it's amusing to wander into the local Wetherspoons the morning after the night before, as it's generally rammed with a variety of hungover festival-goers trying to hold a fork steady enough to make an effort at eating a full english breakfast ;)

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Wetherspoons promotions??

        Qualtity of beer is a odd thing, I cringe at the amount of head that gets scraped off & poured away on virtually draft pint in Canada pulled (Not so sure about the US, but its weak as hell), any head that's left quickly evaporates leaving less than a full pint (& with 16 or 14 oz glasses that's even less than ideal).

        Anywayyyyyyyy....

        I came back to the UK in 2011 to see my dad & the beer was normal, came back the following year to arrange his funeral & the beer was flat, no head & tasted watery. This was all across the UK (If I commented I was told "Its because you have been away & got used to it over there" - My reply of it was perfectly fine last year when I was here fell on deaf ears).

        Weatherspoons & one pub in Romford had more life in the beer in it, than any other establishment.

        I've been back once since - Its still the same.

        PS A few places do do a burger & beer deal here, but its only as the days "Special".

  12. JDX Gold badge

    Non-story?

    If it's a non-story then you're gullible fools for covering it... a major company dropping all SM is significant.

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Non-story?

      Only if people gave two fucks what was actually said on said SM. Which, presumably, they didn't. Isn't 10,000 facebook followers what you get just for buying your first ad on the platform, to convince you it works?

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: Non-story?

        I don't follow it but people I do follow keep retweeting the local JDW drinking barn output. It's little more than announcing what's on the bar or what's coming soon. Experience taught me long ago the beer usually won't actually be there if I did make the trip, won't taste right anyway and the pubs I actually drink in keep tweeting much better beer lists that really will be on the bar, served by people I know.

        JDW dropping social media will be completely forgotten within a week.

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Non-story?

      Semi non-story, for many businesses an active social media presence is not very critical or as noted above be a net loss. This is a form of advertising that should evaluated on its own merits for one's specific situation.And the results will range from a presence being at best pointless to absolutely critical.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely the interesting bit is that they're also planning to drop all SM-based advertising. The accepted wisdom amongst the commercialati is that this is "brand presence", and hence business, suicide.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Can't come soon enough #gammon

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "which is not many considering how many of us have been known to flock through its doors"

    I think that's his point. £1.6B in sales must equate to a very large cusomer base but few social media lemmings.

    Social media is overblown marketing to most businesses, a waste of time and effort, not to say money.

    I'm not a 'friend' of any business from which I purchase in the true meaning of the word or that put forward by the non tax paying global US data whores.

  15. Ol'Peculier
    Pint

    It's a shame. The customer posts to their page (especially the complaints, which was usually most of them) were always a fun read. And the lack of empathy from their "social media" team was pretty dire.

    Most people would also keep moaning about their lack of Sunday roasts, with no engagement from JDW either.

    On another note, the one near me still has a FB page so it's not trickled down totally.

  16. deconstructionist

    dumped mine years ago never regerted it.

    Dumped facebook/twitter/reddit ages ago best thing I ever did , Also never ventured into snap-chat or any of the other vapid portals that exist for the mediocrity of our lives, I do things now rather than just post about what I want to do , or staging a photo to make it look like your funky and on trend.

    And it is brilliant for killing conversations you don't want to have.." dude I will face....." sorry not today "oh".

  17. Mage Silver badge
    Happy

    Brillaint

    Now can PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTERS with massive websites and IT budgets stop subsidising and promoting the so called Social Media Parasites too?

    BBC, RTE, C4 etc.

    ~

    Actually NO commercial entity should be using Facebook or Twitter for customer support. If they want to advertise on it that should on same basis as Billboards and especially the audited papers, magazines, TV and Radio. You'd never believe a paper's own claims of circulation. Maybe half of adverts paid for to Google are fraud. Who knows about Facebook?

    1. whileI'mhere

      Re: Brillaint

      Several years ago I was heartened to see the French media regulator tell the French public broadcaster's TV news guys to just stop advertising their Twitter ID on air, as it was de facto advertising for a commercial entity on the public airwaves, and other social media were available. They probably long since lost that battle, but an admirable stance, for sure.

  18. juice Bronze badge

    I do find it ironic

    That someone who used social marketing techniques to promote their political stance during Brexit (the Wetherspoons Manifesto - https://www.jdwetherspoon.com/tims-viewpoint/the-wetherspoon-manifesto) is now backing away from social media.

    In truth, I'm guessing that they've done a cost/benefit analysis of their social media efforts, and come to the conclusion that it's just not worth the cost overheads - it wouldn't be too surprising, given that they're in the high-volume/low-profit-margin.

    I've no idea how many people were in their social media team (half a dozen or so?), but I'm guessing the total overhead was enough to make a measurable impact on their balance sheet!

    The current hoo-haw around social media just gives them the chance to cut down on costs while maintaining the high moral ground and getting some free publicity. Win, win, win.

    So, pints all round?

  19. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    £2 pint of lager , and best of all - an app that prevents you queuing at the bar

    They have nailed the basics.

    Spoons can do no wrong imho

  20. Cosmo

    I think that more companies will start to do this

    Although I don't believe Mr. Martin's reasons for canning the social media accounts, I think that more companies will start to ease back on social media, as some companies appear to have to do more fire-fighting rather than doing anything useful.

    I remember last Easter when the Daily Mail went all in at the National Trust for not putting the word 'Easter' in their egg hunt. The poor person running their Twitter account just spent all Easter issuing the same response to the angry gammon who were threatening to boycott the National Trust.

    Since more websites now seem to have a live chat feature, I wonder if some companies might feel this was a less time-wasting option for them.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks like they are fighting back - note to the non tech management team - ensure you have disabled any backdoor entry to your Social Media accounts before you sack them ;)

    https://twitter.com/jdwtwats

  22. wobbly1
    Childcatcher

    where is the Twitter 12 step programme?

    social media causes problem usage? i think they may be concentrating on the wrong sector of their activities... plenty of problem drunks but teenagers intoxicated by excessive twitter usage and causing trouble... not seen this being a problem after the vertical drinking establishments close their doors on a friday night .

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: where is the Twitter 12 step programme?

      Oh the irony!

  23. ecofeco Silver badge

    for its awesome social media presence?

    That's about as motivating to me as a sharp stick in the eye.

  24. illuminatus

    POI?

    Wetherspoons were on social media?

    Who knew? Probably not most of their clientele.

    As it is, I couldn't really give a flying gnats weak, as I try very hard to avoid whichever variant of the Frog and Brexit they open in God-forsaken provincial towns. It just tends to make life slightly less...gammony.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Social media for High Street chains

    How long will it be before they go the way of Green (Shield) Stamps?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "As any 'Spoons aficionado will testify, the main reason to patronise this most functional of drinking houses is for its awesome social media presence."

    No, the main reason I go there is for the app. No need to go to the bar.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank goodness someone is making a stand against the Plague of social media - which is destroying privacy and turning everyone into zombie cattle.

  28. onefang Silver badge
    Headmaster

    "Wetherspoons has more than 44,000 Twitter followers and more than 100,000 followers on Facebook"

    Very minor correction needed, yes I know I'm late -

    "Wetherspoons had more than 44,000 Twitter followers and more than 100,000 followers on Facebook"

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