I was amazed to read that JD Wetherspoon has been named as Britain’s best pub operator for customer satisfaction. Now, my usual experience of Spoons has been that you put up with service that varies from just about adequate through to execrable in return for the low prices, wide choice and consistent offer. It’s a trade-off between one and the other. The same has been reported by many friends and other bloggers – there never seem to be enough staff, and unless it’s virtually deserted it’ll take you a long time. See here, for example.
Earlier this year, when I was out at lunchtime with work colleagues, so time was limited, but going elsewhere wasn’t really an option, I had to wait about fifteen minutes before even attracting the attention of a barperson. And a Spoons was the last pub I walked out of after despairing of ever getting served, when there only seemed to be one member of staff on duty, and a long, complicated drinks order from another customer was then followed by what seemed like it was going to be an even more time-consuming food order.
The only explanation I can think of is that amongst nationally recognisable pub chains there isn’t much competition – the best service is likely to be found in independently-run pubs.