Monday, 21 July 2014

Address the cause, not the symptoms

Wetherspoon’s have often been discussed on here, and my view is that while I respect their business success and sometimes find them useful, especially for food, they’re not really my kind of pubs.

Once or twice a month I venture into one of my local Spoons to take advantage of their “meal deal” offer. Sadly, I’d say that on about one out of three occasions, I’m served with a pint that has to be returned because of cloudiness, or more rarely sourness.

Every time, the duff pint has been changed without demur. The fact I’ve usually bought it with a beard club voucher may help with that. But it does raise the question of why so many duff pints are being served up. It’s one thing to deal with customer complaints effectively and politely, but something else to make sure that customers aren’t given any reason to complain in the first place. And might customers who are less inclined to speak out end up struggling through a poor pint but then grumble to others about it afterwards?


  1. so lets get this right.

    you regularly dine in an establishment that frequently serves you rotten beer, never questioning whether the shoddiness extents to the kitchen?


  2. Spoons very tremendously. I haven't had a bad pint in ours, the Sir Henry Segrave, for years. Things improved dramatically about 5 years ago when new management committed to selling decent beer took over. But while the same variability applies to all pubcos, people don't slag off, say, Punch Taverns in general after having a bad experience in one of their pubs.

  3. Cookie, I'll eat owt and sup owt so long as it's cheap :p

  4. Nev, this experience is a composite of two local Spoons, one of which is in the GBG.

    It's often said that if a poor pint is changed with good grace and the beer taken off sale, you shouldn't mark it down, but if it happens more than once in a blue moon it does start to raise a question mark.

    Maybe the NBSS needs to be amended to take account of returnable pints served up.

  5. @RedNev, Spoons aren't supposed to vary due to the rigid Retail Standards that are supposed to be applied across the board in every one of their managed retail outlets (I don't call them pubs because they're not) so there shouldn't be that level of inconsistency. Punch and the other tenanted pubcos don't apply standards like that to their leaseholders or have standard formulas for their premises which is why people don't make similar general criticisms of them.

  6. Yes, Spoons are a managed chain that seeks to apply consistent standards across the board in the same way as McDonalds and Pizza Express.

    A bad pint in a leased Punch pub does not reflect on the rest; a bad pint in a Spoons does.

  7. I'm surprised - I can only ever remember taking a pint back twice in the Sedge Lynn in Chorlton. Factoring in the number of times I've been there and the quality of the response (immediate no-questions replacement, apology, pump clip turned round), I'd say they score a lot higher than, say, the Horse and Jockey. (I've only had one duff pint there, but the barmaid gave me the whole "are you sure?/nobody else is complaining/tastes all right to me" malarkey before replacing the pint, and left the beer on.)

  8. I only speak as I find, but I have to say I approach the bar in a Spoons in the expectation that I may well get a duff pint.

    A one-off maybe, but a few weeks ago I was in Aberystwyth and went into Yr Hen Orsaf. Pint of Pendle Witches' Brew. Oh what a surprise, a pint of soup. Changed it for something else that was borderline hazy and very underwhelming.

  9. Martin, Cambridge21 July 2014 at 16:32

    You're obviously unlucky with Spoons - I reckon its a virtual guarantee of a decently kept pint, even in the current heat wave which is clearly affecting quality.

    The Stockport Spoons is one of the few which haven't touched the Beer Guide ever, which may suggest that branches can make decisions based on quality as well as range size.

  10. Actually IME the Calvert's Court (which is not in the GBG) tends to be better on beer quality than the Gateway (which is). But in design terms the CC sums up all that is wrong with Spoons.


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