A new app that was designed to steer people away from Wetherspoons is proving a massive hit among drinkers.
A man who built an app in his spare time that highlights independent pubs close to Wetherspoons venues, says he has been amazed by the response. The details of approximately 2,500 pubs have been uploaded to the app, with nearly 1000 recommended by users and landlords.
Back in March, while waiting for the government’s furlough scheme to kick in, chairman Tim Martin faced intense public backlash after reportedly telling his 34,000 team members they would not be paid in the interim and encouraging them to apply for jobs elsewhere. Many pub-goers warned that they would neither forgive nor forget how the chain had chosen to treat its staff during the pandemic – it appears this could indeed be the case.
The Android app Neverspoons has so far been downloaded nearly 18,000 times in its first week – more than Shane Jones expected from the first six months, it is currently top of the free app chart on Google Play.
The new app was aimed at encouraging people to visit independent pubs instead of the nearest branch of JD Wetherspoon. ‘Neverspoons’ has been made by two Manchester-based web developers who have been unimpressed with the major pub group’s actions throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
The name is a pun on the pub chain Wetherspoons but Mr. Jones said he just wanted to give smaller pubs a boost. Mr. Jones admitted that “a handful” of other chain pub venues had already crept on to the app and he said he planned to “weed out” those people had complained to him about – including one from the Slug and Lettuce chain and a few Greene King and Firkin franchises.
“It’s not easy to manually vet thousands of pubs,” he said.