One for the Road? – England’s first motorway pub…
By Don Ferguson on Saturday, January 25, 2014
This was the week that the good people of England welcomed the arrival of the very first motorway pub.
Met with a chorus of disapproval from a variety of road safety charities, JD Wetherspoon’s Hope & Champion flung open their MDF style saloon doors at junction two of the M40 near Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.
What’s more the 4am-1am drinking hole was met by a mass media storm, filling hard copy column inches across the broadsheets and tabloids as well as internet sites and newsletters a plenty.
In typical JD Wetherspoon style, the brand allowed the publicity storm to wash over them whilst remaining true to the party line via local chap and all round jovial publican Steve Baldwin – rigorously reinforcing the fact that they have created jobs for the local area and that “the facilities are also available to the surrounding community from the local road network”.
Although the phrase “deadly temptation” was one banded around by seemingly every publication in the land, many also reported on the RAC survey that found 12 % of the 2,000 surveyed actually wanted such an outlet – which I am sure JD Wetherspoon were well aware of.
Regardless of the backlash and the real reasons behind the decision to build such a pub, the PR was managed well and I am sure many will be grabbing a couples of pints down there very soon.