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Wetherspoons Pubs - in general
Member Name: rackerss
Wetherspoons Pubs - in general
Advantages: cheap, ethical
Disadvantages: often run out of stock, rowdy drinkers in evening
I first started going to Wetherspoons about 4 years ago when I was still underage; I used to go with my Mum and Grandparents for lunch when I wasn't at college. We went to a few in Surrey and the big one in the Marina in Brighton. Since turning 18, I haven't really been drinking in Wetherspoons much. They tend to be quite loud and rowdy - the unbelievably cheap drinks deals mean a lot of people end up getting very drunk and unpleasant. During the day, however, I really enjoy going for lunch with friends or family. It is child-friendly in certain sections and they do a great kids menu.
Back to the food, at Wetherspoons you walk in and find a table, you then order your food and drinks at the bar and the food will come out to you. Different branches have different serving times, but mostly food is served until 10pm. They serve breakfast (often from 7am till 12pm) and then the main menu. Their Sunday roasts are delicious! There is a choice of meats and a veggie option which is way nicer than most pubs nut roast and the plates come loaded with potatoes and vegetables and the roast includes a drink! They also do a burger night, a steak night and a curry night on different nights of the week with special deals on that type of meal.
First of all, I guess, is that it's cheap. Main meals start from £2.99! There are more expensive things on the menu, but they're usually all under £10. There are different deals on at different times which makes your food even cheaper. I am really astounded at how little lunch for four can cost.
The menu is very open and informative. I'm a vegetarian, my mother is on a diet and my friend cannot eat gluten and the menu clearly states what is suitable. On the website there is a great "What I can eat menu builder" so you can plan before you go. They make it clear that although items may have gluten free ingredients, they have been prepared in a kitchen that handles gluten - the same with nuts. They have a lot of low calorie and low fat options that are clearly labelled and for the rest of the meals there are nutritional information sheets available sometimes in the restaurant (or failing that they are all online).
They make a big point of being ethical and sustainable when sourcing their ingredients both on the menu and on the website. The source sustainable haddock, salmon and cod, dolphin-friendly tuna, free-range eggs, British farm assured potatoes and Beef and their coffee is rainforest-alliance-certified. As an environmentalist all this stuff is really important to me.
The staff are generally really friendly. I don't think I've ever had bad service. They seem to be happy to help if anything is wrong with the food or drinks. Because of the fast-paced environment, mistakes do happen, but it's never been a problem for too long because they sort it out efficiently.
The food is usually really quick. I've never waited an unacceptable time and if you're going to be in for a wait, they tell you at the bar beforehand which is good.
The food is mostly ready-made and frozen. You're not going to find the freshest ingredients. I don't believe the meals are so much cooked as prepared. I suspect there's a lot of microwaving involved! Because of this, it's more difficult to substitute things on the menu if you don't like one part of a meal. The staff are usually very helpful about it, but sometimes it just can't be done.
I have been in many times and been told they are out of certain items. They have so many meals on the menu that I guess there just isn't enough room to store huge amounts of each thing.
So far the only organic item on the menu is the tomato soup. I understand, though, that prices may go up if they started making everything organic!
At very busy times you can be stood waiting for a table to become free and then while you are seated, there may be people standing waiting for your table. This makes it feel a bit rushed and pressured and there is no time for the staff to clean the table before you sit down. Wetherspoons can get very very busy so I tend to only go to the smaller, quieter ones in the suburbs of London.
Overall I would avoid Wetherspoons in the evening, but I love going there for a cheap bite for lunch. Don't expect silver service or high quality food - it's cheap and cheerful and if you go in understanding this you'll have a great time.
Summary: great for lunch - you get what you pay for