MY BEST ... Before floating JD Wetherspoon, we started selling share options to our pub managers. It has done us a lot of good, because our long-serving managers now own a significant amount of shares in the company, and many of them have stayed loyal to us as a result. In 1998, we started a profit-share scheme, which pays out about a quarter of our profits to pub staff. We were told it was a bad idea financially, but it has been good for us, and the company is now doing very well. Investing in staff is certainly worthwhile, even if it is painful initially.
MY WORST ...
In 1988 we sold 25% of the company's equity to Scottish & Newcastle for around pounds 1.5 million. With that money we bought a pub in West Hendon, and I think we got the worst pitch in the capital. The pub never really took off and we sold it 10 years later for less than we'd paid for it. Meanwhile, the value of our company had risen dramatically and the shares we'd sold to Scottish & Newcastle were worth more than pounds 100 million. In effect, we exchanged one pub for 25% of the company. Another annoyance was that I sold a quarter of my shares in 1988 to buy a house. The shares went up, but I later sold the house for the same price I'd paid for it.