JD Wetherspoon 'to create 10,000 jobs over four years'
UK pub chain JD Wetherspoon has said it will create 10,000 jobs in the UK and Republic of Ireland over the next four years.
The chain said it would invest £200m in new pubs and hotels, as well as enlarging existing ones.
In common with other retailers, it has been battling rising costs including a hike in the minimum wage and higher property prices and energy bills.
It has also faced shareholder unrest over £95,000 of pro-Brexit spending.
Wetherspoon said the majority of the £200m investment would happen in small and medium-sized towns.
The company plans new pubs in Bourne, Waterford, Hamilton, Ely, Diss, Felixstowe, Newport Pagnell and Prestatyn.
It will also invest in major cities including London and Dublin.
Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin said: "We are especially pleased that a large proportion of the investment will be in smaller towns and cities which have seen a decline in investment in recent years."
It plans about 60 new pubs, and at least four new hotels.
The jobs will be created gradually, and will be a mixture of pub management, bar staff, kitchen staff, and others. They will be a mixture of full-time and part-time roles.
Wetherspoon has 875 pubs and 58 hotels in the UK and Republic of Ireland and has about 44,000 employees.
The pub chain has faced investor unrest over £95,000 of pro-Brexit spending on beermats, posters and booklets during the 2016 referendum campaign.
Shareholder group Pirc argued the chain broke the Companies Act because it did not declare the spending to investors - claims Wetherspoon rejects.
Pirc has also pushed for Mr Martin to resign as chairman over the length of his tenure.
Mr Martin, an outspoken supporter of Brexit, has staged a nationwide tour to argue the case for the UK's departure from the EU, and has consistently said that a no-deal Brexit would be good for the UK economy.