JD Wetherspoon has one of the most widely recognised and appraised training systems for its management in the industry. I gained knowledge and skills that other companies haven't even touched upon and I will always value the time I spent there.
That being said, you get out what you put in and you have to be willing to work incredibly hard and prepared to do the higher roles you wish for before you actually achieve them in order to prove your ability. I don't think this is a bad thing as I think it shows tenacity and character but it's not for everyone.
I didn't have a very good work life balance once I reached the kitchen manager role, however that varies for different people and it also depends how available you make yourself. I felt very much on call 24/7 however being young, single and living a five minute walk from my place of work and picking up the phone every time it rang no matter what didn't do myself any favours.
It's a tough environment, and it's very competitive, but as a company to work for I would recommend it and I wouldn't say I would never consider going back, I've maintained positive professional relationships with a number of the senior management team in my area for that very reason.
There are a number of perks, recently since I left they've reduced the contracted hours and given the management a pay rise which is always well received, and the shares scheme is fantastic, I know people that have used their shares to contribute to a deposit on a house or buy a new car.
Free shares, free food for management, flexible hours
Poor work life balance