More than half (54%) of people believe JD Wetherspoon’s plan to open a pub on a motorway services is a “bad idea”, according to a survey of 2,000 people.

A greater proportion (57%) think it undermines road safety campaigns. Only 15% reacted positively, the survey from Canadean Custom Solutions found.

In Wetherspoons’ favour, however, 43% were happy at the prospect of having more choice of food and drink, and 42% believe it’s the responsibility of the individual to drive safely.

“JD Wetherspoon has thrived in a recessionary environment as a result of its competitive prices, menu extensions and diversification into the hotel sector,” said Michael Hughes, research manager at Canadean. “While this is another example of the chain expanding and there is a general consensus that such an opening would offer more choice, there is genuine concern among consumers that it could encourage a minority to drink and drive.

“In order to reduce negative perceptions JD Wetherspoon needs to position such outlets as restaurants, making competitively priced food the focal point as Harvester has managed to do.”