JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has admitted drink sales have been poor at its first motorway services site because ‘people just want a coffee’.

Martin was speaking on the back of Wetherspoon’s Q1 results, which showed like-for-like sales up 6.3% but reported a disappointing October.

Martin told M&C Report: “October was not that bad but could have been better. It was a combination of the Indian summer coming to an end and a period where costs went up.”

On the Hope & Champion, situated at Beaconsfield services off the M40, Martin said: “It has been slower than we hoped. As you would expect food sales have been good but drink has not performed as well.”

He added: “McDonalds and Nandos are doing better than us. There is a feeling that people would rather have a coffee at the service station and then a pint when they get home. We thought that we could attract custom from passengers and maybe it would be all right on the night.”

Martin claimed it was too early to say what would happen to the project, saying: “We have got a 30-year lease so we will probably look again in eight or nine years.”