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Type Private
Industry Restaurant
Founded 1992
Founder(s) Alan Yau
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Area served Global
Owner(s) Duke Street Capital
Website http://www.wagamama.com
Typical noodle meal at Wagamama

Wagamama is a British-headquartered restaurant chain, serving East Asian food in the style of a modern Japanese Ramen bar.


Created by Alan Yau, who subsequently created the Chinese restaurants Hakkasan and Yauatcha in London, the first Wagamama opened in 1992 in Bloomsbury.[1]

Wagamama opened at a time when few people thought the restaurant sector was worth investing in, although the critical acclaim and commercial success the restaurant received soon changed that belief.[2] The first restaurant in Bloomsbury was designed by Stiff and Trevillion Architects, who were subsequently involved in the design of 10 further restaurants.[3] One of the partners of the architectural practice, Michael Stiff stated, "Wagamama really pushed back the boundaries and rejuvenated what had become an extremely jaded industry. As well as being completely different from a design point of view, the prices of the meals were also significantly lower than those of other London restaurants at the time."[4]

As of January 2014, the chain includes 141 restaurants,[5] with 101 being in the United Kingdom. Other restaurants are located in Australia, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Kuwait, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Qatar, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the U.A.E. and the United States.

In 2005, then-owner Graphite Capital sold a majority stake of 77.5% to Lion Capital LLP for £103 million.[6] In 2011 the chain was sold to Duke Street Capital for an estimated sum of £215M.[7]

A Wagamama restaurant in the Brayford Waterfront area of Lincoln, England


The chain's website defines wagamama as meaning "‘naughty child’ – or one who is wilful and determined", and states that they aim to "offer a new kind of dining experience – one that offers fresh japanese-inspired food in a friendly, vibrant setting".[1] The chain has released cookbooks in order to further extend their brand.


Wagamama has a number of features that have since been adopted by many restaurants. Orders are taken via PDAs, and wirelessly networked to the kitchen. Once orders are taken, food order numbers are written on customers' paper place mats and food is delivered to the table once cooked, which means dishes are not necessarily served at the same time.[8] Customers sit on either side of large tables, seating as many as 16 people at one table.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "about wagamama". Wagamama. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Arguably The Saviour Of The Restaurant, Stiff and Trevillion, p. 36-37. Chill Magazine. 2001. 
  3. ^ "Wagamama". Stiff + Trevillion. 2010. 
  4. ^ Arguably The Saviour Of The Restaurant, Stiff and Trevillion, p. 36-37. Chill Magazine. 2001. 
  5. ^ "global map". Wagamama. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Brendan Scott (4 November 2010). "Investcorp and Morgan Stanley to tuck into Wagamama". Real Deals. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "Duke Street buys wagamama from Lion Capital". unquote.com. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "Wagamama Increases Customer Satisfaction and Food and Beverage Sales With Symbol Technologies' Mobile Computers". PR Newswire. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "Pennington Robson - Portfolio". Archived from the original on 2010-09-14. Retrieved 2012-10-09. "See photo on page." 

External links[edit]