|Genre||Japanese restaurant + noodle bar|
|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
Number of locations
|Owner||Duke Street Capital|
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. The first restaurant in Bloomsbury was designed by Stiff and Trevillion Architects, who were subsequently involved in the design of 10 further restaurants. 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."
As of April 2016, the chain includes 140+ restaurants, with 120 being in the UK. Other restaurants are located in Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Gibraltar, Greece, Ireland, Kuwait, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Qatar, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UAE and the United States.
The first site in Streatham Street, Bloomsbury, London closed permanently on 19 June 2016.
The word wagamama (わがまま) is Japanese for "self-indulgent", "self-centered", "selfish", "disobedient" or "willful". The website states that they aim to "offer a new kind of dining experience – one that offers fresh japanese-inspired food in a friendly, vibrant setting". wagamama has released 2 cookbooks in order to further extend their brand. wagamama believes in a Japanese philosophy called 'kaizen', which they say 'shapes every dish we create, and pushes us to find better ways in all that we do. we’re restless spirits. forever creating and making things better'.
wagamama has a belief in serving fresh food, as soon as it's ready with menus being updated seasonally.
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. Customers sit on either side of large tables, seating as many as 16 people at one table.
In November 2015 the chain was one of seven restaurants surveyed that failed to meet a basic level of sustainability in its seafood.
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See photo on page.