|Genre||Japanese restaurant + noodle bar|
Number of locations
The first Wagamama was opened in 1992 in Bloomsbury, London, founded by Alan Yau, who subsequently created the Chinese restaurants Hakkasan and Yauatcha. In June 2005, the restaurant's owner Graphite Capital sold the majority stake of 77.5% to Lion Capital LLP for £103 million. In April 2011, the chain was sold to Duke Street Capital, for an estimated sum of £215 million.
As of July 2019, the chain includes over 190 restaurants, with 130 being in the United Kingdom. The chain, which had been performing well in the difficult restaurant market in the United Kingdom, was acquired for £559m by the Restaurant Group, owner of Frankie & Benny's, Garfunkels, and other well known fast casual dining chains in October 2018.
Other restaurants are located in Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Gibraltar, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand (until 2019), Oman, Qatar, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UAE, and the United States. Wagamama has released two cookbooks in order to further extend its brand. The first site on Streatham Street, Bloomsbury, London, closed permanently on 19 June 2016.
The word wagamama (わがまま) is Japanese for "self-indulgent", "self-centred", "disobedient" or "wilful" and is most often translated by the brand as "naughty child". Wagamama brands itself as following the process of kaizen.
In November 2015, the chain was named by the Marine Conservation Society as one of seven restaurants surveyed that failed to meet a basic level of sustainability in its seafood. However, this was later retracted, as Wagamama revealed more information about the origin of its seafood.
In December 2017, Wagamama apologised after it was revealed some workers in Finchley were warned they would face disciplinary action if calling in sick over Christmas. The manager of the North Finchley branch asserted it was the responsibility of staff members, according to their contracts and handbook, to find somebody to cover their shifts. Wagamama said this was an isolated incident, not part of its employment policy.
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