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Industry Restaurant
Genre Japanese restaurant + noodle bar
Founded 1992
Founder Alan Yau
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Number of locations
Area served
Owner Duke Street Capital
Website http://www.wagamama.com

Wagamama (stylized as wagamama), a British-headquartered restaurant chain, serving Asian food inspired by the flavours of Japan.


Created by Alan Yau, who subsequently created the Chinese restaurants Hakkasan and Yauatcha in London, the first wagamama opened in 1992 in Bloomsbury, London.[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."[2]

In 2005, then-owner Graphite Capital sold a majority stake of 77.5% to Lion Capital LLP for £103 million.[4] In 2011 the chain was sold to Duke Street Capital for an estimated sum of £215M.[5]

In 2013, wagamama opened their 100th restaurant in the converted Hammersmith Fire Station, a 1913 built Grade II listed building at 190-192 Shepherd's Bush Road, Hammersmith, London W6 7NL.[6][7]

As of April 2016, the chain includes 140+ restaurants,[8] with 120 being in the UK. Other restaurants are located in Bahrain, 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.[9]

In November 2016 the first New York restaurant opened at 210 Fifth Avenue. The menu in New York has brunch dishes - a first for wagamama.


The word wagamama (わがまま) is Japanese for "self-indulgent", "self-centered", "selfish", "disobedient" or "willful".[10] 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'.[11][12]

wagamama has a belief in serving fresh food, as soon as it's ready with menus being updated seasonally.[11]


Hammersmith Fire Station interior, 2014

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.[13] Customers sit on either side of large tables, seating as many as 16 people at one table.[14]

Environmental record[edit]

In November 2015 the chain was one of seven restaurants surveyed that failed to meet a basic level of sustainability in its seafood.[15] However, this was later retracted, as Wagamama revealed more information about the origin of its seafood.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "about wagamama". Wagamama. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Arguably The Saviour Of The Restaurant, Stiff and Trevillion, p. 36-37.". Chill Magazine. 2001. 
  3. ^ "Wagamama". Stiff + Trevillion. 2010. 
  4. ^ Brendan Scott (4 November 2010). "Investcorp and Morgan Stanley to tuck into Wagamama". Real Deals. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "Duke Street buys wagamama from Lion Capital". unquote.com. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  6. ^ Historic England, "Hammersmith Fire Station (1079777)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 31 August 2014 
  7. ^ The Caterer: Wagamama opens its 100th restaurant | The Caterer, accessdate: 02/09/2014
  8. ^ "global map". Wagamama. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  9. ^ http://www.wagamama.com/restaurants/tottenham-court-road-british-museum
  10. ^ Google translate. Google https://translate.google.com/#auto/en/%E3%82%8F%E3%81%8C%E3%81%BE%E3%81%BE. Retrieved 10 July 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ a b http://www.wagamama.com/about-us
  12. ^ "わがまま definition". bab.la. 
  13. ^ "Wagamama Increases Customer Satisfaction and Food and Beverage Sales With Symbol Technologies' Mobile Computers". PR Newswire. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  14. ^ "Pennington Robson — Portfolio". Archived from the original on 2010-09-14. Retrieved 2012-10-09. See photo on page. 
  15. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/18/family-restaurant-chains-unsustainable-seafood-wagamama-bella-italia
  16. ^ http://fish2fork.com/en_GB/news/news/wagamama-open-up-and-jump-up-the-ratings

External links[edit]