Wagamama announces double closure following business review

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Wagamama announces double closure following review Restaurant Group

Related tags The restaurant group Wagamama Coronavirus

Wagamama is to permanently close two of its London sites, including its 'noodle lab' in Soho.

The pan-Asian chain, which is owned by The Restaurant Group (TRG), says it made the decision following a review of the company's portfolio brought about by a 'marked shift' in customer demand caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

As a result of the review, it has been decided that Wagamama's Mansion House restaurant, as well as its 'noodle lab' test kitchen on Dean Street, are no longer economically viable, and both sites have been closed. 

Wagamama says it hopes that all staff affected by the closures will be redeployed across other sites.

The 'food development and testing programme' that has been the cornerstone of the 'noodle lab' concept since it opened in 2017​, will be relocated to the chain's Old Street branch.

Wagamama has begun a phased reopening of its restaurant estate following the Coronavirus lockdown. 

Earlier this month it was reported that the group was trialing the use of Japanese partition-inspired sliding screens​ to separate different dining groups across four of its sites.

If the initial test and learn phase proves successful, the business plans to open 18 restaurants by the end of July, and have all sites in its estate open by early September.

Reflecting on the future of the brand, Wagamama CEO Emma Woods says: “We are committed to preserving our restaurant estate and protecting jobs and are having constructive discussions with all of our landlords to ensure the rental structure over the next 18 months reflects the unique situation we are all in as we begin reopening and rebuilding the business."

Separately to the Wagamama closures, TRG announced last month that it was to permanently shut 125 sites within its struggling leisure arm​ following the approval of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

The closures will primarily impact the group's Frankie and Benny’s, Garfunkel's and Chiquito chains.

TRG has previously said that its Wagamama, airport concessions and pub operation divisions would not be affected by the CVA.

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