Q&A: Does Wagamama Franchise in the UK?

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Wagamama is one of the UK leaders in the quick-service restaurant industry. It’s known for its comforting rice and noodle dishes, and sociable bench seating - but does Wagamama franchise? Let’s find out whether it offers the opportunity for investors to launch their own restaurant branches.

Whether you’re a fan of Asian cuisine or not, you’ve probably heard of Wagamama. This QSR giant has established a presence across the globe and found an international customer base. Plus, it has demonstrated its dedication to improving its sustainability and providing inclusive menu options. 

Does Wagamama franchise?

Yes. Although the Asian food restaurant chain doesn’t look for new investors all the time, it often promotes new franchising opportunities in specific countries. So, it’s worth checking back every now and then to see whether there are any Wagamama franchise openings in the UK.

History of Wagamama

The story of Wagamama goes back to 1992 when founder Alan Yau launched his first Japanese restaurant in Bloomsbury, London. He took inspiration from the lively ramen bars found in Japan to celebrate Asian cuisine in the heart of the UK capital. 

The restaurant quickly became a hit and earned a base of loyal customers. Over the years, Wagamama grew not only across England but internationally, to reach a global audience. 

In 2013, the chain celebrated the opening of its 100th restaurant with a new branch in Hammersmith. Today, you’ll find Wagamama locations across 22 European and Middle Eastern countries, and almost 150 restaurants in the UK alone.

Every day, the brand serves up a wide range of rice and noodle dishes, as well as salads and sides. The menu also includes desserts and a selection of fresh juices, hot drinks and Asian beers. Wagamama is also famous for its free green tea, which many customers enjoy alongside their food.

The Wagamama franchise brand is based around the Asian concept of ‘kaizen’, meaning ‘good change’ or ‘improvement’. So far, it has certainly lived up to its philosophy, as it has already put in place countless initiatives to improve its service and reduce its impact on the natural world. 

We set out to create a unique way of eating. Bringing the fresh, nourishing flavours of Asia to all. That was over 25 years ago now. Two whole decades to sharpen skills and refine recipes. To play with spices and discover tastes. We continue to get better every day. 

As part of the UK’s ongoing move towards veganism, Wagamama has developed plant-based versions of many of its most loved dishes. By the end of 2021, half of its menu items will be meat-free. 

Wagamama is proud to be a member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, which prioritises eco-friendly practices across three key areas: sourcing, society and environment. The restaurant franchise also works with the European Chicken Commitment, sourcing eggs and poultry from farms providing free-range chickens and high standards of welfare. 

Recently, the business has turned its attention to sustainable waste disposal. In fact, it has managed to reduce the amount of waste it produces by 70 percent. Some local councils don’t recycle dark-coloured plastic, so Wagamama recently changed all its black takeaway containers for grey ones. Plus, it swapped its large cardboard sleeves for small card discs, which slot into the centre of each lid.

What’s more, Wagamama has kept up with other restaurant franchises by eliminating its plastic straws. Customers are now invited to sip their drinks - with the exception of fresh juices, which come with a biodegradable paper straw.

Wagamama has even explored sustainable energy; all its branches now use renewable electricity. Plus, clever regulating systems help the franchise reduce the amount of water and extractor fan power it gets through. Now, the kitchens use 10 percent less energy, all waste food is turned into sustainable energy with an anaerobic digester and waste oil is converted into bio-diesel fuel. 

Starting a Wagamama franchise unit

Fancy joining the Wagamama franchise network? The company will support you as you launch your very own restaurant location(s), as long as you have the drive to make your business a success.

Becoming a Wagamama franchisee: 

The Wagamama franchise recruitment team is on the lookout for investors who share the company’s values and passion for Asian cuisine. To pass the application process, you must be willing and able to open several restaurants within your allocated territory. 

You’ll need experience working with an international brand in either a franchised or licenced scenario, and an understanding of retail real estate and closing deals. The recruitment team will also evaluate applicants on their ability to build and motivate a team and manage in a high-pressure environment.

How much you need to invest: 

You will need to have £40,000 in liquid capital and pay a franchise fee of £40,000 to get started as a Wagamama franchisee. 

The Wagamama franchise system is a "whole life" system with a structured onboarding process and training for each new franchisee group, with ongoing leadership and management processes designed to achieve the maximum potential for each restaurant.

What you get for your investment: 

When you join the Wagamama franchise, the team will review your training needs and tailor its coaching scheme to suit you. Regardless of your previous experience, it’s likely you’ll be given months of high-quality learning opportunities. 

The franchise will also help you determine where to launch your business in order to achieve the optimal return on investment. And you’ll benefit from Wagamama’s national advertising campaigns and marketing initiatives for each new location. 

Running your own business with a QSR franchise

The franchise universe is known for its many famous quick-service restaurant chains - there’s McDonald’s, Subway and KFC to name just a few. If you’re interested in accessing the impressive revenue potential available in this industry, why not browse the franchises currently recruiting franchisees? View our full range of food franchises to get the ball rolling.

>> Read more articles on the Food and Beverage sector

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