ANALYSIS: Just how big is the Wagamama business in the UK and worldwide?

Wagamama is one of the casual dining sector’s greatest success stories to date.

Founded in London in 1992 with a focus on pan-Asian inspired cuisine, the company’s restaurant portfolio comprises 138 directly-operated restaurants in the UK and the US and 58 franchised restaurants in Europe, the Middle East and New Zealand.

Wagamama has a commitment to fast-cooked, fresh and healthy pan-Asian cuisine. Its focus is on feeding the ‘mind, body and soul’, meaning the food must both ‘look and taste beautiful’.

All food is freshly cooked in its open kitchens and customers may personalise any dish. The menu includes a range of accessible, entry-level dishes – under £5 for small dishes or £10 for mains – alongside more expensive options.

Wagamama’s UK restaurants are spread geographically and are in a mixture of locations. Towns and cities (excluding London) account for 41% of the total UK restaurant estate, shopping centres account for 32%, London (excluding shopping centres) account for 25% and airports account for 2%.

The UK restaurants are all in leased properties averaging approximately 4,300 square feet in size, and approximately half have been extensively refurbished over the last three years.

Wagamama opened its first restaurant in the US in 2007.  Since then it has grown its US footprint to five directly-operated sites.

Its US business has a local management team and manages its own supply chain and operations, although it continues to leverage the UK head office and infrastructure where needed.

Additionally, Wagamama has a presence in Europe, the Middle East and New Zealand via 58 franchised restaurants in 23 countries. Franchise arrangements are with a variety of partners, which each have exclusivity for a specific territory.

Franchisees operate their own supply chain using a mixture of Wagamama’s suppliers (under their own contracts) and their own suppliers.

Wagamama’s sites have a predominantly long leasehold property asset base. 73% of sites currently have greater than 10 years left on their lease contracts.

The company headquartered in London and employs more than 6,000 staff. For FY 2018, Wagamama reported revenues of £306.7m and generated EBITDA after pre-opening costs of £43m.

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