Wagamama plans to launch a trial that will see red meat totally removed from its test kitchen restaurant in London before the year is out.
The company has also vowed to make 50% of its main menu meat-free by the end of 2021 in a bid to tackle climate change.
Wagamama’s push towards a stronger plant-based offer comes as it launches its “most ambitious” series of vegan dishes ever following a menu revamp led by executive chef Steve Mangleshot.
He has constructed freshly-made meat-free alternatives to cult favourites such as chilli squid, sticky ribs and Grilled Duck Donburi that each contain less than 650 calories.
Wagamama said the vegan diet has been identified as the “single biggest measure” that can be taken by people to reduce their carbon emissions by up to 73%.
CEO Emma Woods commented: “We believe that vegan choices should be so delicious that everyone should want to include in their lives, whether a strict vegan or someone who has never thought of themselves as a vegan before.
“As Covid causes us all to press pause on so many things, let’s make sure we fast forward the small decisions which can better our planet.”
Wagamama’s most popular side dish, Chilli Squid, sells more than 2.2 million a year. The new version replaces crispy squid with shichimi-coated lightly battered king oyster mushrooms and a dipping sauce of chilli and coriander.
The new No-Duck Donburi, which is an alternative to the popular Grilled Duck Donburi, is made using shredded seitan and shiitake mushrooms coated in cherry hoisin sauce.
The chain’s second most popular curry to Chicken Katsu is its Firecracker. Its spicy sauce is now offered with tofu. New Vegan Sticky Ribs, meanwhile, are made from mushroom and soya protein.