Wagamama Limited (stylised as wagamama; called China Diner Limited from 1991–1992) is a British restaurant chain, serving Asian food based on Japanese cuisine.

Wagamama Limited
FormerlyChina Diner Limited (1991–1992)
Company typePrivate
GenreJapanese restaurant + noodle bar
Founded29 April 1991; 33 years ago (1991-04-29)
FounderAlan Yau
United Kingdom
Number of locations
Area served
Key people
Thomas Heier (CEO)
OwnerThe Restaurant Group
Wagamama interior, former Hammersmith Fire Station, 2014



Wagamama Limited was incorporated on 29 April 1991 as China Diner Limited,[1] and their first restaurant was opened in 1992 in Bloomsbury, London, founded by Alan Yau, who subsequently created the Chinese restaurants Hakkasan and Yauatcha, and Thai restaurant Busaba Eathai.[2] In June 2005, the restaurant's owner Graphite Capital sold the majority stake of 77.5% to Lion Capital LLP for £103 million.[3] In April 2011, the chain was sold to Duke Street Capital, for an estimated sum of £215 million.[4]

As of January 2014, the chain included over 190 restaurants, with 130 being in the United Kingdom.[5] The chain was acquired for £559m by The Restaurant Group, owner of Frankie & Benny's & Chiquito in October 2018.[6]

Other restaurants are located in Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Gibraltar, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Oman, Qatar, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UAE, and the United States. A new restaurant has opened at the beginning of 2019 in France.[7]

Previous countries served by the Wagamama brand include Australia from 2002 to 2014,[8][9] and New Zealand until 2019.[10]

Wagamama has released two cookbooks in order to further extend its brand.

The first site on Streatham Street, Bloomsbury, London, closed permanently on 19 June 2016.[11]



The word wagamama (わがまま) is Japanese for "self-indulgent", "self-centred", “picky”, “fussy”, "disobedient", or "wilful".[12] Wagamama brands itself as following the process of kaizen.[13]

News items


Environmental record


In November 2015, the chain was named by the Marine Conservation Society as one of seven restaurants surveyed that failed to meet a basic level of sustainability in its seafood.[14] However, this was later retracted, as Wagamama revealed more information about the origin of its seafood.[15]

Employment rights


In December 2017, Wagamama apologised after it was revealed some workers in Finchley were warned they would face disciplinary action if calling in sick over Christmas. The manager of the North Finchley branch asserted it was the responsibility of staff members, according to their contracts and handbook, to find somebody to cover their shifts. Wagamama said this was an isolated incident, not part of its employment policy.[16]

Covid/quarantine losses


During the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine, Wagamama’s owner, The Restaurant Group closed 250 restaurants, with a loss of nearly 4,500 jobs.[17]

See also



  1. ^ "Wagamama Limited overview - Find and update company information - GOV.UK". Companies House. 29 April 1991. Retrieved 7 May 2024.
  2. ^ "about wagamama". Wagamama. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  3. ^ Brendan Scott (4 November 2010). "Investcorp and Morgan Stanley to tuck into Wagamama". Real Deals. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  4. ^ "Duke Street buys Wagamama from Lion Capital". unquote.com. 1 April 2011. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  5. ^ "global map". Wagamama. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Wagamama sold to Frankie & Benny's owner – BBC News". BBC. 30 October 2018.
  7. ^ "wagamama | not in great britain?". www.wagamama.com. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  8. ^ Eloise Keating (30 September 2014). "Wagamama Australia goes into liquidation as all stores close". SmartCompany.
  9. ^ "Noodle chain collapses". InsideRetail. 29 September 2014.
  10. ^ Ireland Hendry-Tennent (3 July 2019). "Wagamama closes New Zealand restaurants". Newshub.
  11. ^ "restaurants – wagamama".
  12. ^ "wagamama translation". Jim Breen's JMdict. Retrieved 28 December 2022.
  13. ^ "about wagamama".
  14. ^ Smithers, Rebecca (18 November 2015). "More than half of UK's family restaurant chains serving unsustainable seafood" – via The Guardian.
  15. ^ "Wagamama open up and jump up the ratings - Fish2Fork". Archived from the original on 29 November 2016. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  16. ^ "Wagamama apology for 'don't be sick' staff notice". BBC News. 24 December 2017.
  17. ^ "Wagamama owner slumps to £235m loss due to Covid lockdown". The Guardian. 6 October 2020.