Today, wagamama has announced a major plan to reopen up to 67 nationwide delivery sites by the end of June as the UK begins to get back to work.
Following successful trials of delivery in London and Leeds, the restaurant chain will accelerate its delivery plan of action, with 24 sites set to reopen on Thursday 21st May, followed by a further 20 on Thursday 28th May. By the start of June, wagamama plans to have 49 delivery sites operating, and up to 67 by the end of the month. At this point, the restaurant group hopes to be operating approximately half of its sites through delivery and take-out.
The first delivery kitchen sites (Peckham, Hackney, Bow, Leeds) opened last month, managing to successfully implement a safe working environment. As part of the launch, the team at the Peckham restaurant served 1,000 meals for frontline NHS workers – an initiative wagamama and their delivery partner, Deliveroo, will continue to support, with selected sites delivering up to 500 NHS meals each week. Since the introduction of lockdown and tightened restrictions to combat COVID-19, wagamama has also launched ‘wok from home’ – a simple home cookery guide created “to help nourish the nation during the coronavirus.”
Closely following government and expert medical advice, the restaurant group has devised the schedule of re-opening new sites that will allow staff to slowly return to delivery-only work at their own discretion. The phased re-opening of additional sites will still form a test and learn approach for the business. In accordance with strict government guidelines, wagamama has put together a comprehensive policy to ensure the safety of all.
During the first week, the sites will be open from Thursday – Sunday and thereafter Wednesday – Sunday (with the exception of Kensington and Peckham which are trialling a seven-day operation). The scheduled hours of opening will be 4 – 9.30pm.
On the restaurant group’s plans to re-open for delivery and take-away, Emma Woods, wagamama CEO said: “Over the past couple of months our focus has been on creating a safe working environment for our team members and our two-week trial has enabled our teams to return to work safely. The next logical step for us is to open additional sites throughout the UK, this will still very much form a test and learn approach for the business. The response of our return has been extremely positive and we look forward to our guests being able to get their wagamama fix.
“Since lockdown we launched our wok from home series where we saw the UK population cooking some of wagamama’s most beloved dishes. The series has had phenomenal success, already obtaining over 2 million views in the past six weeks. It’s brought a lot of joy to a lot of people and this is something that we will continue to evolve as we endure to create a sense of community through our food, even during these unprecedented times.”
Dr Kate Bunyan, who has helped wagamama formulate a safe working protocol, added: “I have been working with wagamama over the last few weeks to introduce new safety protocols, so their teams can feel safe, whilst providing the important service of food preparation for delivery. These now include the mandatory use of health questionnaires before every shift, no contact with delivery riders and increased frequency of hygiene regimes.
“In a team environment like this it is vital that each team member is vigilant about any deterioration in their health, and that they do not come into work if they feel unwell in any way. There are key symptoms associated with COVID-19 (new continuous dry cough, fever, breathing difficulties), but there are other more minor symptoms too and we don’t expect people to try to diagnose themselves. We are encouraging all those involved in the wagamama operation to use the NHS 111 online service if they feel unwell.”
The full list of planned openings for delivery and take-away can be found below.