Wagamama is famous for its tasty food and store layout which involves sitting on communal benches. This type of setting is less conducive to social distancing than more traditional options.
However, Wagamama is trailing a number of stores across the UK using a new method to enforce social distancing.
The first restaurant to open will be at the Royal Festival Hall in central London on Saturday July 4 and will include a wide variety of innovative ideas to keep customers and team members safe.
The first site will then be followed by three others at the Trafford Centre, Stevenage and Swindon from Monday July 6.
The restaurants will be offering sliding screens to keep diners safe.
The screens, inspired by Japanese partition designs, can slide along the benches.
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Design Director Mark Standing said: “Sliding screens (shoji) are at the very heart of the Japanese architectural aesthetic. They have been used for hundreds of years to divide spaces in buildings and rooms.
“I took my inspiration for the design of screen dividers for our long sharing tables and benches from this tradition”.
CEO Emma Woods continued: “The main question we have been working on as a team is how can our guests feel safe but still have a communal Wagamama experience, sitting on our benches. The team has applied our philosophy of kaizen – good change – to this challenge and I am delighted we have found a design solution which provides social distancing for our guests in a way which is true to the design ethos of the brand.
“We are looking forward to getting our guests back in and obtaining their feedback in the first 18 sites. If these tests go well, we will reopen the remainder of our restaurants throughout August and September.”
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