Wagamama has long term ambitions to expand to 200 restaurants in the UK, with ten further openings lined up for FY25.

In 2022 subsidiary accounts, published on Tuesday, the Pan-Asian restaurant chain said it had ”clear visibility of a profitable openings programme over the next three years with a healthy pipeline in place” having opened six sites in FY23 and a further ten planned in FY24.  

The business said it had been investing in long-term growth opportunities, and openings in the last four years, excluding central London sites, had continued to be strong, achieving a return of between 35 and 40% in FY22.

The two central London sites opened during this period were impacted by the changes in working patterns affecting central London, it said. 

For the 52 weeks ending 1 January 2023, Wagamama achieved like-for-like sales growth of 8% in FY22, representing a 3% outperformance versus the market.

The business reported revenue of  £419.8m, compared to £345.8m the previous year.  Adjusted EBITDA was £58.5m compared to £68.1m the previous year.

Six regional openings in 2022 benefited from improved commercial terms and were expected to deliver returns of c.31% in FY23. These new regional sites offer large virgin catchments with relatively low fixed costs, good incentives and strong brand awareness and demand, the company said. 

“These exceptionally strong returns achieved by our regional openings gives us confidence to continue to invest in our expansion programme despite the recent elevated level of inflationary pressure in utility and supply chain costs this year.”

Long-term ambitions include ”significant measured roll-out potential” to expand in the UK to a targeted c.200 restaurants, a proactive plan to deliver EBITDA margin accretion over three years, and continuous operational initiatives to drive customer footfall and selective price increases whilst preserving a value for money offer.

Following on from the Covid-19 pandemic, the business said 2022 was a year which presented new challenges, primarily in the form of significant inflationary pressures which have impacted the entire casual dining sector.

There were a number of actions taken over the course of the year to mitigate the effects from the elevated cost inflation; including working with supply chain partners to lock in short-term contracts in order to benefit from reduced inflation, and conducting a review of central cost base. 

“We have developed plans which are focused on achieving significant EBITDA margin accretion over a three-year time horizon, with a number of proactive initiatives now in place to drive the greatest value from our portfolio, expanding where we see attractive returns whilst effectively managing both pricing and costs.”

On 21 December 2023, the ultimate parent company, The Restaurant Group plc, was acquired by private equity fund Apollo, and was subsequently de-listed from the London Stock Exchange and renamed The Restaurant Group Limited.