Reopening date announced for Bedford's Wagamama restaurant

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Wagamama has today announced the reopening of its Bedford dine-in restaurant, using "ingenious" Japanese sliding screens to keep diners safe.

The branch at Riverside Square, Bedford, will reopen on Monday, July 27.

The screens, inspired by Japanese partition designs, take advantage of the long Wagamama bench designs to ensure safe dining.

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The team at Wagamama used customer feedback to come up with the sliding screens, which sit on tiny rollers and can be moved up and down the full length of the benches.

Wagamama in Riverside SquareWagamama in Riverside Square
Wagamama in Riverside Square

Wagamama's director of design, 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”.

Wagamama CEO Emma Woods added: “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?

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"The team have 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.”

Wagamama reopened four trial sites to test the safety and efficiency of the designs, which were put in place to meet strict social distancing and increased hygiene measures.

By the end of August there will be 138 Wagamama restaurants open and all will participate in the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme.

Other measures the restaurant is taking to ensure guests stay safe include social distancing, queueing, disposable menus on placemats, staff wearing face visors, and the restaurants will also be cashless.

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