Wagamama food-to-go offshoot launches with laksa and okonomiyaki

The restaurant chain’s new grab-and-go concept, Mamago, opened this week, with both breakfast and lunch options part of the menu.

27 November 2019

Japanese restaurant chain Wagamama have launched their spin-off sister concept, Mamago, with the high-street brand heading down the popular grab-and-go route with both breakfast and lunch menus led by wraps, rice bowls/pots and noodles.

Wagamama, who first announced plans for the concept in March, have adapted some of their classic dishes to be more accessible for the time-poor consumer as well as releasing “new and innovative, nutritionally-balanced and flavour-packed dishes built for breakfast and lunch.”

It’s an all-action end to 2019 for the brand, who were acquired by The Restaurant Group for £556m in October last year, with two more Wagamama restaurant sites set to open before the year is out. The company also announced that turnover increased 11% to £92.6m in the thirteen weeks to 29 September 2019, up from £83.4m in the same period last year.

Mamago arrives into a thriving grab-and-go market which, over the next three years, is expected to add £2bn to its value, reaching £23bn in 2022, according to our colleagues at MCA Insight.

MCA’s exclusive research with HIM this year also revealed that food-to-go is outperforming the overall eating-out market and is set to account for almost a quarter of total eating-out spend.

Increasing customer demand for greater convenience and accessibility continues to drive trends from retail to foodservice, with Wagamama’s offshoot looking to take advantage of the more adventurous consumer with a raft of innovative options.

Beef brisket kimchi firecracker rice bowl

Mamago mornings

Breakfast innovation is everywhere, from sharing brunch concepts to the kaya craze, with bookings in the UK more doubling with a 65% increase between 2016 and 2018 (Opentable).

Mamago have a range of coconut milk-based rice pots and porridges for those after sweet breakfast options. A recent survey from Streetbees found that consumers are most likely to choose porridge/cereal/muesli for grab-and-go (59%), with the four multi-grain coconut porridge options all containing rolled oats, red quinoa, chia seed and linseed porridge with coconut m*lk.

Mamago’s yuzu marmlade, mandarin and coconut vegan rice pot is the standout of the three available, made with a coconut yoghurt alternative, brown rice, shredded apple, yuzu marmalade and mandarin. Five of the seven rice pots and porridges are suitable for vegans.

The breakfast menu also has three breakfast wraps, including an egg and avocado with kimchi, baby spinach and miso mayonnaise, all in a pumpkin and turmeric wrap. Three okonomiyaki - Japanese savoury omelettes – are also here with one containing avocado, baby spinach, red chillies, crispy onions and an okonomi sauce (a sweet-savoury Japanese condiment similar to a thick Worcestershire sauce).

A selection of fruit pots and snacks such as white chocolate ginger raisins and a trail nut mix completes breakfast offerings at Mamago.

Chicken katsu rice bowl

Creative katsu

Wagamama have taken their popular chicken katsu dish and created a rice bowl, a wrap and a salad on their lunch menu. The latter, a ‘naked salad’ with chicken thigh, katsu sauce, baby spinach, brown rice, red quinoa, Asian-style slaw, edamame, pickled carrot, red chillies, crispy onions and ponzu dressing, taps into ongoing healthier eating trends.

Including the katsu options, there are three rice bowls, four salads and four wraps, with the rest of the menu made up of sides/snacks/desserts as well as three different bowls of Wagamama’s signature ‘mama’ noodles with various toppings and three golden laksas (chicken, prawn or tofu).

These golden lasksas (black charcoal soba noodles in a yellow curry broth) all come with a base layer of bok choi, mangetout, spring onions, mixed sesame seeds, red chillies, crispy onions and coriander.

Laska is typically found in Southeast Asian cuisine, such as Singaporean and Malaysian, with food from countries in the Asia Pacific region one of our key trend predictions for 2020.

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