Sliding screens at wagamama to keep diners safe.
By Sharon Wilson National restaurant chain wagamama has announced plans for to reopen using sliding screens to keep diners safe. The screens, inspired by Japanese partition designs, sit on tiny rollers. They can move up and down the full length of the signature wagamama benches separating parties of guests. wagamama will reopen four trial sites to test the safety and efficiency of the designs put in place to meet strict social distancing and increased hygiene measures. The first restaurant to open will be at the Royal Festival Hall in central London on Saturday, July 4. and will be followed by three others at the Trafford Centre, Stevenage and Swindon from Monday, July 6. Other safety measures include socially-distanced queueing, disposable menus and cashless payments. A pay-on-phone mechanic at the end of the meal will minimise staff contact and adhere to the government’s request of taking the name and phone number of at least one person in the group visiting the restaurant. If these initial test and learn sites prove successful wagamama plans to have 18 restaurants open by the end of July and then all restaurants open by early September. 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.” CEO Emma Woods said: “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.”