Wagamama licence bid heralds move to open new restaurant in Westfield Derby
JAPANESE restaurant and noodle bar chain Wagamama looks set to open an outlet in Derby following a six-year wait by city officials.
Wagamama has heralded its arrival by submitting a drinks licence application to Derby City Council for premises in the Westfield Derby shopping centre.
A notice informing the public of the application has also been put up in the window of the unit, which was formerly the Sony Centre.
The unit Wagamama is expected to take became available when Raresupply Ltd, which trades as the Sony Centre, went into administration in January and administrators Deloitte shut all outlets in Derby, Nottingham, Leicester and Lincoln.
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A spokesman for Westfield Derby confirmed that it was in negotiations to bring Wagamama to the city.
Wagamama has around 100 UK restaurants, including eateries in Nottingham, Leicester and Sheffield.
The company opened its first restaurant in 1992 in London and it now has outlets in 17 countries.
Derby has been hoping to attract a Wagamama restaurant ever since Westfield Derby opened.
Before the £340 million centre opened in 2007, Marketing Derby revealed plans to attract eight major stores – on top of the 150 that were to open in Westfield – and Wagamama was on the list.
The list was compiled by John Forkin, managing director of Marketing Derby, an organisation that promotes Derby as a place to invest.
The others were clothes stores Primark, GAP and Hobbs, shoe shop Timberland and eateries Strada, Cafe Rouge and Pret A Manger.
At the time, Wagamama told the Derby Telegraph that the restaurant chain aimed to come to the city but that it would "need to look at the level of competition in the city and its demographics".
Mr Forkin said: "This looks like really good news for Derby. For some time, we have been trying to attract premium brands to the city centre and with some success. We have been courting Wagamama for some time – it was a question of choosing the right time and venue.
"One thing we can guarantee Wagamama is that, once its restaurant opens, it will be full.
"When we have questioned people about what brands they would like to see in Derby, Wagamama has been consistently at the top."
No-one from Wagamama was available yesterday to talk about its plans for a restaurant in Westfield Derby.
Its arrival would be a further boost to Derby's restaurant scene.
Restaurant chain Cosmo is in the final stages of a £1 million refurbishment of the former Zanzibar nightclub in London Road, turning it into an all-you-can-eat restaurant that can accommodate 330 diners.