Popular restaurant chain Wagamama has shared plans to open up to 10 new restaurants around the UK in a move which it said will create 500 jobs.

The pan-Asian restaurant chain opened its first new site of the year in Bentley Bridge in Wolverhampton at the end of January and has now shared that its demand from consumers was growing.

Wagamama is known for casual dining on bench seating and has more than 170 restaurants across the UK after first launching in London 32 years ago.

Wagamama to open 10 new restaurants in the UK

The brand is set to open sites this year in locations including St Enoch’s in Glasgow, Epsom, Doncaster, Chatham in Kent and Watford.

Wagamama's openings will create about 500 jobs including kitchen porters, waiters, chefs and general managers.

Chief executive Thomas Heier said 2023 had been an “exciting year” with the launch of new dishes on a Korean-inspired menu including vegan corn dogs, or K-dogs, and hot pots and rice bowls.

Discussing the openings, Mr Heier said: "Our teams have done an excellent job in continuing to elevate our guest experience and we very much look forward to welcoming more guests to our benches as we head into 2024."

Sales at Wagamama restaurants jumped by more than a 10th in the half-year to August, on a like-for-like basis compared with the same period the year before.

Wagamama’s owner The Restaurant Group (TRG) was bought by US private equity giant Apollo which agreed to buy the business for £701 million, including debts, in October.

It sparked a takeover battle for TRG, which also owns the Brunning and Price pub group, with Pizza Express owner Wheel Topco also considering making a bid for the group.

But it pulled out of a potential offer because of “market conditions”.

TRG last year agreed to sell off its loss-making restaurant chains Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquto to Big Table Group – the owner of Bella Italia, Las Iguanas and Banana Tree.

TRG said it would pay £7.5 million in cash to Big Table for it to buy its struggling leisure division.