The Challenge

The Japanese inspired restaurant chain, originally established by Allan Yau in London’s Bloomsbury in 1992, has been owned by private equity firm Duke Street Capital since 2011.  Having opened a further 39 restaurants in 3 years, taking them to 107 outlets, the owners planned to open a further 15 restaurants per year for the next 4 years. To help implement this, they appointed Jane Holbrook as CFO in April 2014.  Jane had previous experience of working with Procure4 at Bramwell, Caprice Holdings and Gondola Holdings (Pizza Express, Ask, Zizzi).

By July 2014, Jane and the rest of the wagamama board challenged Procure4 to help them significantly reduce their cost base during 2014/15 across all spend categories (whilst maintaining or even enhancing their consumer proposition) and to significantly improve the costs of their capital spend programme.  They called this project Kaizen, a Japanese word meaning constant improvement and regeneration.

The Approach

Procure4 undertook a total spend review, challenging existing suppliers, spend management approach and operating models to create saving opportunities. Such opportunities were prioritised according to how easily deliverable and sustainable the potential CBR was likely to be. 

The focus was to deliver as much as possible in that fiscal year, so annualised benefits would be delivered during 2015/16.  The output of this scoping work was a saving plan per category with clear milestones, base and stretch targets and Approach Strategy documents. A target ‘CBR’ plan was agreed, which included some identified Quick Wins. Our Category Leaders worked closely with wagamama’s Supply Chain team and other identified stakeholders to deliver this Plan. 

Categories addressed ranged from key ingredients such as chicken and flat iron steak to beer and wine, insurance, laundry and capital spend on property (main contractors, furniture, kitchen equipment and signage). Every area of spend was considered with category specialists deployed to scope and deliver the CBR, whilst leaving in place the infrastructure for wagamama to manage the supply base going forwards.  This was particularly important to wagamama who were keen that they were left with a lasting legacy of procurement benefits, know-how and suitable processes at the project exit.

The Results

The project team addressed all of the procurement spend and delivered on average over 10% savings. There was also margin enhancement delivered on sales of beer and soft drinks, through the introduction of several new products and consolidation of the two main beer brands, plus up-sizing of bottles. 

Ad hoc negotiation support was also provided as required; for example, kitchen equipment contracts were extended for a further 3 years at no extra cost despite a rising market. 

The wagamama board were delighted with the over-delivery of the project and have continued to engage on new activity with Procure4 as their business develops and grows.


Key Facts

140+ Number of UK Locations
3 Number of Years Kitchen Equipment Price Fixed for
10% CBR Delivered

Testimonial from wagamama

Procure4 were engaged by wagamama to work with my team on a number of different projects with the aim of getting great value whilst maintaining challenging quality measures. This was to include main contractors, kitchen design & installation, signage and furniture. I found them to be extremely professional, engaging and energetic. They demonstrated substantial knowledge of each category, listening to our opinions and most importantly, paying attention to our service and delivery requirements.
For furniture there were a few challenges around ensuring quotes had like-for-like specifications. Procure4 worked with me and my team to hold supplier open days and visited contractors’ premises to ensure certainty that what was being quoted for would meet our exacting requirements. The final outcome delivered a great result for the business and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Procure4 to anyone.

Tom Green, Head of Construction - wagamama

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