By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 08:28, 05 June 2020
wagamama is to celebrate the first year of London’s Transgender Pride by introducing gender-neutral bathrooms.
wagamama has today announced that it will introduce the gender-neutral bathrooms in as many 40 per cent of its restaurants across the UK in time for the inaugural London Transgender Pride event on September 14.
The Asian-inspired restaurant has also pledged its commitment that ALL new Wagamama restaurants will incorporate the bathrooms as a standard design feature. The first site to be converted will be wagamama’s test kitchen noodle lab, soho.
In addition to the 50 restaurants that will be converted to individually-contained, gender-neutral cubicles by September 14, wagamama has also committed that as the rest of its restaurants are refurbished it will endeavour to put gender-neutral bathrooms in place wherever practical.
Stonewall estimates there are around 600,000 people in the UK who identify as transgender or non-binary and this year’s first ever London Transgender Pride will bring those in and around the capital together to celebrate and lift the community at a yet-to-be-announced venue in Hackney.
The creation of the event follows the success of similar Trans Pride events in Brighton and Dublin in 2018 and in addition to trans and non-binary people will welcome allies, friends and families to celebrate with them.
The move comes as wagamama reaffirms its support for its LGBTQ+ guests and colleagues with a broad range of Pride celebrations under the banner #allin.
Inspired by Queer youth worker, activist and writer Tanya Compas, wagamama is also hosting a series of ‘mentor match-ups’. The first taking place ahead of London Pride in July
Tanya, a caseworker at The Albert Kennedy Trust (akt), approached wagamama in search of a space to bring together young LGBTQ+ people and connect them with leaders and role models from the LGBTQ+ community via a ’speed mentoring’ initiative.
She said: “As someone who came into the LGBTQ+ community in my mid 20’s, without knowing anybody from the community itself, over the past few years I have built up a strong network of other LGBTQ+ people who I am now lucky enough to call my friends and family.
I want to be able to introduce the incredible people I have met with other young LGBTQ+ people to show them that they are not alone, that there is space for them and most importantly show them the power of existing loudly as proud members of the LGBTQ+ community.
I couldn’t think of a better place to hold the speed mentoring initiative. The wagamama team have been very loud with their support for the LGBTQ+ community and have gone all in. I’m looking forward to expanding this initiative and creating further opportunities for young LGBTQ+ people to connect with role models they can relate to”
Ross Farquhar, Chief Marketing Officer for wagamama, said: “wagamama has always prided itself on being a welcoming space regardless of gender or sexuality, and encouraged our guests and colleagues to be all in and proud of who they are. As the world moves on, and in the spirit of good change (or ‘kaizen’), we have to keep updating what that means for both our colleagues and guests.
Today Stonewall estimates there are around 600,000 people in the UK who identify as transgender or non-binary, and those people should feel as at home in wagamama as the rest of the LGBTQ+ community has for the last two and a half decades.”
The campaign will include
A total donation of £15k to wagamama’s six pride charity partners
These pride charity partners are represented in their local wagamama through the iconic ‘rainbow benches’. Guests can find these in wagamama Noodle Lab in Soho London, Birmingham New Street, Brighton, Edinburgh St Andrew Square + Manchester St Peters Square. A sixth rainbow bench will be installed at wagamama’s soon-to-open, Old Street London
In further support of Trans Pride and recognising wagamama’s desire to be a safe space regardless of race, religion or sexuality, the rainbow has been refreshed and benches in key Pride restaurants will be wrapped in a design that incorporates pastel blue, pink and white (from the Trans Pride Flag) as well as brown and black (supporting BAME inclusion).
Pre-Pride meet-ups will take place across the country – an initiative establishing wagamama restaurants as meeting points on the day of pride parades. These pre-pride meetups are a way for people in the LGBTQ+ community to connect with wagamama team members and others attending the meet up and attend the parade together. The meet-ups were created after collaborator Tanya Compas explained that people within the community are often in need of a safe space to meet before the parade, whether that’s because they don’t have anyone to go with, it’s their first time or they simply need a space to escape if the celebrations become overwhelming.
wagamama is working with Tanya Compas and akt to host ‘mentor match ups’, to bring together young LGBTQ+ people and LGBTQ+ role models to show the younger generation the power of community and establish long term support networks that can exist far beyond the mentor match ups. The first will take place at Noodle Lab in Soho, London, with hopes to roll it out as a regular initiative nationwide.
wagamama: our story and our food ‘kaizen’, meaning ‘good change’ is the philosophy that sits right at our heart. It shapes every dish we create, and pushes us to find better ways in all that we do. We’re restless spirits, forever creating and making things better.
We’ve been practising kaizen since 1992, when we opened our first doors in London’s Bloomsbury. Inspired by fast-paced, Japanese ramen bars and a celebration of Asian food, wagamama burst into life. We set out to create a unique way of eating; bringing the fresh, nourishing, flavours of Asia to all.
A warming bowl of bold ramen, teppan dishes griddled to perfection or if you would rather rice, you’re in luck – our menu features many Japanese favourites. Fresh, authentic menus that are updated seasonally. wagamama is a staple of modern Asian cuisine
In the name of kaizen, our standards are high. Our ingredients are cooked fresh, served fresh. Every bowl and plate that we fill with them is served as soon as it’s ready. The colours and aromas, flavours and spices are always at their best when they touch your table.