Wednesday, 13 December 2017

What is the chain 'Wagamama's' like when catering for allergies?

*Please note that whilst some chains of takeaways and restaurants do have a company-wide policy regarding how to handle allergens it has been brought to my attention that different locations can differ, whilst one location of a particular chain may be great with handling allergies a different location of the same chain may be somewhat clueless. I will be talking about the particular location/s of the chain I have visited and how I have found them. The particular food allergies that I suffer with are anaphylaxis to: peanuts, all tree nuts, crustaceans and molluscs.*

My second review will be that of Wagamama's. I have personal experience with: Glasgow City Centre, Edinburgh Lothian Road and Edinburgh Ocean Terminal. I've eaten many times in their chain and have had the same experiences in every location I've visited and every time I've visited. This blog will be focusing on my latest visit which was on 11th December 2017 at the Glasgow City Centre location. 

As soon as I walked in I alerted the server who sat us that I have several severe food allergies. They asked if gluten was an issue, the reason for this is they have a set menu for people with issues to gluten. I do not have an issue with gluten so they gave me their normal allergy folder along with one of their standard menus so I could compare what I decided on from their normal menu to what was in their allergen folder to see if I could eat it. Their allergen menu is very detailed and has not only if the food contains the allergen but also if the food may contain the allergen, if the food is cooked/prepared where allergenic ingredients are used and if they're able to modify the dish to exclude the allergen.

I was eating out with my boyfriend so we decided on 4 sides to share:

  • Pork Belly and Panko Apple Hirata Steamed Buns
  • Korean Barbecue Beef and Red Onion Hirata Steamed Buns
  • Bang Bang Cauliflower 
  • Pulled Pork Steamed Gyoza 
I decided on the Chicken Raisukaree as my main course. 

On checking the allergen folder I was happy to note that none of what was chosen contained, may contain or cooked/prepared in the same area as my allergens (tree nuts, peanuts, crustaceans and molluscs). 
The server came and on explaining I had several allergies he explained that he'd have to call his manager over as only the manager is allowed to take orders that involve any allergens. The manager arrived swiftly and asked what I'd like. He then compared what I'd decided on against the allergy folder to ensure that there would be any problems with what I'd wanted to order. Like myself he found no issues. 

On putting the order through he placed a note beside everything I'd ordered about my 4 allergies so as to alert the kitchen staff and try to limit any potential for cross contamination. The manager let me know that whilst they do everything they can to reduce the risk of cross contamination because there's allergenic ingredients in the kitchen they cannot say that the area is 100% free from allergens, this is a standard response I hear from everywhere I eat out so personally didn't worry me. 

The food arrived promptly and looked and smelled amazing. It tasted absolutely delicious too! I was happy to find that I had no issues with allergy-related problems.

Pork Belly and Panko Apple Hirata
Steamed Buns

Korean Barbecue Beef and Red Onion
Hirata Steamed Buns

Bang Bang Cauliflower

Pulled Pork Steamed Gyoza 

Chicken Raisukaree

My experiences at Wagamama's are always fantastic. They appear to have a company-wide policy that only the manager of the restaurant is allowed to take orders where someone has an allergy, I feel this is a great policy as who better to know about the allergy policies of the company than the manager themselves? It definitely put my mind at ease knowing that the manager themselves talks to you and tries to put your mind at ease. Their allergy folder is absolutely fantastic, it's one of the best allergy folders I've come across when eating out as it contains such details that also help reassure me that the company is taking allergies and anaphylaxis seriously and also shows that they want to try cater for everyone which shows they are very good with inclusion. I personally feel Wagamama's as a whole go above and beyond for their customers and always put the health of their consumers first. The fact the manager also goes through the allergy folder to double check everything you're wanting to order as it can be surprisingly easy to miss something or think something is safe that isn't, it definitely makes me feel a lot better about eating at Wagamama's. The fact that not only do they have a fantastic allergy folder but they also alert the kitchen to try minimise any risk of cross contamination is yet another thing that helps put people at ease when eating out. I highly recommend Wagamama's to people living with allergies as they truly do everything they can to try cater for you and include you.

If you'd like to check out their allergen menu before visiting please visit:

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