Wagamama shuts Southbank restaurant as administrators take over

Clay Lucas

Japanese restaurant chain Wagamama has gone into voluntary administration, and its Southbank venue in Melbourne has been shut down.

Administrator KPMG took control of the business on Tuesday.

Staff at the restaurant chain received news that the company behind Wagamama had gone into administration on Thursday and Friday.

KPMG partner and administrator Ian Hall said the Southbank restaurant had been closed soon after the business was taken over. "The reason being was that it was not profitable," he said.

Wagamama in Australia had 10 restaurants, and – except for the Southbank venue – all will continue to operate so the adminstrator can attempt to find a buyer. Its other Melbourne restaurants are in Flinders Lane in the CBD, and at Chadstone Shopping Centre.

"We are continuing to trade them," Mr Hall said. "It's business as usual, and it's early stages at this point."

Wagamama launched in Britain in the 1990s and franchised operation of its noodle chain to a company called CLB in Australia.

The first Wagamama opened in Melbourne in 2004, in St Kilda. The Southbank outlet opened in 2011.

A statement from KPMG also said that the administrators for CLB were working with Wagamama's landlords, suppliers and employees so the business could continue to trade.

"KPMG expects to report to creditors in late November. In the meantime, for customers, it should be largely business as usual," the statement said.

The Wagamama group issed a statement in relation to "the recent news regarding Edible Concepts Holdings, wagamama's Australian franchisee."

"The wagamama group is supportive of the process to ensure the franchise is well placed for future growth. It firmly believes that there is significant potential for the iconic brand in the Australian marketplace, which is reinforced by strong research results amongst consumers and looks forward to continuing to offer its Australian customers the unique wagamama experience."