Wagamama opened its first restaurant in Bloomsbury, London in 1992, inspired by traditional Japanese Ramen bars offering fresh Japanese-inspired food in a friendly, vibrant setting. It has grown to become an award-winning series of restaurants, spanning 17 countries, employing 3,500 people.
“FileMaker and Property Tracker mean our entire project team is working together, towards the same goal.” – Sharon Cawthorne, Property Director, Wagamama
Wagamama serves up rapid expansion with FileMaker
Central document depository and project management system for restaurant roll outs
- Wagamama serves up rapid expansion with FileMaker.
- Central document depository and project management system for restaurant roll outs.
- Single source for project information; Automated document management; Automated milestone reminders help keep projects on time; Instant view of project expenses, improving cost tracking
Wagamama has seen terrific growth since it began, now boasting 91 restaurants across the UK with 119 additional restaurants in 16 more countries. The chain has a distinct identity which new stores must create before they can open, in addition to developing kitchen facilities capable of supporting heavy peak time demands and meeting local regulations.
Wagamama’s fast expansion has made managing store openings increasingly complicated. The pace of fit out projects is increasingly tight and several sites are opening at any given time, meaning multiple projects need to be managed in parallel.
Wagamama needed to find a system and process through which project managers could automate as much of the management of openings as possible to allow them to focus on ensuring that deadlines were being met and costs regulated. A major issue that needed to be addressed was the volume of paperwork generated by any one project and how that could be kept organised and secure.
The chief issue Wagamama faced was that the data it needed to store was largely unstructured. It could be anything from invoices or planning certification to restaurant blueprints or photos of installs. Each piece was vital to a project and could be a significant setback if lost.
Our country wide restaurant roll out program is dependent on a number of critical factors and we needed a system to ensure that anyone involved in our development program was properly co-ordinated. FileMaker and Property Tracker provided us with the centralised secure system we needed. It links all of our project team together and it ensures we all work toward the same goal.Sharon Cawthorne, Property Director, Wagamama
The FileMaker solution:
Wagamama approached IT Architecture, a London based architectural design practice that takes a technology led approach to managing its projects, to handle the IT behind the chain’s new fit outs.
IT Architecture developed Property tracker, a bespoke platform built on FileMaker, from its years of experience as an architect in the field of managing fit out projects. Property tracker was designed to support restaurant fit outs and their associated processes through an easy to use automated project management database.
“Everyone at IT Architecture is technology savvy, and we quickly realised that, given the right software, we could automate much of the more problematic admin. FileMaker proved flexible enough for us to create a system bespoke to restaurant fit outs.” Ian Thompson, Owner, IT Architecture.
IT Architecture instituted the FileMaker solution at the outset of its work with Wagamama, after tailoring it to meet the restaurant chain’s needs. The system quickly became Wagamama’s prime depository of data and records from a site, recording dates, capital expenditure orders and deliveries. Areas where it is vital that information is organised and quickly accessible such as landlords’ contact details, statutory regulation approvals, planning applications and finance information are given specified areas in the system, making them easily visible. Wagamama’s ability to access Property Tracker through FileMaker Go on iPads, plus the ability to easily create reports, print them out or email them to team members, all through the single FileMaker based solution made handling information easier than ever.
Wagamama’s restaurant fit out projects don’t only produce text based information, but a range of objects from certificates, to blueprints, to photos of fittings, all of which can be stored within Property Tracker to make it a single record of everything related to a site.
These features would fulfil Wagamama’s most basic needs but Property Tracker also acts as a project management system for site fit outs by tracking costs and expected project milestones. This means the system will send out automated reminder emails at key times, ensuring projects are realised within agreed timescales. At the same time project managers can easily download spending reports from the FileMaker-based solution to ensure projects don’t go over budget.
- Collaborative capabilities and mobile capabilities mean everyone involved in the project can add their documentation to the system and instantly access the documents they need to from anywhere and alerts reach the right people at the right time. Everyone who needs information around a project can access it instantly.
- IT Architecture has been working with Wagamama for nine months and the FileMaker solution has already become central to managing the company’s expansion. Wagamama holds weekly acquisition meetings to monitor the status of its new restaurants, where project leads present reports created by Property Tracker, to ensure their fit outs are on time and on budget.
- In its nine month tenure with Wagamama, Property Tracker has assisted in 40 restaurant roll outs across the UK and use of Property Tracker has been extended to the United States, where Wagamama is looking to expand its footprint.