We love Wagamama and personally, I have been eating at these restaurants for years and introduced my children about 3 years ago. Ever since, we have enjoyed lunches, dinners and take outs and when the girls are with their dad for a weekend; I love to take myself off to the cinema and grab a Wagamama vegan take out as a treat. I also use it as a reward for the girls when they have been really good.
I dine there with friends and family. It literally is my go-to place. Why? Because they have an amazing menu. They cater for pretty much everyone. Before the vegan menu was launched, I was able to look at the allergy list and figure out what they could make for me that would be vegan.
Back in January, we went out for a celebratory dinner, just the three of us. We pretty much order the same thing each time and they have got to know us in our local restaurant so the girls always feel at home when we visit.
I always order the Yasai Gyoza because they are simply scrumptious and as I was enjoying my serving, I bit into the 4th dumpling only to find that there was meat inside this one. I naturally went into shock and didn’t know what to do. My original thought was that this dumpling was wrong but I didn’t think for one moment it would be meat inside it. I quickly swallowed and downed loads of water. I started to feel very sick and as I looked inside the other half of the dumpling it appeared to be pork. In hindsight, I wish I had just spat it out but I didn’t want to be gross at the table.
I had alerted one of the staff and sat back down feeling sad, sick, guilty and heartbroken. I had just consumed an animal. It made me feel like everything I had done to prevent consuming animal products had gone out of the window. I go to a lot of effort to ensure I don’t consume anything derived from animals or tested on animals. I have been a vegetarian for 6 years and vegan for nearly 2 so this came as a major blow to me.
One of the staff there came to check I was ok and could clearly see I was upset. I was fighting back tears and I wasn’t able to throw up as it was just me with the girls and I didn’t want to leave them at the table and or see me sticking my fingers down my throat in order to be sick.
The lady that came to check on me initially said we won’t charge you for the dumplings and then more she could see how upset I was, she decided that the bill needed to be cleared and felt really bad. I just wanted to get out of there. I was so angry and upset I decided to tweet and send an Instagram message. Previously, I had always spoken so highly of Wagamama it was only right to address the issue I was currently experiencing.
The lady gave me vouchers to use to come back again and honestly, I said that there was no point because I don’t plan to return.
After a few days and thanks to Wagamama Twitter and Instagram folks forwarding my details to their HQ, the lady called to see how I was and that they are looking into what had happened and how they were going to rectify the situation.
After a few weeks, I got a call from the lady from our local eatery who suggested we came back in, have a tour of the kitchen and have a complimentary meal to see if they could restore my faith in them.
We decided to go during the Easter holidays and take some friends. I had a tour and chat with the head chef (who I happen to know), we discussed what might have happened and I was assured it was a one-off and that they are putting things in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again. This includes a manager preparing vegan and allergy meals which is great to hear. It sounds to me it would be virtually impossible for it to happen again.
(Image above is of vegan Yasai Gyoza)
I ordered the dumplings again as these are a firm favourite. I was very cautious and did practically dissect them but I have since become confident in them again, especially after being told that all the vegan ones have a herb sprinkled on them. I wish I had known that at the time as I may have noticed but I know for the future.
It seems that it was a human error and they have insured the new staff have been retrained and further training has been out in place and like I mentioned above, all manager made vegan and allergy dishes now.
I was super impressed by the way everything was handled and how they went to an effort to gain my trust as a customer again. Since our complimentary meal, I have been back twice and plan to keep going back as they really do make such delicious food.
We really love going to Wagamama and it would have been such a shame to never return. I am just so pleased they have taken the matter seriously and made a conscious effort to resolve this. Their vegan menu is fantastic, I really couldn’t rate it highly enough.
It still is very upsetting what happened but I have to try and see past this now. What’s done is done and I can only keep being active and passionate about veganism. But overall, they dealt with the situation really well and I was left feeling more than happy to return.