YO! Sushi is a company that owns, operates, and franchises conveyor belt sushi restaurants, principally in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Australia.
Number of locations
|United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Australia.|
|Richard Hodgson (CEO)|
|Revenue||£80 million (2015)|
Number of employees
|Parent||Mayfair Equity Partners|
YO! Sushi was founded in 1997, by British entrepreneur Simon Woodroffe. The current owner is Mayfair Equity Partners and members of the YO! Sushi Senior Management team. YO! Sushi opened its first restaurant in Soho, London in January 1997. A second restaurant followed opening in Harvey Nichols.
In 2000, Robin Rowland became CEO, and in 2002, YO! Sushi opened their first restaurant outside London, in Manchester's Selfridges. By 2003, the company had twelve restaurants open, and the first franchise opened in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
In April 2003, one scene from the movie Johnny English takes place in a restaurant of YO! Sushi. Johnny English gets his tie stuck in the conveyor belt. Two new franchises opened in 2007, one in Dublin, the other in Moscow. In April 2010, they opened their fiftieth company owned restaurant in Market Place, London.
In 2008, they became the first catering group to adopt the Food Standards Agency's traffic light colour coding system, which allows customers to see nutritional information about the food they are eating.
From 1 September 2009, the YO! Sushi in Whiteleys Shopping Centre launched its takeaway and delivery services, allowing customers to go into the restaurant and order their food or order online to get food delivered to their homes.
By 2014, the company had more than seventy restaurants. In October 2016, the company opened its first American stand alone restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts, and a few months later, in the Flatiron District in Manhattan, in March 2017. The company had five restaurants in North America, but all of them have since closed.
YO! Sushi specialises in delivering sushi to customers using the Japanese style 'kaiten' conveyor belt method. In each restaurant various sushi dishes and other Japanese cooked foods are prepared in a theater style kitchen in plain view of customers and then set on the thin conveyor belt.
The belt carries food around the restaurant in a circuit, allowing diners to pick any dish from the belt.
The restaurants are mostly based in the United Kingdom with the majority in London. Restaurants have also been opened in the Middle East in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait, with others in other countries such as Russia and Ireland.
In the United States, YO! Sushi has opened five restaurants: There was a YO! Sushi located at the Westfield Garden State Plaza shopping mall in Paramus, New Jersey, which is close to New York City. The location opened in May 2015, but it closed two years later in 2017. There was also another location in Sarasota, Florida.
Then, three more locations opened in Tampa, Florida, Short Hills, New Jersey at The Mall at Short Hills, and Woodbury Commons mall in Central Valley, New York. All of the locations in the United States were eventually closed by 2018. Mayfair Equity Partners acquired Canadas Bento Sushi in 2018.
The company's headquarters is on Farringdon Road, London, United Kingdom. The company offer 19 vegan items on their menu. At the PETA Vegan Food Awards 2015, the company's Tofu Katsu Curry won in the category Best Vegan Curry. The restaurant also provides classes in making sushi.
In November 2015, the Marine Conservation Society rated restaurants on the sustainability of their seafood. YO! Sushi served more species of seafood than the other chains surveyed, and still received a rating of 4.1 out of 5.0 which was among the highest ratings.
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- Smithers, Rebecca (18 November 2015). "More than half of UK's family restaurant chains serving unsustainable seafood". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 July 2017.