YO! Sushi opened its first restaurant in Soho, London in January 1997. A second restaurant followed opening in Harvey Nichols. By 2001 it became the market leader[peacock term] in sushi restaurants. In 2000, Robin Rowland became CEO and in 2002 YO! Sushi opened their first restaurant outside of London, in Manchester's Selfridges. By 2003, the company had 12 restaurants open, and the first franchise opened in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Two new franchises opened in 2007 - one in Dublin, the other in Moscow. In 2010, they opened their 50th 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 the 1st of September 2009, the YO! Sushi in Whiteley's 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. On 12 March 2010, it was announced YO! Sushi would be serving 6 new hot dishes.
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 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 for consumption. In order to indicate freshness, a label is applied to the lid of the dish to indicate when the dish must be consumed by.
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 one restaurant in Union Station in Washington, D.C., with another set to open in the city's Chinatown neighborhood in early 2013. However in 2014, the Union Station restaurant had closed, and the plans for the Chinatown restaurant had been changed, therefore making the Chinatown restaurant unopened. As of February 2015, there are no YO! Sushi restaurants in the United States or Washington D.C. The company's headquarters is located on Farringdon Road, London, UK.
A documentary aired on ITV in October 2009 showed that in two YO! Sushi restaurants sampled by undercover television reporters, food was being left for public consumption longer than the 2 hours claimed, and in some cases longer than the 4 hour deadline established in UK law by the Food Standards Agency.[better source needed]
YO! Sushi won two awards in 2010 for 'Best Restaurant Website in the World' at the Webby Awards: the main Judge's award (experts in the digital world) and the People's Voice award (voted by the public).
- "Company Overview of YO! Sushi Group Ltd.". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved November 2012.
- "Yo! Sushi Food Case Study" (PDF). UK Government Intellectual Property Office. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
- Yo! Sushi sold for £51m / Telegraph
- Sushi for every one / The Independent
- YO! Sushi adopts traffic light labeling / Eat Out Magazine
- YO! Sushi launches takeaway service / Eat Out Magazine
- YO! Sushi launches six hot dishes / Eat Out Magazine
- YO! Sushi Restaurant Locations
- YO! Sushi opens first outlet in Dubai / Ameinfo
- Panera, YO! Sushi Under Construction in Chinatown / The 42
- "Dishing the Dirt". ITV Press Centre. 13 October 2009. Archived from the original on 8 November 2009. Retrieved November 2012.
- YO! Sushi - Webby Awards / Evolving Digital Agency
- YO! grabs top web awards / Peach Report