London-based YO!Sushi opened its first U.S. location in Washington, D.C.’s Union Station in July 2012. The Washington, D.C. franchisee will open at least 10 restaurants in the mid-Atlantic corridor between Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. Their next restaurant is set to open in April of this year in Chinatown in Washington, D.C.
Aside from all being west of the Mississippi River, Denver; Waco, Texas; and Yuma, Arizona, have seemingly little in common. One is a thriving cosmopolitan metro nestled on the rim of the Rocky Mountains; one sits in the shadow of much larger and more heralded Lone Star markets; and the other perches quietly on the nation's southern border.
Each has its own charm and character, but all share one distinction: high potential for quick-service restaurant growth, according to QSR’s third-annual Growth 40 report.
Now that many domestic brands are looking overseas for growth opportunities—and with Americans’ taste for ethnic flavors continuing to grow—international quick-service and fast-casual chains are expanding their presence in the U.S. The many up-and-coming operators offer stiff competition to myriad U.S. chains, including those in the chicken, Asian, baked goods, and sandwich categories.
The stereotypical mom and pop sushi restaurant is dimly lit and darkly paneled. YO!Sushi is not a stereotypical mom and pop sushi restaurant. Brightly lit and colorfully decorated with reds, oranges, and warm cedar, the successful U.K. restaurant chain, which opened its first U.S. location inside Washington, D.C.’s bustling Union Station in July, is hoping its poppy aesthetic will upend expectations and attract diners.
In the highly competitive restaurant industry, where innovation reigns, a lot can happen in the span of half a decade. Five years ago, the quick-serve industry was a different place. Five Guys was mostly a regional player and the better-burger category had yet to explode. Chipotle started making headlines with its commitment to sustainable food. And operators were raving about hot trends like eco-friendly packaging and the renewed focus on coffee.
London-based YO!Sushi signed its first U.S. franchisee in 2011 and the company is piggybacking on that success for 2012.
YO!Sushi will open its first two American locations this year in Washington, D.C. with leases signed for at least one additional location. The company also plans to sign two to three franchise agreements for approximately 30 units by year’s end.
Fast-food chain YO! Sushi hopes never to buy a server again, according to its IT Manager Billy Waters, and is placing its bets on cloud computing to improve productivity.
Running Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Office and other applications on 7 year old servers was a cause of concern to YO! Sushi.
"The servers were reaching the end of their useful life and replacing them and upgrading our core office software would require substantial investment," Waters explains.
United Kingdom–based sushi concept YO!Sushi is crossing the pond and bringing its conveyor-belt operation to the U.S. after a deal was signed to open at least 10 units on the East Coast.
The fast casual, which is known for its sushi-lined belt that snakes around the dining room, will debut at Union Station in Washington, D.C., in early 2012.
Richard Pawlowski, owner of The Sushi Company of North America LLC, which signed the franchise deal, says YO!Sushi is a “very exciting concept” that has “proven itself through the recession.”