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.
Operations in the United States and United Kingdom are very similar, but the menu had to be tweaked. The menu was adapted for the U.S. to have more rolls and spice. Free refills on soda and iced tea were added to meet U.S. consumer demands. The healthier menu offered by YO!Sushi fits perfectly with Americans’ emphasis on healthy eating.
“Our entry into the United States with the restaurant opening in Washington, D.C. has been extremely successful,” says Alison Vickers, business development director. “We are thrilled with our first franchisees who are growing aggressively in the D.C. area. Based on their success, we are actively seeking similar franchisees to open in other urban areas. We plan for another landmark year in 2013.”
YO!Sushi started the sushi revolution in London in 1997 by introducing the concept of a Japanese “kaiten” sushi bar that gave time-starved, hungry customers instant access to healthy sushi and other Japanese favorites via a conveyor belt traveling 3.1 inches per second that zig-zagged around diners. YO!Sushi serves sushi rolls, sashimi, Asian-inspired salads, and a large variety of classic, hot Japanese dishes on color/price-coded dishes. YO!Sushi operates 65 company-owned restaurants in the U.K., as well as more than a dozen franchised locations in Ireland, the Middle East, and the Oslo Airport in Norway.
YO!Sushi is searching for experienced multiunit franchisees. The company hopes to open between five and 10 locations within the next two years. As an urban concept, ideal YO!Sushi locations include high-visibility areas with strong foot traffic, including urban areas, suburban lifestyle centers, and college towns. The company is focused on cities like Boston, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, and Dallas.