YO! eyes 19 closures as it launches CVA

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

YO! eyes 19 closures as it launches CVA sushi Coronavirus

Related tags Sushi CVA Coronavirus

YO! has set out a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) proposal that will see 19 of its sites closed, with a loss of up to 250 jobs.

The sushi-focused group says the current climate and 'changes in consumer behaviour' caused by the Coronavirus pandemic meant that rents at some restaurants were 'unsustainable'.

As well as the 19 restaurants that have been earmarked for closure, YO! will also dispose of nine sites it no longer operates but continues to hold a lease for.

The group's current UK estate includes 59 restaurants and 10 concessions.

It is understood the closures will see 250 jobs cut across the group, although YO! says efforts will be made to redeploy team members where possible. 

"Like the rest of the sector, we need to take decisive action to adapt to the lasting changes that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about," says YO! CEO Richard Hodgson.

"While it's been a very difficult decision to make and I am very sorry that it will mean losing many of our team members, a CVA has become an essential measure to secure our business for the future, and enable us to protect as many jobs as possible."

Creditors will vote on the CVA proposal on 1 September.

Having closed its entire estate back in March as a result of the lockdown, YO! has now begun reopening sites with a modified operating procedure that requires diners to pre-order dishes. 

In recent years, prior to the onset of the pandemic, the business has sought to diversify its portfolio away from conveyor-belt restaurants​.

It has also dropped the ‘sushi’ moniker from its name, and expanded in to retail.

YO! is one of the largest sushi companies outside Japan following its acquisitions of Canada’s Bento Sushi for £59.2m in 2017; Waitrose supplier Taiko Foods in 2018; and merger with US sushi kiosk business Snowfox earlier this year.

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