YO! CVA approved

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

YO! CVA approved 19 restaurant closures Japanese sushi group

Related tags Sushi CVA Restaurant Coronavirus

YO! has confirmed it is to permanently shutter 19 sites after its Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) proposal was approved yesterday (1 September) by creditors.

The sushi-focused group says the CVA, which was announced last month​, will enable the business to make essential changes to its restaurant portfolio and adapt to the lasting challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Deloitte is supervising the CVA.

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 says the sites set to close are 'no longer financially viable' and have unsustainable rental costs in the current trading environment.

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

"These are exceptionally challenging times for our sector and we are pleased that our creditors have supported us in [yesterday's] vote." says YO! CEO Richard Hodgson.

"This will ensure YO! has a solid foundation to continue to adapt to the changes brought about by Covid-19, and allows us to focus on reopening remaining sites and rolling out our new restaurant model.

“I know this has been a difficult time for many of our team members and once again I want to thank everyone for their hard work and support throughout this process.”

Having closed its entire estate back in March as a result of the lockdown, YO! begun reopening sites last month 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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