Yo! Sushi thrown £13m funding lifeline

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2 min read
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/03/15: Exterior view of Yo! Sushi in London, UK. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/03/15: Exterior view of Yo! Sushi in London, UK. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The owner of high street chain YO! Sushi has been thrown a funding lifeline from its shareholders in order to help it weather the pandemic, following a particularly tough year for hospitality.

The £13m ($17.8m) cash injection came after the restaurant was forced to shutter a third of its sites, according to documents published on Companies House. It was approved for infrastructure improvements and changes to the conveyor belt system which has so far been YO! Sushi’s trademark in the UK.

US parent company Snowfox received the funds following a restructuring deal, which was approved by landlords and other creditors.

Over the summer, news broke that the chain would move to slice hundreds of jobs and close 19 sites through a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). It came amid warning cries from a host of other high street stalwarts who had been forced to reevaluate their footprints amid the UK’s shuttered economy. 250 jobs were lost at YO! Sushi at the time.

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme introduced by chancellor Rishi Sunak over the summer seemed to be a lifeline for many firms, however it has since been credited with an increase in virus transmissions.

Snowfox also secured a £10m debt facility with its banking lenders.

“When lots of restaurants and kiosks are closed and your revenue has all but disappeared, there is still a cost base and liabilities to pay so we needed to inject that money,” Richard Hodgson, CEO of Yo! Sushi said in comments reported by The Telegraph.

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He also said that due to the furlough scheme the restaurant group was able to retain a significant portion of its workforce, particularly workers from overseas.

Against the backdrop of the pandemic, the company’s conveyor belt method had to be re-thunk. The group implemented a belt with a traffic light system, to send meals directly to customers eating at its restaurants, after its previous conveyor belt model was thwarted by new safety regulations. Hodgson said this had meant both cost savings and cut food waste.

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