It has been revealed that national restaurant chain YO! Sushi no longer wants customers to think of it as a sushi restaurant, as part of a major rebrand of the group.
The Japanese restaurant brand, which operates close to 100 restaurants across 10 countries, officially dropped the ‘sushi’ from its logo three years ago, now simply being called ‘YO!’ The change in name was the beginning of a continued effort by the brand to not just be known as a sushi restaurant, with YO!’s official website stating that there are “more than 100 delicious Japanese street food dishes” on its menu.
The group has appointed creative agency Pablo to communicate the message to its customer base that YO! has diversified its menu and product range beyond just sushi. The move has likely been spurred on by the growing popularity of Japanese food in the UK, with several of London’s most popular restaurants taking their inspiration from the country – from the high-end likes of world famous Nobu to mid-market mini-chains such as Roka and Flesh & Buns.
YO!'s menu was originally best known for its sushi
YO! has been pivoting away from its sushi offering for some time now. The group’s latest London opening in Westfield Shepherd’s Bush has ditched the signature bright orange conveyor belt of sushi, in an attempt to emphasise to customers that sushi only makes up 30% of YO!’s menu, and that there are several other non-sushi dishes to choose from.
YO! posted a 5% jump in turnover for 2018, but a 29% dip in UK earnings. However, the business is still valued at a hefty $425m, and boasts a range of supermarket sauces, as well as continuing to open new locations.
Non-sushi dishes on the menu include a chicken burger bao
The shift in the restaurant’s brand strategy comes at a time when high street chains across the UK are struggling. In recent times, Jamie Oliver’s restaurant empire has collapsed, while once successful chains such as Byron Burger and Carluccio’s have all suffered closures. YO!’s move away from its signature dish and diversification of its menu is likely an attempt to avoid suffering a similar fate as some of its contemporaries.
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