Casual dining concept YO! Sushi has merged with one of its largest rival Japanese operations in the US, paving the way for expansion into the foodservice and consumer markets.
Facilitated by Mayfair Equity Partners, the firm will acquire US brand SnowFox to add to a fast-growing portfolio that also includes Bento Sushi and Taiko Foods. While both will report to Yo Sushi's Richard Hodgson, the firm's chairman Jim Kim will serve on the board of the four-concept restaurant group, while president Stacy Kwon will become co-president for US operations.
Before the merger, the firm operated 845 full-service sushi bars, predominantly in US supermarkets, as well as wholesale, university and corporate settings.
Yo! Sushi has since said it aims to continue these operations under the brand, while expanding into Waitrose and Tesco as well as growing its foodservice offerings.
Richard Hodgson, CEO of YO! Sushi, said: "We are delighted to be partnering with SnowFox given its high brand penetration, recognised product and service quality, as well as excellent industry relationships.
"Building on from the successful integration of Bento Sushi starting in 2017, YO! will look to replicate this approach with SnowFox as it continues to execute its diversification strategy.
"By expanding its geographical presence and offering, the expanded group will meet the untapped demand of consumers around the world. Jim, Stacy and their teams exemplify the talent we wish to work with and we are incredibly honoured that we are partnering with them."