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Yo! throws off its sushi shackles as it looks to broaden reach

16 September 2019 by
Yo! throws off its sushi shackles as it looks to broaden reach

Last week saw Yo! officially throw off its sushi shackles in a bid to emphasise the breadth of its offering to consumers.

The dropping of the word sushi from its brand name had been quietly underway for sometime, but at the beginning of the week the brand, established in 1997, took to social media to make it official via the way of a tongue-twister stunt.

On Monday the casual dining brand posted a video of CEO Richard Hodgson explaining that it would be changing its name to: YO!SUSHIRAMENKATSUCURRYBAOBURGERGYOZAFRIESYAKISOBAMOCHIBALLSFRIEDCHICKENPOPCORNSHRIMPBEEFTERIYAKICHOCOLATEBROWNIE.

Alongside the video was a competition that saw followers posting videos of them trying to negotiate the new name and the rebranding of a Richmond site (see picture).

Marketing director Luisa Fernandez explained: "While we have amazing loyalty from our customers, over half of the UK population still have not tried sushi. So, what we wanted to do with this initiative was show that our restaurants are much more than sushi.

"The rebranding of our Richmond restaurant – which our lovely friends at Tortilla allowed us to put over the front of their restaurant as well – enabled us to show we have such a broad menu, to formerly announce we were changing our name to Yo! and to kick off the new look and feel of the brand.

"The whole vision for the Yo! group now is to raise the profile of Japanese food across the globe. The whole look and feel is all about making it feel really accessible with food at the heart, really eye-catching and hopefully really enticing."

Fernandez said the response of the public – who were eventually informed the group had settled on the shorter name of Yo! on Thursday – was "great", with media and bus campaigns set to be follow in the coming weeks.

Alongside the campaign Yo! has developed a new look based around conveying the variety of healthy Japanese food it offers in a way that is "colourful, bright, vibrant and fun" as well as rolling out its three concepts Yo!, Yo! to go and Yo! Kitchen.

The group's first Yo! Kitchen site has launched today in Westfield White City, as a full-service restaurant without its trademark conveyor belt.

Fernandez added: "What we want to do is make sure we have the right proposition for the right location and the right consumer group and by having different options it gives us so much more flexibility".

Yo! to go sites are planned for Manchester and Bath.

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