Mayfair agrees YO! Sushi deal; CEO to step down

By Mark Wingett

- Last updated on GMT

Mayfair agrees YO! Sushi deal; CEO to step down

Related tags: Types of restaurants, Fast casual restaurant, Compound annual growth rate

Mayfair Equity Partners has confirmed it has acquired the controlling interest of YO! Sushi from Quilvest Private Equity in a deal valuing the 91­-strong business at £81m.

Following the deal, Vanessa Hall is to step down as chief executive of YO!, which she originally joined as chief operating officer over two years ago, with current executive chairman Robin Rowland stepping back into the chief executive role he previously held for 14 years.

According to BigHospitality's sister publication M&C Allegra Foodservice​, as part of the new deal, management led by Rowland will retain a minority shareholding.

During her two years with YO!, Hall oversaw the opening of 20 restaurants, 13 in the UK, four in the US, and four international franchised restaurants.

Hall, who joined YO! from Mitchells & Butlers after 20 years with the managed pub operator, said: “With the new owners in place, this is a good time to explore other opportunities in the fast­growing restaurant and dining sector. I have greatly enjoyed my time at the helm of YO! Sushi working with an amazing team of people, helping to establish YO! Sushi as one of the UK’s leading fast casual dining options. I look forward to seeing its growth over the next few years, both in the UK and abroad.”

Founded in 1997, YO! currently serves over seven million customers a year via 91 restaurants worldwide: 75 company owned sites across the UK, four company owned in the US and 12 franchised restaurants in international airports and the Gulf.

The company said that Mayfair’s investment would provide additional capital to support the business’ further growth in the UK and international markets. The group has previously spoken of there being potential to operate up to 150 sites in the UK.

It recorded strong growth throughout the global financial crisis with net revenues increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 14 per cent since 2008. In its most recent financial year YO! recorded total sales up 7 per cent to £75.8m and EBITDA of £10.06m, up 7.8 per cent on the previous year.

Mayfair’s managing partner Daniel Sasaki, said: “In a highly competitive and fast moving segment of the market, YO! Sushi’s innovative approach to casual dining has seen it consistently deliver fantastic eating experiences to a truly global customer base. The management team has built a robust and dynamic company with a fantastic brand. We look forward to truly investing in the business, partnering with the management and supporting them in this exciting phase of the company’s development.”

Rowland said: “In Mayfair we’ve found the right partner to support YO! Sushi through its next stage of development. YO! Sushi offers an accessible, fun and healthy eating out experience no matter when and what the meal occasion. This presents us with significant further growth both in the UK and internationally, and we look forward to working with Daniel and the team to fulfil this potential.”

“We completely understand and respect Vanessa’s desire to explore new opportunities outside of YO! Sushi. Having been with the company since September 2013, Vanessa has made an invaluable contribution to the building of the brand both in the UK and abroad. We thank her for her commitment and wish Vanessa all the best in the future.”

Related topics: Business, Restaurants

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