The company already has 61 restaurants in the UK, franchises in Ireland, Portugal, United Arab States, Bahrain, KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and Norway serving 3.5 million customers each year.
In line with the company’s international expansion to date, the Washington opening is a franchise deal. Franchisees Richard Pawlowski and Darren Wightman have signed a 10 site development deal and have a pipeline of locations lined up.
Alison Vickers, YO! Sushi’s business development director said: “Breaking into the US market is the natural next step for the business as we expand our international presence. The Washington restaurant is the first of many as we are in discussions with several experienced multi-unit franchisees in casual dining to take us to other large metropolitan areas including Chicago, Boston and Miami.”
Pawlowski already operates 36 casual dining concepts as a franchisee with three US brands – Cosi, a soup and sandwich concept, Qdoba Mexican and Bugaboo Creek steakhouse. Wightman is well placed to roll out the US YO! Sushi having been a former executive chef for the brand in the UK.
The first international YO! Sushi opened in September 2003 in Dubai. Now the company has 12 franchised overseas restaurants and is focussed on the Middle East, US and key transport hubs internationally.