14 August 2020
YO! has formally decided to launch a company voluntary arrangement which will involve closing 19 of its 69 outlets in the UK, as well as nine other sites where it is not the tenant but is legally responsible for rent payments.
If the CVA is approved, around 250 jobs are at risk. The CVA filing is expected to take place later today.
5 August 2020
Sushi chain, YO!, adds to the list of restaurant chains exploring the insolvency mechanism of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) in order to reduce unsustainable rental costs it is facing.
Deloitte have been appointed to look at the company's options.
Though the formal decision to go ahead with a CVA has not been confirmed yet, it is looking very likely, and sources say the company ‘’would have little choice but to pursue one’’.
It is unclear if YO! are thinking of closing any of its 70 restaurants as a part of the process.
Some of the sites where the company has not yet been able to agree concessions with landlords no longer trade under the YO! brand. Where discussions with landlords had already been successful, the chain has been able to reopen restaurants, in accordance to the government measures. There includes a new contactless format where customers order food remotely and can have food delivered to them via a YO! Sushi conveyor belt. Such sites have also benefitted in the most recent days, as they participate in the UK Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme.
A spokesperson for YO! said: "All we can say at the moment is that YO! has been engaged throughout the last few months in exploring measures to best manage our property estate. This has included talking directly with our landlords and consulting with advisors so we can best adapt to the changed marketplace."
In the UK, the chain has around 1400 employees across its restaurants. It also has sushi kiosks in more than 50 Tesco stores. It is using the Panku brand to introduce concessions in Asda.
The pressure on landlords to reduce rents for High Street operators has been growing and it is hard to see how, under the circumstances, these rents can be justified. Yes they signed a contract but to enforce that contract would in effect kill the business and leave the premises empty.