Yo! Sushi launches new self-service bar concept

Japanese restaurant chain Yo! Sushi launched its first bar last week. Called Yo! Below, the bar is situated underneath the original Soho branch of the chain, and features customer-operated beer taps at Japanese-style low-tables.

Yo! Sushi founder Simon Woodroffe designed interiors for the five existing UK restaurants. He worked with Simon Conder Associates in developing the new 148-capacity venue.

The beer taps will enable customers to help themselves to as much Kirin Japanese beer as they like. Or they can call for help using a table-top control. Innovative ashtrays have been fitted into the tables. The ashtrays prevent cigarette smoke from blowing into people’s eyes by absorbing it into a hi-tech machine.

Woodroffe says customers can also have a massage at the bar. “Half our 25 staff are trained masseurs, so people can get one of three types of massage free at their table,” he explains.

“Many of the staff will also sing, with music ranging from ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ to our probable anthem ‘Do the timewalk’, with all the staff doing the actions.”

Woodroffe says 12 restaurants will open internationally within a year, in addition to one in Manchester and two more in London. Australia, Holland and the US are among countries being targeted.

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