The designer behind the Yo! Sushi chain has plans to extend internationally, and grow his Yo! empire into an eating, drinking and designer merchandise giant.
Simon Woodruffe, former stage set designer to Rod Stewart, among others, has already set up Yo! Sushi, a fast-food outlet in Poland Street, central London. Working with design consultancy 4i, Woodruffe has created an innovative interior in which food journeys around on a carousel before reaching diners.
Now there are plans to expand. Harvey Nichols has already signed up to carry a Yo! Sushi concession, and plans to open the sushi bar in the middle of its Fifth Floor Restaurant on 9 November. Other major stores are in talks, says Woodruffe.
There are also plans to work with 4i and extend the design of the food-delivery mechanism. “I want the food to go on an adventure before it reaches the customer,” says Woodruffe, “We can make it go up hills, under bridges and round corners.”
There are also plans to extend out the Yo! brand. Yo!-to-Go, a scooter-based delivery service throughout London, launches this week. Yo! Below is due to open later this year – a Japanese bar and saki cellar in the basement of the Yo! Sushi outlet.
The plan is to create gigantic Yo!-branded buildings, offering Yo!-branded food, drinks and products. Woodruffe plans to follow the example of the Hard Rock CafÃ© and sell goods under the title Yo! Shopping. Products include Yo! Babygrows, and Yo! Take Care – which will sell goods such as toothbrushes and toothpaste.
“We want a real ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ feel to the whole thing,” says Woodruffe. Expansion is planned beyond London, he adds, with new sites expected to open in Europe by early next year. He is also looking to branch out in the US. 4i, which has worked with Woodruffe for two years on the project, will design all interiors.