While the sushi chain has not yet made a formal decision to proceed with a CVA, sources told Sky that the group would have “little choice but to pursue one” if landlords do not agree to reduce costs.
According to reports, it remains unclear whether Yo Sushi will decide to close any restaurants in its 70-site estate as part of the CVA process. Some sites where concessions have not yet been agreed are no longer trading under its brand, however.
A spokesperson for the chain told Sky News: “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.”
A source told Sky News that where discussions with landlords had “already been fruitful”, the chain was able to reopen restaurants with a new contactless format, allowing customers to order remotely and have food delivered to them through the restaurant’s conveyor belts.
The new format has been rolled out across 19 sites so far, with the support of financial backing from Mayfair Equity Partners, which previously bought a stake in the group in 2015..
It is also noted that since the sector reopened, the sites in question have traded “ahead of expectations”, with sales particularly boosted since the launch of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
News of the potential CVA comes only days after Pizza Express confirmed it will launch a CVA that will see the closure of 67 sites, or 15% of its estate.
It comes as the group said it has reached an agreement with its secured creditors and majority shareholder, Hony Capital, for a recapitalisation and restructuring transaction in a bid to strengthen the group.
Following an “extensive review” of its operations, the group plans to launch a CVA “in the near future”, in a bid to improve operational performance by reducing its UK restaurant estate and rental cost base “in response to a significantly more challenging trading environment”.
The Restaurant Group has also closed 125 sites following the launch of a CVA in June.