Yo Sushi has announced it will shutter 19 sites and axe 250 jobs in a bid to restructure the business following the crisis.
The move comes after the dining group launched a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) in light of “changes in consumer behaviour” that have made its rents “unsustainable” across loss-making sites.
Earlier this month, reports circulated that Yo Sushi had drafted in Deloitte in a bid to negotiate rent concessions with landlords and secure a potential CVA.
At the time, sources told Sky News that the group would have “little choice but to pursue one” if landlords do not agree to reduce costs.
Yo Sushi boss, Richard Hodgson, told the BBC: “While we have already taken measures to reduce costs, rents remain an issue.
“In the current climate, it’s just not viable for us to keep any sites that no longer perform.”
He added: “Like the rest of the sector, we need to take decisive action to adapt to the lasting changes that the covid pandemic has brought about.
“While it’s been a very difficult decision to make and I am very sorry that it will mean losing many of our team members, a CVA has become an essential measure to secure our business for the future, and enable us to protect as many jobs as possible.”
Yo Sushi currently operates 59 restaurants and 10 concessions in the UK. It 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..
News of its CVA marks the latest casual dining chain to propose a financial restructuring to creditors following the pandemic.
Earlier this month, Pizza Express confirmed it would launch a CVA that will see the closure of 67 sites, or 15% of its estate.
The Restaurant Group also closed 125 sites following the launch of a CVA in June.