Shaper: Robin Rowland encore

Show aired on 19th March 2016

Transcript

Robin Rowland returns to Jazz Shapers for his encore.

Robin has led YO! Sushi’s growth over the past 17 years. He joined the company when there were four London restaurants. As CEO, Robin put the team and systems in place to grow the business to over 90 restaurant today.

Robin’s strategy for growth is centred on continual improvement of the 5 Ps – Product, Property, People, Promotion and Profit, and his vision based on building successful teams, constant innovation, flat structure, open/direct communication, and a rewarding and fun environment in every restaurant. Having started out at Whitbread Inns PLC as a Graduate Trainee Pubs Area Manager in 1984, Robin was recruited by Diageo PLC in 1988 to develop the ‘Old Orleans’ national chain of US theme restaurants. In 1992 Scottish & Newcastle PLC acquired the business and Robin moved to managing a 120+ site national division of hotels, premium London pubs and restaurants.

Robin and YO! Sushi’s team success have been recognised with a number of awards, including: 2012 ‘Icon Winner’ and ‘Consumer Choice Award’ at the annual Peach Factory Hero & Icon Awards; 2008 ‘Group Restaurateur of the Year’ awarded from Catey Academy; 2011 ‘Retailer of the Year Award’; ‘Best Company’ from M&C, R150 ‘best restaurant design’ and YO! Sushi’s achievement four years in a row (08-12);  making the Times PE backed ‘Buyout 100 fast track’ list.

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“I am back at the coal face again, and absolutely delighted.”

“…it doesn’t matter if you are Pret A Manger, or Emporio Armani, you know, it just takes time.”

“No one tells you about how complex it is in America. We have a common language but are divided by this enormous thing called the Atlantic and there are different ways of communicating.”

“This is our third management buy-out so we’ve met the good, bad and the ugly in the private equity world.”

“You have to make sure the people who aren’t on song find other places to work, because you cannot have people diluting that culture.”

“…they were supposed to be micro pigs, and one turned out to be a great big whopper and the other one was still a micro pig who got bullied by the big one…”

“You need counsel, you need to have different perspectives on what you do and I think travelling is a fantastic eye opener.”

“Yo! has never really thought of itself as a restaurant brand…”

“It’s just really exciting seeing these young people who create extraordinary kind of technology solutions to age old problems.”