Shaper: Robin Rowland

Show aired on 29th November 2014


Robin Rowland

Robin Rowland has led YO! Sushi’s growth over the past 15 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 90 restaurants (75 UK restaurants and 15 restaurants overseas will be open by end of 2014). Building on 30 years of multi-site restaurant experience, Robin’s strategy for growth is centred on continual improvement of 5 Ps – Product, Property, People, Promotion and Profit. His vision is based on building successful teams, constant innovation, flat structure, open/direct communication, rewarding and fun environment in each & every restaurant. Robin and YO! Sushi’s team success have been recognised by a number of awards, most notably 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’ and ‘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. Robin has a wide established sector network as founder of the 50/20 restaurants group and NED positions with Marstons PLC, Caffe Nero and Tortilla. A Londoner born and bred, Robin now lives in a 17th century farmhouse in the Surrey Hills & a coastal retreat on the Welsh coast with his wife, 3 young children and collection of terriers, chickens and micro pigs.  Skiing, dingy sailing & surfing & walking are current passions.

Listen live at 9am Saturday.

I was running about 120 restaurants in my early thirties and I just felt I could do more.

I loved YO! Sushi the first time I saw it and I love it today.

It was a marriage of strengths at the time.

You could put YO! Sushi in unusual locations … we were very bold in our design, we were taking sites that people couldn’t make work apart from coffee shops.

It was an absolute pleasure you know, those years were wonderful.

We got lucky, but it wasn’t without an awful lot of hard work.

We started getting phone calls from America in 2006 … they recognised this extraordinary concept was unusual and distinctive.

There are not many restaurants that can do conveyor belts to deliver their food.

We have always tried to stay small while we got big by being humble and listening to people.

We’ve just done a team engagement survey and 85% of our workforce which is like 1,800 people are very happy to work for YO!

They live by four mantras. They are respectful, unconventional, colourful and confident.

We are actually doing something extraordinary overseas.