Q&A: Does Itsu Sushi Franchise in the UK?

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itsu franchise

With more than 20 years of experience in the food industry, Itsu offers a diverse range of menu options for those looking for a healthy meal or snack, including sushi, Asian salads and wraps, hot rice and noodle dishes, and healthy snacks and drinks. It’s a firm favourite in the UK, but is it possible to start your own Itsu sushi franchise?


Itsu is an international restaurant and takeaway brand that serves fresh, Asian-inspired food. There are currently over 70 shops in London, Cambridge, Oxford, Reading, Leeds, Stansted Airport and Heathrow Terminal 5. It aims to serve its customers in under 60 seconds, ensuring a quick and easy dining experience.


British customers are likely to come across foods they haven’t tried before, such as crispy seaweed thins, chocolate-coated edamame beans and melon and yuzu ‘zen water’. Health-conscious consumers can select their favourite dish from the restaurant’s ‘butterfly light’ menu, which assembles the healthiest options in one place. 50 of Itsu’s dishes have fewer than 500 calories. The brand also considers the environment, launching a half-price sale every evening to encourage customers to buy food that would otherwise end up in landfill.

History of Itsu

Since the first Itsu store was opened by the Pret À Manger founder, Julian Metcalfe, in 1997, the brand has worked to provide a contemporary, hassle-free way to pick up healthy, Asian food. Julian notes that it was on his trip to Tokyo in 1994 when he first fell in love with the ‘harmony’ and ‘precision’ of the cuisine.

Does Itsu franchise in the UK?

Unfortunately, the Itsu brand is not currently advertising franchising opportunities and is concentrating on increasing its number of company-owned outlets. However, there have been suggestions that the restaurant business might consider franchising in the future, so interested investors should check back.

How to get involved with Itsu sushi

If you’re committed to being part of the Itsu brand, there are plenty of career options on its website. You can check them out here.

The Japanese food market in the UK

During the last decade the British public has gone mad for the exotic flavours and nutritional benefits of Japanese food. This is represented by the 67 percent increase in UK Japanese restaurants that occurred between 2010 and 2015. Itsu’s sales doubled in the five years leading up to 2017.

Similar franchises opportunities

Don’t be disheartened that you can’t start your own Itsu franchise. We have plenty of Japanese food franchises looking for ambitious entrepreneurs to expand their network. Let’s explore three of our top picks below.

1. Wok&Go

Established in Chester in 2008, this Asian food franchise offers noodle and rice dishes, along with salads, soups and Asian ice creams. Wok&Go blends food traditions from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Japan to bring the very best healthy and speedy dishes to its customers.

The brand is based on very quick service. Despite only cooking individual dishes after the order has been made, it ensures that only fresh and nutritious food makes its way to customers. Asian food fanatics can find Wok&Go in 18 locations in the UK, across North West, North East and Southern England and Wales.

  • Becoming a Wok&Go franchisee: The brand has high hopes for expansion and is particularly looking for qualified individual and corporate franchisees interested in opening up in the South of England, London and Manchester. You can learn more and register your interest here.

  • How much you need to invest: Interested franchisees should make a total investment of £200,000 and pay franchise fees of £20,000.
     
  • What you get for your investment: You will receive help in the recruitment and staff training processes and be allocated a dedicated area manager, who will visit the franchise twice a month.

2. Wok To Walk

You’ve probably seen Wok To Walk’s black and orange logo on the high street somewhere. Ever wondered if you could own your own? Well, read on to find out more about the exciting opportunity.

There are over 85 Wok To Walk stores giving customers their Asian food fix and taking the food service industry by storm.

  • Becoming a Wok To Walk franchisee: The franchise opportunity is flexible. You can open a flagship store or a hole-in-the-wall spot - it’s up to you! It’s the versatile business model that attracts all types of customers. Wok To Walk is looking for entrepreneurs who share its ambitious expansion plans. Click here to learn more and sign up.
     
  • How much you need to invest: Restaurant start-up costs can vary, but you’re looking at around £100,000 for the minimum investment cost.
     
  • What you get for your investment: As well as a globally recognised brand name, you will benefit from a tried and tested training programme. The HQ team works with franchisees and provides bespoke consultancy services and support.

>> Read more:


3. Marugame Udon

This Japanese food franchise’s primary offering is its fresh udon, which are made on-site. As well as serving the popular thick wheat flour noodles, it also serves omusubi rice balls, tempura and many other traditional dishes in a canteen-style environment. Customers can help themselves to these delicacies just as they would in a busy restaurant in Tokyo.

The efficient service means that orders can be dished up in as little as 30 seconds and, therefore, up to 256 customers per hour can be served a delicious meal. Having already launched more than 1,000 restaurants in Japan, South-East Asia, Australia and California in the US, Marugame Udon now has its sights on the UK, meaning that business-minded British entrepreneurs have the opportunity to help the brand’s expansion.

  • Becoming a Marugame Udon franchisee: The Japanese restaurant franchise is looking for area development franchisees who are prepared to open at least five locations. It asks that candidates are business-minded and eager to play a key part in the brand’s growth. To learn more and register your interest, click here.

  • How much you need to invest: In order to become a Marugame franchisee, you need to make a minimum investment of £250,000 and a total investment of £500,000.
     
  • What you get for your investment: You’ll be designated your own exclusive territory and granted access to the comprehensive training programme. Marugame Udon is completely dedicated to brand development, so it is constantly updating the operations manual, promotional materials and website.

Start a sushi restaurant franchise

To see a full list of our sushi franchise opportunities, be sure to check here. If you’re not sure whether opening a sushi restaurant is the best idea for you, see another one of our articles to help make things clearer.

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