Sushi in London - Start a Franchise!

03/01/2019 08:00 | Food franchises

sushi london

If you’re considering starting your own sushi franchise, you’ll need to know what opportunities there are for you to take advantage of. Here, we take a look at the history of sushi in the UK and examine three of the cuisine’s top UK businesses in a little extra detail.

Sushi is now well established in the UK

The sushi craze began taking off in the UK in the mid-1990s when sushi restaurants started opening around the capital on a large scale. In an increasingly globalised world, sushi was the latest international cuisine to cement itself as a national favourite, and soon everyone was dining out on Japanese cuisine. The emergence of Yo! Sushi at this time signalled that raw fish had made the jump from exotic, eastern delicacy to the mainstream and that there was no looking back.

Since then, Yo! Sushi London has continued to grow its franchise empire and sushi is now on sale in more restaurants and supermarkets than ever before. Whereas once only the most adventurous of diners could be seen tucking into a smoked salmon nigiri, now lunchbox sushi sets are sold in British retailers up and down the high street. Sushi has never been so popular – sales continue to grow and demand for the raw delicacy is on the increase.

Sushi restaurants London

London's diverse culinary scene was crucial for the growth in sushi's popularity across the UK. Cosmopolitan and experimental, the capital has typically been the first city to embrace new foods, restaurants, and cuisines, ensuring they have a strong foothold before spreading out across cities around the country. This was also true of sushi.

Sushi first hit the capital in the 1980s. At this time, it was primarily used as an alternative to traditional canapés at prestigious businesses meetings in the City. Soon the upper echelons of the British business world were tucking into raw fish dishes and, more importantly, paying large sums for the privilege.

In 1994, London’s first conveyor-belt sushi restaurant opened to rave reviews. Called Moshi Moshi, it served the right food, at the right time, in the right way. While the small and delicate nature of sushi ensured it was associated with artisanal preparation methods, the conveyor belt setup corresponded well with city workers’ image as fast-paced, high-tech, and ahead of the curve. The sushi boom had well and truly arrived, and the UK was soon to become home to its own strange Anglo-Japanese style of sushi in the form of Yo! Sushi.

Sushi shop London

Established in 1997, by Simon Woodroffe, Yo! Sushi began life by opening restaurants in trendy neighbourhoods and inside prestigious businesses around the capital. While its first store launched in Soho, its second was set up inside Harvey Nichols. Following these locations, restaurants were established outside of the city, most notably in Manchester, Dubai, Moscow, Boston, and Dublin.

The internationalisation of the Yo! Sushi brand was a big step for the British business and marked the moment at which sushi entered the mainstream. Soon, new sushi restaurants and brands were emerging at a remarkable rate, with some attempting to create a unique fusion by melding Japanese cuisine to other international cuisines and others moving into the supermarket or deli-counter side of sushi retail. London became home to a burgeoning sushi culinary scene, and sushi quickly became the capital’s favourite new food.

Today, there are a diverse array of sushi businesses operating in London. However, three stand out as occupying the top spots in a highly competitive market. Below, we take a look at these three brands and discuss how they’re structured and whether they offer franchising opportunities.

Sushi Samba London

The first of our three featured enterprises is SushiSamba, the latest craze in the fusion scene. SushiSamba combines traditional sushi dishes with Peruvian and Brazilian cuisines, resulting in a bold and brave mix that's full of flavour, colour, and life. Though mixing Japanese, Peruvian, and Brazilian foods may seem like an odd move at first, it makes a lot of sense.

Not only do a lot of techniques and ingredients complement each other well (for instance Peruvian ceviche is a natural mix with sushi’s reliance on raw fish), but this blend of cultures is based on historical reality. In the early 20th Century, large communities of Japanese citizens emigrated to South America with the hope of making their fortune. The result was a varied and multicultural culinary experiment that changed many cities' dining experience forever.

Unfortunately, SushiSamba is a privately owned company that doesn’t offer franchising opportunities. This means that would-be franchisees will have to look elsewhere if they’re to find a suitable sushi franchise.

Yo! Sushi London

Yo! Sushi was the brand that made it big in the UK and brought sushi to diners of all ages across the UK. It remains a popular investment opportunity amongst those who want to own and operate a franchised sushi restaurant and is at the forefront of pioneering serving technologies. While it was one of the first restaurants to utilise the Japanese conveyor-belt in the UK, it has also recently introduced a new iTray service, which sees flying drones deliver your food.

To become a Yo! Sushi franchisee, it's necessary to raise a total investment of approximately £250,000. However, the franchise is generally interested in those investors who could raise at least £1,000,000 and sign a multi-unit agreement that would see them open five locations over a period of five years.

Sushi Daily London

Our final featured franchise is Sushi Daily. Sushi Daily differs from both of our previous businesses in the fact that it's not a restaurant but a deli stand. This means the company is typically integrated into an existing retail environment, such as a supermarket or shopping centre. Sushi Daily operates across Europe and already has a strong presence in the UK, making it ideally suited to those investors who want to sell sushi but don’t want to manage a restaurant.

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