London-based YO!Sushi is planning major growth for the U.S. market this year. After opening its first U.S. location in Washington, D.C.’s Union Station in July 2012, the chain will open at least 10 restaurants in the Mid-Atlantic corridor between Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. Its next restaurant is set to open in April in Chinatown in Washington, D.C., said Alison Vickers, business development director.

Although operations in the United States and United Kingdom are very similar, the menu had to be tweaked, giving the U.S. units more rolls and spice. Free refills on soda and iced tea were also added to meet U.S. consumer demands.

"Our entry into the United States with the restaurant opening in Washington, D.C. has been extremely successful," Vickers said. "We are thrilled with our first franchisees who are growing aggressively in the D.C. area. Based on their success, we are actively seeking similar franchisees to open in other urban areas. We plan for another landmark year in 2013."

YO!Sushi opened in 1997, in London by introducing the concept of a Japanese "kaiten" sushi bar that gave customers instant access to healthy sushi and other Japanese favorites via a conveyor belt traveling 3.1 inches per second that zig-zagged around diners. YO!Sushi serves sushi rolls, sashimi, Asian-inspired salads and a large variety of classic, hot Japanese dishes on color/price-coded dishes. It operates 65 company-owned restaurants in the UK, as well as more than a dozen franchised locations in Ireland, the Middle East and the Oslo Airport in Norway.

The chain is searching for experienced multiunit franchisees to grow its footprint in the U.S. and is specifically focused on cities like Boston, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta and Dallas.

Read more about growth.

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