Zag helps reposition YO! in rapidly evolving fast-casual dining marketplace

Zag has developed a new vision for YO!, moving it from a casual dining brand to a Japanese food brand with a portfolio of new propositions New strategy developed with YO!’s senior executive team to help brand evolve from fast-casual restaurant, to multi-format, out of home dining experience

Independent growth consultancy, Zag, has announced its latest work for YO! Sushi, officially renamed YO!, with a dramatic overhaul of the entire brand experience to help prepare it for the next phase in its growth. In a move to reposition the YO! brand within an increasingly competitive market, the new identity will emphasise the freshness, flavours, colours and textures of Japanese food and will create a look and feel that is designed to work across a portfolio of new propositions.  

Zag was commissioned by YO!, along with architectural design partner, Designtank, to help reimagine the brand experience and to help deliver sustained growth. In co-creating a new vision for YO! with the executive leadership, Zag helped translate this vision into the fundamentals of the business including steps of service, new design principles and brand behaviours which were brought to life through a new system for restaurant and menu design. The end result of this work is a new design language for YO! that brings the awe-inspiring nature of Japanese food back into the heart of the restaurant. 

Through an explicit focus on authentic Japanese materiality, Zag developed a new brand system made from traditional Japanese art mediums like woodcut, ink and digital media to create an entire brand world made from Japanese food flavours, textures and aromas to bring the wonders of Japanese cuisine to life in a tantalising way, a concept extended into the design, environments and interiors of the restaurant.

Zag’s work with YO! has also helped to identify new growth opportunities within out of home dining for YO! which has led to the development and rollout of new restaurant concepts. This includes a new look Kaiten belt concept in Ashford, a full-service ‘Izakaya’ concept in Westfield White City opened at the start of October and its first bespoke grab and perch concept in Manchester Piccadilly. 

Aran Potkin, Managing Partner at Zag commented: “YO! was the original innovator and fast-casual dining disruptor who brought radical new experiences to the UK 20 years ago. While the YO! brand was still strong, the company understood the need to engage with a new generation of consumers, looking for authentic and genuine food experiences. The exciting brand overhaul we undertook with YO! has touched on every aspect of the business from menu design to the steps of service, brand identity to the customer experience as well as completely new restaurant and dining concepts.” 

Luisa Fernandez, Marketing Director at YO! commented: “This is a really exciting time in YO!’s evolution, as we pivot to become a Japanese food brand with multiple propositions in a bid to raise the quality and availability of Japanese food across the globe. The renewed focus on fresh and vibrant Japanese food which will be enjoyed by customers across all our existing locations and new concept stores will help us remain relevant in the competitive fast-casual dining sector and attract new customers.” 

Source: ZAG

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