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Coronavirus: Japanese sushi chain YO! changes conveyor

Japanese sushi chain YO! changes the famous conveyor as it adapts to post-Covid safety needs

  • Currently, dishes are shipped on a loop for customers to choose from
  • But soon the dishes will be shipped on the belt once the orders are placed
  • The new format has been tested in the YO! Guildford restaurant

Japanese necklace YO! is adapting its conveyor belt ordering system in its UK restaurants to survive the coronavirus crisis.

The company is known for its ‘kaiten’ belt, which currently ships looped dishes for customers to choose from.

Chief executive Richard Hodgson said the format had become “tired” and is introducing new technology that allows diners to order from their table with their mobile phone and pay their bill in advance.

Diners can order from their table using their phone and pay their bill in advance

Diners can order from their table using their phone and pay their bill in advance

The conveyor belts are reprogrammed so that dishes are only shipped after the orders have been placed.

The new format has been tested in the restaurant of Yo! Guildford and will be applied at any location that will reopen this summer.

The first restaurants to reopen next to Guildford on July 4 are expected to be Cheshire Oaks, Ashford, Newcastle and Leeds. The chain will reopen three new locations every week in the summer as part of a phased reopening program.

If the new format succeeds, Hodgson eventually hopes to see the majority of YO! Upgradeable, employing 1,400 employees. It has invested approximately £ 4 million in upgrading sites so far.

The reboot is an early example of how restaurants should adapt to provide safe dining spaces in a post-Covid world.

Yo! will not use Perspex screens or barriers between diners, but ensures a safe distance by keeping bar stools empty between parties and seating areas in separate booths.

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