Yo! Sushi launches ‘experience hub’ to spur ‘guest-centric’ focus

Yo! Sushi is rolling out an experience hub in its 70 restaurants in the UK in a push to serve up actionable and tactical changes it can make to the customer experience.

Yo! Sushi will make changes to the promotions, menus and music in all 70 of its restaurants in the UK using customer feedback.

It represents a major shift from the restaurant’s previous model which prevented marketers and managers from accessing customer feedback data in real-time.

The transition is in the final stages with the restaurant looking to make its dining experience, whereby chefs prep food in front of diners and their dishes are delivered by conveyor belt, a bigger part of its communications strategy.

Customers are encouraged to describe their experiences on an online form via their smartphones in exchange for entry into a prize draw. The insights are then collated by a system, developed by InMoment, formerly Empathica, the business says will steer the in-store marketing and customer experience in all its restaurants. Employees can access the feedback from tills, mobile devices and desktops.

Observations on the menu, restaurant layout and background music are just some of the areas Yo Sushi claims it will be able to act on quickly moving forward. Loyal advocates are being targeted initially, although the restaurant expects “strong” buzz around the “immediate tweaks” it makes to stores to intrigue new diners.   

Ultimately, Yo! Sushi plans to plug the system into its social sphere in order to scrape daily chatter about the brand into something that regional managers and marketers can act on. The company’s operational unit handles the tool but its marketing team will also have access as well promote it.

Suresh Banarse, head of people at Yo! Sushi, says the experience hub is a shift away from “cumbersome” insight to something more “immediate”.

He adds: “We’re now able to see what our guests are saying during specific shifts and take immediate actions. Over the years we’ve had varying degrees of success with other things we’ve tried but now there’s the scope to make our restaurants really reflect what customers want at a granular level.”

The customer insights overhaul dovetails with wider plans to raise the profile of the brand within the wider casual dining market. Yo Sushi! launched a campaign earlier this year to promote its new menu in an attempt to demonstrate it does not just sell sushi as well as appeal to kids. It has already trialed a breakfast offering in airports and launched its first TV advert in February.

Competition for the casual dining market is growing with brands such as Nando’s moving from PR-based brand building to outright advertising in order to support increased presence on the high-street.