Bento Sushi has been acquired by YO! Sushi, the iconic Japanese restaurant group, for CAN $100 ($78.2 million) which has been facilitated by Mayfair Equity Partners who partnered with the YO! Management team in 2015. Bento Sushi is the second largest sushi brand in North America was founded in Toronto, Canada in 1996 by Ken Valvur. Bento has over 600 locations and supplies to even further 1700 partner sites.
Bento’s mode of operation complements YO! existing proposition as it includes quick service restaurants, on- site kiosks in supermarkets and other food service locations. It also includes production facilities which supply sushi to grocery and institutional food service clients. In the past three years Bento has achieved annual sales growth of 16% and has 2000 highly trained sushi chefs that serve around 20 million sushi portions every year. Ken Valvur, Bento’s Chairman, and Glenn Brown, CEO, are set to join the Board of YO! and become significant shareholders in the group.
In the words of Glenn Brown, CEO of Bento Sushi:
“This partnership presents Bento with an incredible opportunity to grow its platform. YO! and Bento share a similar ethos and history, and we look forward to working with the YO! team and taking advantage of opportunities to develop both brands.”
Ken Valvur, Chairman of Bento Sushi, added:
“The combination of YO! and Bento will further enhance our group’s ability to be the partner of choice for grocery and institutional food service providers throughout our enlarged operating geography, and creates exciting opportunities for our valued team members on both sides of the Atlantic.”
The first company to bring to the UK the concept of a Japanese ‘kaiten’ sushi bar that delivered food via a conveyor belt, YO! Sushi was founded in 1997. It has 97 restaurants worldwide out of which 81 are owned and 16 are franchised almost serving around 7 million customers a year. YO! Sushi was acquired by Mayfair Equity Partners in November 2015.