Simon Woodroffe: "I'd throw away your marketing budget"

Workplace Evolution podcast: The YO! Sushi founder on learning to be bold, innovation killers and the looming restaurant bloodbath.

by Michael Costello

Statistically speaking YO! Sushi shouldn't have survived. Most new restaurants fail, particularly when opened by someone without industry experience, and besides, for most Brits in 1997 there was just something fishy about its choice of cuisine.

Yet founder Simon Woodroffe grew it to become one of the UK's biggest restaurant chains. The secret sauce, he says, is that YO! Sushi did something different - you're unlikely to pass by a restaurant with raw fish, a clattering conveyor belt and robots telling people to 'move their arse', the first time you stumble on it.

It's advice he has for any new business or product. "Throw away your marketing budget and spend all your money doing something interesting," he tells the Workplace Evolution podcast, in association with Management Today. "People will come."

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