YO! Sushi CEO Robin Rowland yesterday received his OBE from Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, for services to the restaurant and hospitality industry at an official investiture service at Windsor Castle.
Mr Rowlands has been a leading player in the UK restaurant market for more than 30 years working for some of the industry’s top operators, including Whitbread, Scottish & Newcastle and The Restaurant Group, before joining YO! Sushi in 1999.
He has led the business through a management buy-out, sale to private equity, grown the estate to almost 100 restaurants and helped nurture the careers of many successful individuals across the sector. Today he is also a non-executive director of Caffe Nero and Marstons.
“This is a huge honour, but also a major recognition for our amazing UK hospitality industry, which now leads the world in everything from innovation and operational excellence to service and professional development,” he said.
Mr Rowlands joined YO! Sushi two years after it was founded. It was the first chain to bring the concept of a Japanese ‘kaiten’ sushi bar that delivered food via a conveyor belt to the UK. Its dishes are freshly prepared in its restaurant kitchens every day and it serves more than six million UK customers a year.