Simon Woodroffe is a successful entrepreneur, businessman and Founder of YO! Sushi and YO! Brand. A very entertaining, thought-provoking speaker, with his practical advice on creativity and innovation in business. With an energising presence he always leave audiences feeling truly motivated.
Simon Woodroffe is founder, owner and creative driving force behind all things YO! He left school at the age of 16 and spent 30 years in the entertainment business. His production companies in London and Los Angeles designed and staged concerts for many artists during the 70’s and 80’s, including The Moody Blues, Madness, Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder and George Michael. In the 90s, he went into television spearheading the development of television deals to show huge international rock concerts worldwide, including Nelson Mandela concerts, shows for Amnesty International and the Prince’s Trust concerts.
In 1997, Simon Woodroffe founded YO! Sushi, a conveyor belt sushi bar. The concept was to make eating a complete entertainment experience and featured call buttons, robot drinks, trolleys and Japanese TV. The first restaurant opened on London’s Poland Street and became an overnight phenomenon. Today it continues to expand both in the UK and abroad. YO! Company now includes: YO! Sushi, YOTEL (hotels), RadiYO!, YO! HOW, YO! ZONE, the spa and YO! HOME!
Woodroffe detests the traditional business approach, technology and excuses. He maintains that all successful people in the world have been knocked down, often more than once, but still take the risks and try again. He has been able to build his personal branding to significant advantage and is the first to say that the actual Yo! company portfolio is fairly small. Among his other ventures are Yo! To Go, a concept that uses smart cars and branded scooters to deliver freshly made food and Yo! How, where he touts his considerable ability as a corporate speaker. It seems that he will focus attention for the foreseeable future on Yotel, which he estimates can be one of the 10 biggest hotel chains in the world. However, always self-effacing, he does point out that “if you want to make God laugh, show him your business plan.”
In 1999, Woodroffe won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and became part of the CBI/BCC Ambassador of Entrepreneurism campaign, with which he is still actively involved. In 2001, he was awarded the accolade of Best Venue at the Retailer of the Year Awards. In recognition for his contribution to hospitality, Simon was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2006. He appeared in Series 1 on the BBC 2 worldwide hit program Dragons’ Den as one of the formidable panelists, who make and break the dreams of would-be entrepreneurs as they pitch their business ideas for financing.
Woodroffe has developed a strong reputation on the UK and international public speaking circuit. He speaks openly, avoiding business cliché, and audiences find his story extremely inspiring and a catalyst for their own endeavors, be they in a large corporate setting or working at a start-up level.
“Thanks for a great speech/performance. We have gotten several calls since our return to DC citing you as one of, if not the best at the Show.”
Chad Stark – FMI Show – Chicago
“It was an entertaining and inspiring speech and more importantly, we were impressed by the sorts of messages you were putting across.”
“The best speech I have heard in this building in ten years!”
Institute of Directors
“Really interesting, fluid, energetic and ‘from the heart’. Inspirational, yet realistic – excellent!”
“A truly inspirational and mind blowing presentation.”
Joel Sapiro PSMG
“…our participants found it a transformational experience.”
Top Management Programme
‘A most honest and human presentation from a person of great maturity … Passionate and refreshing’
Managing Director, Enterprise Masterclass