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modern slavery act

YO! Modern Slavery Statement 2020/21

This statement has been published in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015. It sets out the steps we take to understand all potential risks to ensure that there is no slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour, or human trafficking in our business or supply chains. 


We recognise our responsibility to identify and address potential or actual human rights infringements linked to the products and services we provide. We require our suppliers to uphold the same standards as we apply to ourselves. 


Organisation structure and supply chains

YO! opened its doors in 1997 as a fast-casual dining restaurant chain and was one of the first UK brands to introduce the kaiten belt. Since then we have developed our company strategy and introduced new concepts such as YO! To Go kiosk operating in both supermarkets and train stations.

We have a centralised procurement team managing the relationship between our direct suppliers that consist of both food and non-food. Most of which have been supplying YO! long term and therefore have established strong working relationships based on trust and transparency.


Policies in relation to slavery and human trafficking

YO! have both a policy and procedure on modern slavery and human trafficking in place which outlines how we will confidentially act, along with the steps that will be taken if we uncover any staff members who are a victim of modern slavery and/or human trafficking or external suppliers not adhering to the Act. 

We encourage our employees to report in confidence any concerns relating to any part of the organisation in line with our new whistleblowing policy which allows employees to confidentially telephone an external company called ‘Protect’.  All matters are then passed onto a trained adviser who guide the employee on the best cause of action. 

Our Code of Conduct is clearly outlined to our teams along with the actions and behaviours which are expected of them whilst at work and through the course of their duties and responsibilities. We strive to maintain the highest standards of employee conduct when managing our staff and suppliers and expect all our People to behave in the same way. 

YO! complies with the Anti-Bribery Act 2010 and does not tolerate any form of bribery by or of its employees, agents or any other person acting on our behalf. 


Due diligence processes

YO!  ensured that during 2020 the procurement team introduced a section within the supplier contract that outlines the due diligence expected by YO! We never knowingly accept food or any non-food products from our suppliers who do not adhere to the Modern Slavery Act 2015. They must demonstrate their compliance to the Act by providing their most recent annual statement whilst undertaking regular audits of the range of suppliers being used.

The procedure is designed to establish and assess areas of potential risk in our business and supply chains, monitor potential risk areas in our business and supply chains, reduce the risk of slavery and human trafficking occurring in our business and supply chains, provide adequate protection for whistleblowers.

If YO! become aware of any concerns with our suppliers and/or they are classed as ‘high risk’, a full investigation will take place to determine whether these concerns are justified with appropriate action taking place if needed. Depending on the severity of the concerns, YO! will work with the provider by agreeing an action plan, terminate the supplier, and/or source the product from an alternative supplier.

In addition, YO! hold regular meeting with the key suppliers not only to ensure they are the right business to partner with but to highlight the expectations of no slavery or human trafficking within their own company and supply chain.


Risk assessment and management

YO! have identified two main areas that would fall under high risk to the business regarding modern slavery and human trafficking. These areas are our recruiting our people and the products YO! handle.

By identifying the above, we have invested in a robust applicant tracking system (ATS) when hiring new people and external right to work checking system, Trust ID. By introducing both ATS and Trust ID we have lowered our risk for recruitment as all of our teams complete an online application through ATS and are applying at their own will, hold a face to face interviews where further checks are held and a thorough external right to work check is followed.

With regards to our suppliers, we understand that some of our food products, mainly fish, would be identified as high risk within their supply chain. By introducing our tight procedures, new contracts, completing supply audits and continuing our ongoing close relationships with suppliers, YO! will safely measure the risk moving forward.

Both our people and suppliers have access to our modern slavery policy along with the whistleblowing policy and procedure they must follow if needed.


Training on modern slavery and trafficking

YO! highlights that the education of our People into risks of modern slavery and human trafficking within our business and supply chains is important. This is done through our internal communication platform YO! 360 and e-learning programmes FLOW. Our People are encouraged to identify and report any potential breaches of the organisations anti-slavery and human trafficking policy.

Employees are taught the benefits of stringent measures to tackle slavery and human trafficking, as well as the consequences of failing to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from our business and supply chains. Examples of training provided across our organisation include:

  • Representatives from each department within our Head Office have attended a Morden Slavery training session run by one of our Partners.
  • All Managers who Operate region have completed a e-learning training on the topic.
  • Information absorbed during the training has been communicated out to all our employees via our communication platform YO! 360, to ensure they are aware of the signs to spot and how to communicate correctly if they deem it necessary.
  • YO! Sushi are a registered support of Stronger Together and actively use the resources available to improve our understanding in the topic across the organisation.
  • A representative of our People Team attend training every year in order to ensure we are adhering to the Morden Slavery Act 2015


Key performance indicators to measure effectiveness of steps being taken

YO! have taken many steps during 2020/21 to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking within the business, these consist of:

  • Introducing a new whistleblowing policy and procedure and partnered with a company called ‘Protect’. The decision to use an external company was made to ensure all matters were dealt with in a private and confidential way where all identities remain anonymous. Once the circumstance has been put forward to ‘Protect’, the trained advisers will guide the employee through the best course of action along with providing professional advice. If the matter is deemed as Whistleblowing, all information will be forward to the People department who will conduct a full investigation.
  • A company wide right to work audit check took place using an external company called ‘Trust ID’. This ensued all our people had the right documents in place to work for YO! and were all given guidance on what to do to continue working with YO! when the documents expired.  All new hires undergo the same process where their right to work documents are verified using the app.
  • In addition to the above, a right to work audit is done every quarter to notify employees if their documents are due to expire to ensure we provide our people with enough time to renew.
  • YO! designed a new Applicant tracking system (ATS). This allows us to keep all the data centrally and have better control over recruitment. The system has an application form that the employee must complete, telephone invite, face to face interview, right to work check prior to the person starting. It ensures that people are applying at their own will.
  • YO! created an awareness training that highlighted key signs to spot on our e-learning platform ‘Flow’. All Managers who operate a region or managed a team completed the awareness training.
  • A section within the supplier contract was added to outline expectations and ensure consistency between all suppliers and YO!


Further steps YO! will take to prevent Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking in 2021/22

Following our review of our actions this financial year to prevent slavery or human trafficking from occurring in our business or supply chains, we intend to take the following further steps to tackle slavery and human trafficking: 

  • Continue with our high standards and auditing process we use with our suppliers.
  • Maintain the robust verify right to work checks through ‘Trust ID’ for all new employees and move our audit from 3-monthly check for existing employees rather than every quarter.
  • Ensure all our restaurant managers have watched and understood the training on our e-learning platform ‘Flow’  
  • Become an active Business Partner with Stronger Together to eliminate any future risk



Richard Hodgson
Chief Executive Officer