Yorkshire the choice as Wasabi makes debut outside capital

Kim Dong Hyun of Wasbi.
Kim Dong Hyun of Wasbi.
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Japanese food giant Wasabi Sushi & Bento has chosen Yorkshire for a major £1m investment with plans to open two branches in Leeds, creating more than 50 new jobs in the city.

It is the first time the company, which has 36 branches across London, has expanded outside the capital.

The new branches will open in Trinity Leeds next month.

The Japanese food specialist is also in the process of opening its first outlet in New York and plans to expand further this year.

Launched in 2003, Wasabi saw turnover reach more than £45m last year and currently employs around 1,000 people in the UK.

Wasabi says its sushi is made from scratch in the branch every morning.

It uses fresh ingredients including Scottish salmon and line-caught Yellowfin tuna, which it says are responsibly and sustainably sourced.

Wasabi founder Dong Hyun Kim said: “We’re delighted to be opening our branch in New York and two branches within Trinity Leeds; they mark the first time we have expanded outside London.

“We choose our locations very carefully and Leeds, as a leading retail centre with a vibrant business community and huge student population, is a major draw.”

He added: “With our bright, clean, modern Japanese style, Wasabi will offer a lunchtime alternative of sushi, salads, sashimi and authentic hot bento dishes, which we are confident will be popular with hungry shoppers and workers in search of something new, different and healthy.”

The Japanese food-to-go brand has appointed Leeds-based food and drink PR firm MCG to support the launch of its new Leeds stores.

MCG will be working with Wasabi to launch the two stores with an integrated campaign of social media activity, events, promotions and media relations.