Simon Woodroffe

(17 Jun 2008)
In Brief

What do you do when you've been a roadie, stage designer, TV executive, have got to the age of 40, nearly run out of money and are unemployable with a family to support? You start a conveyor belt sushi bar.

That's what Simon did and letting you into his world and mind tells you about what he learned along the way and how he stayed on the tightrope to open YO! Sushi, YO! Below, YO! to Go and now a host of YO! spin-offs with which he hopes to eclipse Virgin and Easy. Audience feedback is that Simon is completely Inspiring and empowering and describe him as an "extraordinary, ordinary guy".

Simon explains a bit more humbly: "I talk about myself and things that happened to me in my life. And they think, "well if he could do that, then I could too. "It's about inspiration."

Simon delivers key note presentations, interactive workshops, after dinner speeches and Master of Ceremonies, all of which can be tailored to your needs.


Simon 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, Simon went into television. He spearheaded 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 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 at home and abroad.

In 1999 Simon 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 this year, 2006.

Simon has most recently appeared on the BBC 2 produced worldwide hit programme 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. Simon has also featured on Discovery TV's VIP Weekends with Ian Wright, ITV's Homes & Property and ITV's The Millionaire's Club.

As a result of being asked to share the story of his entrepreneurial success, Simon has developed a strong reputation on the UK and international public speaking circuit. Simon speaks openly avoiding business cliche and audiences find his story extremely inspiring and a catalyst for their own endeavours, be they in a large corporate setting or working at a start-up level.

Simon is developing new YO! brands including YOTEL, the world's most revolutionary hotel opening 2007; YO! Zone, part spa, part cafe, part bar and part nightclub; and YO! How, an online support community for budding entrepreneurs

Call us now to book Simon Woodroffe on 01 6190243 or email


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