Yo! has confirmed it will close 19 loss-making restaurants and cut 250 staff as part of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

It said the current climate and “changes in consumer behaviour” meant that rents at some restaurants were unsustainable.

Yo! CEO Richard Hodgson said: “While we have already taken measures to reduce costs, rents remain an issue.

“In the current climate, it’s just not viable for us to keep any sites that no longer perform.”

The company also said the CVA will mean it can exit nine sites where it no longer operates but is still responsible for the rent.

Yo! Sushi currently has 59 restaurants and 10 concessions in the UK. It has adapted its conveyor belt delivery system to make diners feel safer in its restaurants in the age of coronavirus.

The company is taking part in the government’s ‘eat out to help out’ scheme, which gives people a discount of up to £10 per head if they dine at a restaurant between Monday and Wednesday during August.

Hodgson said: “Like the rest of the sector, we need to take decisive action to adapt to the lasting changes that the covid pandemic has brought about.”

“While it’s been a very difficult decision to make and I am very sorry that it will mean losing many of our team members, a CVA has become an essential measure to secure our business for the future, and enable us to protect as many jobs as possible.”