INTERNATIONAL – Thousands of workers are set to lose their jobs as Jamie Oliver’s restaurant chain faces crashing into administration today.
The celebrity chef’s beleaguered restaurant chain Jamie’s Italian has appointed administrators, putting as many as 1,300 jobs at risk, it has been announced today.
The 43-year-old said he was ‘deeply saddened by the outcome’ and thanked staff and suppliers, ‘who have put their hearts and souls into this business for over a decade.’
He added: ‘I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected.’
In 2017 the father-of-five, who lives in an £8.9 million eight-bedroom mansion in Highgate, ploughed £12.7million of his own money into his struggling restaurant business after being given two hours to save the chain.
Jamie’s Italian, which opened its first restaurant in 2008, was struggling with debts of £71.5million and teetered on the edge of bankruptcy in 2017 before the chef injected £12.7million of his savings into the business.
In 2018 Jamie’s Italian shuttered 12 of its 37 sites, with the latter tranche executed through a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).
The TV chef’s steak house Barbecoa also went into a pre-pack administration, leading to the closure of its Piccadilly branch.
The business said it had appointed KPMG to oversee the process, with a more detailed announcement expected later today.
Speaking today, Mr Oliver said: ‘I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the staff and our suppliers who have put their hearts and souls into this business for over a decade. I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected.
‘I would also like to thank all the customers who have enjoyed and supported us over the last decade, it’s been a real pleasure serving you.
‘We launched Jamie’s Italian in 2008 with the intention of positively disrupting mid-market dining in the UK high street, with great value and much higher quality ingredients, best-in-class animal welfare standards and an amazing team who shared my passion for great food and service. And we did exactly that.’
It follows a hunt for a new investor in the brand, with a number of private equity firms touted as mulling bids for a stake in the business.
Mr Oliver’s restaurant empire has taken a few knocks over the past two years.
Overseas, five branches of the Australian arm of Jamie’s Italian were sold off last year, while another was put into administration.
Despite the troubles, which forced Mr Oliver to pump £13 million of his own money into his Italian chain, he said earlier this year that casual dining was primed for a comeback.
Today’s announcement comes as another death knell for the British high street, with a host of once-popular restaurants and shops closing sites.
In March, Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) said it planned to close more than a third of its Giraffe and Ed’s Easy Diner outlets, while Carluccio’s, Prezzo, Strada and Gourmet Burger Kitchen closed branches in 2018.