money & Banking

Joanita Wibowo

Jamie Oliver's restaurant chain collapses leaving 1,000 people jobless

Jamie Oliver's restaurant chain collapses leaving 1,000 people jobless

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has been “deeply saddened” after his British restaurant chain collapsed into administration, leaving more than 1,000 people out of work.

The Jamie’s Italian Limited firm – which includes 23 Jamie’s Italian restaurants and 15 Barbecoa outlets – confirmed that it had gone into administration and appointed financial firm KPMG to oversee the process.

“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,” the 43-year-old said in a statement.

“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.”

Oliver opened his first Jamie’s Italian in 2008, and expanded the business across the UK in the following years.

“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.”

His restaurant chain had been in trouble for at least two years, despite the celebrity chef’s fame with his cookbooks, TV shows and public health initiatives. Last year, it closed 12 of its 37 branches in Britain, while five of its Australian arms were sold off and another put into administration.

Oliver said he had spent £13 million of his own money to save the business from bankruptcy. 

“We had simply run out of cash,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times in October.

“I think that the senior management we had in place were trying to manage what they would call the perfect storm: rents, rates, the high street declining, food costs, Brexit, increase in the minimum wage. There was a lot going on.”