Jamie Oliver's restaurant group collapses
The restaurant group fronted by celebrity chef Jamie Olivier has collapsed, putting up to 1,300 jobs at risk.
KPMG has been appointed administrators for the business, which includes the 23-strong Jamie’s Italian chain, along with two other restaurants, Barbecoa and Fifteen, both of which are in London.
It is understood that overseas Jamie’s Italians and the Fifteen restaurant in Cornwall will not be affected, as they are operated as franchises.
Oliver, who rose to fame as a TV chef in the late 1990s, tweeted that he was "devasted that our much-loved UK restaurants have gone into administration".
The post continued: "I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the people who have put their hearts and souls into this business over the years."
Oliver moved into restaurants in 2002 when he opened Fifteen, before launching the mid-market chain Jamie’s Italian in 2008.
But the business has increasingly suffered from over-capacity across the UK dining sector, and last year Jamie’s Italian saw sales slump nearly 11%. To stave off administration, Oliver injected around £13m into the debt-laden business and shut 12 restaurants, with the loss of around 600 jobs.
Other mid-market chains that have struggled amid stiff competition include Byron Burger, Prezzo and Carluccio’s.
The collapse of the Jamie Oliver Group coincides with industry research from CGA and Alix Partners. Their latest Market Growth Monitor found that the number of restaurants fell 2.8%, net of openings, in the year to March, the equivalent of 15 sites a week closing down. In total, more than 750 outlets have closed over the last 12 months.
Unite regional officer Louisa Bull said: "This is another dark day for the UK high street, following hard on the heels of the collapse of Patisserie Valerie early this year. Restaurants are not being helped by the current economic uncertainty, although those businesses like Jamie Oliver’s that dashed for expansion in recent years seem particularly precarious. As ever, it is the workers at the restaurant and in the supply chain who bear the heavy cost of boardroom decisions.
"Unite, which has some members working in the Jamie’s Italian chain, is seeking urgent assurances that the staff will be protected and paid all the money they’re owed, including wages, holiday and redundancy."