A total of 1,000 people face redundancy after 22 of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s 25 restaurants closed when the group went into administration.
KPMG confirmed today that it has been appointed administrator to the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, which operates 22 Jamie’s Italian sites as well as the Barbecoa and Fifteen brands.
Jamie’s Italian in Dundrum Shopping Centre is unaffected by the news, as it is run by Gerry Fitzpatrick under a franchise agreement.
Oliver said he was “devastated” by the news.
The group employs approximately 1,300 staff. It had recently undertaken a process to secure additional investment and, since the beginning of this year, Jamie Oliver himself has made available additional funds of £4m to support the fundraising.
But the group failed to attract the extra cash it needed and in what KPMG called a “very difficult trading environment”, it called in the administrators.
While most restaurants have now closed, Jamie’s Italian restaurants and Jamie Oliver’s Diner at Gatwick Airport will continue to trade in the short term while the joint administrators explore options for the site.
The 1,000 people to lose their jobs will be paid up to the date of the administrators’ appointment.
The international restaurants trading as Jamie’s Italian, Jamie’s Pizzeria and Jamie’s Deli will continue to trade as normal and are not affected by the administration of the UK restaurant business.
Oliver said: “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.”
Will Wright, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “The current trading environment for companies across the casual dining sector is as tough as I’ve ever seen. The directors at Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group have worked tirelessly to stabilise the business against a backdrop of rising costs and brittle consumer confidence. However, after a sales process which sought to bring new investment into the business proved unsuccessful, the team took the incredibly difficult decision to appoint administrators.
“Unfortunately, with insufficient funds available to be able to trade the business in administration, all but the Gatwick airport restaurants have now closed. Our priority in the coming hours and days is to work with those employees who have been made redundant, providing any support and assistance they need.”
Last year, it emerged that Oliver had injected £13m of his own money to rescue the ailing business, which went into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with its creditors in February 2018 and closed 12 of the 37 sites in then operated.