Jamie Oliver has said he is “devastated” after his restaurant chains collapsed into administration, making around 1,000 staff members redundant.
Administrators KPMG have closed 22 of the celebrity chef’s 25 restaurants, after investment could not be secured to keep them trading.
The business, which includes Jamie’s Italian, Barbecoa and Fifteen, confirmed the closure of all its sites excluding its two Jamie’s Italian restaurants and Jamie’s Diner at Gatwick Airport.
Mr Oliver took to Twitter to express his sadness, saying he was “devastated” and thanking those who “put their hearts and souls into this business over the years”.
In an official statement, the chef added: “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.”
I’m devastated that our much-loved UK restaurants have gone into administration. 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. Jamie Oliver
— Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver) May 21, 2019
Mr Oliver offered £4 million to support a last-minute search for funds, but with “no investment forthcoming” and in light of difficult trading conditions, the firm appointed the administrators.
Around 1,300 people are estimated to work for the UK business in total.
Closure notices were displayed in the windows of branches across the country on Tuesday.
Will Wright, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “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.”
All restaurant salaries will be paid up to the date of the administrator’s appointment, KPMG added.
The process does not affect Mr Oliver’s other companies, which handle his media and licensing deals, while the international branch of Jamie’s Italian is also unaffected.
Fifteen Cornwall, which operates under a franchise, is also not involved.
It follows a hunt for a new investor in the Jamie’s Italian 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.
In 2018 Jamie’s Italian shuttered 12 of its 37 sites through a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).
Today is a sad day for the restaurant industry, my thoughts go out to Jamie, his family and all the staff at his restaurants. GDx
— Gino D'Acampo (@Ginofantastico) May 21, 2019
The TV personality’s steak house, Barbecoa, also went into a pre-pack administration, leading to the closure of its Piccadilly branch.
Overseas, five branches of the Australian arm of Jamie’s Italian was 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 told Press Association earlier this year that casual dining was primed for a comeback.