Around 1,000 jobs will be lost at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant chain after the business collapsed.
The celebrity chef, 43, who became a household name at the age of 21 thanks to the Naked Chef programme, said he was “deeply saddened” by the development.
Oliver founded his Jamie’s Italian brand of high street restaurants in 2008. Barbecoa, a steakhouse and Jamie Oliver’s Diner are also hit by the administration, which includes the London branch of Fifteen – his first restaurant founded in 2002 as a social enterprise designed to train young people.
All but three of the chain’s 25 branches are to be closed with immediate effect.
Administrators KPMG said both Jamie’s Italian restaurants and Jamie Oliver’s Diner at Gatwick Airport will continue to trade in the short term while options are explored for the site.
The TV chef 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.”
Alin Ciocan, 28, was preparing to start his shift at London Victoria’s branch of Jamie’s Italian when he heard that the branch would not be opening and he had lost his job.
“I didn’t believe it at first,” he said, adding he was unsure if he would stay in the sector.
“I really, really enjoy serving people, but it’s a strange time at the moment, and all the casual dining and high street restaurants are in decline.”
Oliver’s restaurant group was forced to close 12 of its 37 Jamie’s Italian restaurants last year amid the casual dining crunch.
His steak joint Barbecoa closed its Piccadilly site in February as part of a pre-pack administration.
Changing customer habits have been blamed for the closures, with a rise in appetite for takeaway apps such as Just Eat and Deliveroo.
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
Jamie Oliver is going to take a lot of stick for this. He shouldn’t. He tried to create something new. He employed people who were down on their luck. If it’s now failed, we should celebrate more than 10 years of doing something brave and good. https://t.co/pO2YVPvmwm— Nick Boles MP (@NickBoles) May 21, 2019
Fifteen Cornwall, operated under a franchise, is unaffected, as is Jamie Oliver’s international restaurant franchise business.
The company also handed over control of five Jamie’s Italian sites in Australia when the chain went into voluntary administration last April and was sold to Brisbane-based group Hallmark. One other site was closed.
Oliver himself put £13 million of his own money into the business when it ran into trouble last year.
Speaking in January, Oliver, who was discovered by BBC television while working as a chef in London’s River Cafe in the late 1990s, said casual dining was primed for a comeback.
He told the Press Association: “I think we will come back and it will come back strong and it will be relevant.
“For myself and most of the others it’s just sticking it out and listening. I think lots of lessons have been learned but I still believe in the sector.”
Jamie’s Italian closures
London (Covent Garden)
London (London Bridge)
London (Westfield White City)
London (Westfield Stratford)
Barbecoa (One New Change shopping centre, London)
Fifteen (Hoxton, London)
Restaurants still trading
Jamie’s Italian (Gatwick North, London)
Jamie’s Italian Coffee Lounge (Gatwick North, London)
Jamie Oliver’s Diner (Gatwick South, London)
Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall and Jamie’s Italian International are also still trading and have not been part of the administration process.