The Jamie Oliver restaurant group today (May 21) collapsed into administration – with all but three of the restauranteur’s outlets now closed, resulting in the loss of more than 1,000 jobs.
Executives at accountancy firm KPMG were today appointed as administrators, who will now seek buyers for the three remaining establishments at Gatwick Airport, including a Jamie’s Diner. All other outlets outside Gatwick, which include Jamie’s Italian, Barbecoa, and Fifteen, have shut.
Amid plunging sales which nosedived by 11 per cent last year to £101m, the restaurant group sought to find a buyer in recent months. Poor sales led the group to close 12 restaurants and slash 600 jobs. Celebrity chef and restauranteur Jamie Oliver ploughed £13m of his own money into the restaurant group last year, which saved it from bankruptcy in the 11th hour.
The Jamie Oliver group’s collapse comes amid tough trading conditions in casual dining, with many chains closing outlets including Carluccio’s, Byron Burger and Prezzo. Café chain Patisserie Valerie collapsed into administration in January – 70 outlets shut and nearly 1,000 jobs were lost, while 96 shops were saved.
Unite national officer Louisa Bull called today’s news “a devastating blow for the chain’s hardworking and loyal workforce.
“This is another dark day for the UK high street, following hard on the heels of the collapse of Patisserie Valerie early this year,” she said. “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.”
Bull added, “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.”