Wed, 22 May 2019 | ADMINISTRATION
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who shot to fame after campaigning for healthier school meals and general eating, has said he is “devastated” after announcing that his restaurant group collapsed into administration after failing to receive fresh funding to support the company’s finances.
Joint administrators Will Wright and Mark Orton from KPMG have been appointed to handle the administration processes for Jamie’s Italian chain, Fifteen and Barbecoa.
Of Oliver’s 25 restaurants across the country, 22 have shut down as a result of the insolvency. The remaining three will continue to trade in the short-term whilst the administrators explore options for their future.
In a statement to the public, the administrators said: “The group had recently undertaken a process to secure additional investment into the business and, since the beginning of this year, Jamie Oliver has made available additional funds of £4 million to support the fundraising.
“However, with no suitable investment forthcoming and in light of the very difficult current trading environment, the directors resolved to appoint administrators.”
In spite of the administration, Jamie Oliver’s international restaurants trading under the Jamie’s Italian, Jamie’s Pizzeria and Jamie’s Deli brands remain unaffected.
The administration comes two years after which the business underwent a restructuring process to cull its unprofitable venues. During this time, Oliver provided personal guarantees to HSBC and Brakes, its lender and distributor respectively, to allow them to claim against him for unpaid bills – a figure that now stands at £37 million.
The collapse of the UK restaurants has been put down to a result of its inability to keep up with rapidly changing trends in a dynamic environment.
Partner at law firm Gordons, and a hospitality industry expert, Simon Mydlowski, commented on the administration saying: “To be successful in this sector you have to be constantly evolving – from the menus and the drinks choice, to the way you engage with customers.
“Faced with higher rent, rising food prices and increased competition, restaurants need a point of difference – it’s no coincidence that smaller brands with the freedom and flexibility to keep things fresh are currently the ones performing well.”
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