Jamie Oliver: Restaurant chain collapses into insolvency, risking 1,300 jobs

British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver founded his Jamie's Italian brand of high street restaurant in 2008

British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver founded his Jamie's Italian brand of high street restaurant in 2008

The LBC presenter called today a "sad day" for Jamie Oliver and his staff, as news emerged of the appointment of administrators to the chef's United Kingdom restaurant chain.

The administration, a form of creditor protection, also affects Barbecoa, a steakhouse, and Fifteen London - Oliver's first restaurant which he founded in 2002, a social enterprise created to train young unemployed people. "And we did exactly that".

"Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group Limited".

Accounting firm KPMG has been appointed to oversee the immediate closure of 22 of the "Naked Chef" star's Jamie's Italian, Fifteen London and Barbecoa restaurants in the UK. Overseas branches of Jamie's Italian, Jamie's Pizzeria and Jamie's Deli, are not affected, nor is Fifteen Cornwall, which operates as a franchise.

A description of the business on Jamie's website says: "Jamie's Italian restaurant in Leeds stands proud in the heart of the city centre, just moments from the Trinity shopping complex and the train station. However, with no suitable investment forthcoming and in light of the very hard current trading environment, the directors resolved to appoint administrators", KPMG said in a statement quoted by the BBC.

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Oliver has personally pumped 13 million pounds ($24 million) into his Italian chain, but it was not enough.

Discussing that move, the celebrity chef said a "perfect storm" had brought his restaurant chain to the brink, blaming a combination of high rents, rates, food costs, a decline of the high street, Brexit, and the increase in the minimum wage. The Byron burger chain had to shutter two-fifths of its restaurants a year ago as part of its own restructuring agreement with creditors.

The business empire slumped to a loss of almost £20m last year, dragged down by a grim year at the restaurant chain. The Italian chain Strada shuttered a third of its restaurants at the start of 2018, and Prezzo and Carluccio's-yes, Italian food again-had to undergo restructuring. In 2014, he shut down most of his Union Jack's restaurant business-and three years after that, he closed a decade-old magazine.

Oliver put more than $3.8 million of his own money into his businesses in December 2017, according to the BBC.

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