Jamie Oliver's restaurant empire calls in administrators as 1,300 jobs at risk

Jamie Oliver’s restaurant empire is on the brink of collapse, as the chain prepares to call in administrators.

The celebrity chef is appointing KPMG as administrators to handle the insolvency process, leaving up to 1,300 jobs at risk.

The company includes 23 of Jamie’s Italian restaurants, Barbecoa and Fifteen.

The group had been looking for buyers in recent months.

A spokesperson said: ‘The board of Jamie’s Italian Limited has appointed Will Wright and Mark Orton of KPMG to put its UK-based restaurant business into administration.

‘Jamie Oliver Holdings, which operates Jamie Oliver Limited and Jamie Oliver Licensing Limited, as well as the international restaurant franchise business, Jamie’s Italian International Limited, will continue to trade as normal.

‘Fifteen Cornwall, which operates under a franchise, is also unaffected.

Jamie, 43, 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.

‘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.’

This comes after dad-of-five Jamie shut down 12 of his Jamie’s Italian restaurants and made 600 staff redundant in an effort to save his restaurant chain.

In an interview last August with the Financial Times, Jamie explained he put £7.5 million of his own savings into the business to save it from ruin when it was hours from bankruptcy.

He said: ‘We had simply run out of cash…and we hadn’t expected it. ‘That is just not normal, in any business. You have quarterly meetings. You do board meetings. People supposed to manage that stuff should manage that stuff.

‘I had two hours to put money in and save it or the whole thing would go to s*** that day or the next day. It was as bad as that and as dramatic as that.’

Jamie also acquired a £37 million loan from HSBC, and admitted he didn’t know how the chain came so close to collapse.

‘We’re still trying to work it out, but I think that the senior management we had in place were trying to manage what they would call the perfect storm: rents, rates, the high street declining, food costs, Brexit, increase in the minimum wage.’

The Naked Chef later called the episode ‘the worst time in my life’. 

Despite the financial woes, Jamie, his wife Jools and their five children – Poppy, 17, Daisy, 16, Petal, 10, Buddy, 8 two-year-old River – purchased a £6 million mansion in Essex back in January. 

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