Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has been forced to close six of his Italian restaurants blaming ‘rising costs’ and ‘the impact of Brexit’ on their downfall.
The closures will put 120 staff out of work at Jamie’s Italian restaurants in Aberdeen, Cheltenham, Exeter, Ludgate, Richmond in London and Tunbridge Wells.
But the outspoken chef is clear why his ventures folded, pointing the finger at the UK’s vote for Brexit and the falling pound.
Loss: Jamie Oliver has been forced to close six of his Italian restaurants ‘due to Brexit’
Shut: The closures will affect Jamie’s Italian restaurants in Aberdeen, Cheltenham, Exeter, Ludgate, Richmond in London and Tunbridge Wells
Job loss: The group will try to find jobs for the staff affected by the closures of its restaurants
The top notch restaurants are all scheduled to close in the first quarter, the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group said on Friday.
The group said it will try to find jobs for staff affected by the closures in different restaurants.
But the business flop comes in the wake of Oliver admitting at an advertising seminar last year: ‘I’ve wasted and f***** up about 40 per cent of my ventures.’
Chief executive Simon Blagden said: ‘As every restaurant owner knows, this is a tough market and, post-Brexit, the pressures and unknowns have made it even harder.
‘While our overall business is in very good shape – we finished last year with like-for-like sales growth and an increase in covers – because we refuse to compromise on the quality and provenance of our ingredients and our commitment to training and developing our staff, we need restaurants that can serve an average of 3,000 covers every week to be sustainable.’
Oliver admitting at an advertising seminar last year: ‘I’ve wasted and f***** up about 40 per cent of my ventures’
Closed: This restaurant in Richmond London, is among those that will be closed
Restaurant: The chef’s restaurant group said it had seen lower footfall in its restaurants lately
The restaurant group said it has been stung by the collapse in the pound, which has ramped up the cost of buying ingredients from Italy.
It has also seen rising staff costs and lower footfall traipsing through its restaurants.
According to accounts filed at Companies House, revenue at Jamie’s Italian rose by almost 9 per cent to £116.1 million in 2015, although profits fell from £3.8 million to £2.3 million.
Folded: There are 42 Jamie’s Italian outlets in the UK and 28 overseas which employs 3,100 in Britain, but these branches will be among those caught up in closures
Fortune: Oliver, pictured with wife Jools, has accrued a personal fortune of £240million from his business ventures which include cook books, and restaurants
Oliver, who has accrued a personal fortune of £240million from his business ventures has a range of cook books and an international restaurant empire.
He has 42 Jamie’s Italian outlets in the UK and 28 overseas and employs 3,100 people in Britain.
Mr Blagden added: ‘These closures are in no way a reflection on the dedication and commitment of our staff and my first priority is to try and secure those affected alternative jobs within other Jamie’s Italian restaurants.
‘Where this isn’t possible, we’ll be working with them to find alternative employment. Jamie’s Italian has become a much loved presence on the UK high street and we have our teams to thank for that.
‘These closures represent less than 5 percent of total turnover and impact less than 5 percent of our team members.”
Last year, Keystone Group, which ran Oliver’s ‘Jamie’s Italian’ restaurants in Australia, collapsed in June 2016, leaving the celebrity chef’s Aussie ventures in debt
However, this is not the first time that Oliver has experienced business troubles.
Last year June, Keystone Group, which ran Oliver’s ‘Jamie’s Italian’ restaurants in Australia, collapsed leaving the celebrity chef’s Aussie ventures in debt.
Oliver was quick to distance himself from the group, blasting them for leaving his six Australian restaurants with a mountain of debt.
The company, which managed two of Oliver’s restaurants in Sydney, and one each in Canberra, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane, owed £20 million ($34 million) in unsecured debt.
Debt: Oliver was quick to distance himself from the group, blasting them for leaving his six Australian restaurants (one pictured here) with a mountain of debt
Elsewhere, an investigation by The Daily Mail in 2016 found that Oliver had burned through public money to fund one of his restaurants in the past.
Despite owning a £200million restaurant empire, Oliver saw one of his restaurants handed £155,000 of Local Enterprise Partnership grants.
In 2015, his Jamie’s Italian restaurant chain was attacked on two fronts: by disgruntled diners and by dissatisfied former staff.
And in echoes of today’s announcement Oliver was forced to close one of his Fifteen restaurants run by his brother-in-law, Paul Hunt.
The closure left 44 employees facing redundancy at Christmas.
But it was not surprising, as accounts for his private company, Jamie Oliver Holdings, revealed that it ran up multi-million-pound losses in 2014.
After this latest round of closures, the group said it will now focus on the ‘core Jamie’s Italian estate’ and on the expansion of the Barbecoa brand.
The Barbecoa brand will see two new openings in 2017.
Internationally, the firm plans to launch another 22 Jamie’s Italian restaurants and develop its newly acquired Australian restaurants.
HOW JAMIE OLIVER’S CHARITY GOT £155,000 FROM LEP
Officials in charge of billions of pounds of Whitehall business grants have overseen hundreds of payments to their colleagues’ firms.
An investigation by The Daily Mail, found that grants were handed out to celebrities and businessmen.
The money came from ‘Local Enterprise Partnerships or LEPs’ consisting of local business bosses and council chiefs.
Jamie Oliver, who has a £200million restaurant empire and is the UK’s second bestselling author saw one of his restaurants handed £155,000 of LEP funding.
Charity venture: Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver with graduates from his Fifteen restaurant
Fifteen Cornwall – which was set up in 2006 with £3million of EU money – has an annual turnover of £3million and serves 80,000 meals a year, with any profits going to charity.
The not-for-profit restaurant, which is near Newquay, supports apprenticeships for young chefs in need of training and employment.
While the restaurant is run by the Cornwall Food Foundation charity it was founded and is supported by Oliver.
It is one of the most high-profile social enterprises in the country, coming to the public’s attention after Fifteen London was the subject of Oliver’s hit television series Jamie’s Kitchen in 2002. However, despite its enormous exposure and celebrity backing, taxpayers’ money has been set aside by the LEP board to partly fund an extension to the premises.
The funds were applied for in summer 2012 and awarded in October. They were used in January 2013 towards a £400,000 refit and expansion of the restaurant.
Oliver, 41, splits his time between his £10million home in Primrose Hill, north London and a manor house in Essex. At an advertising seminar last year, Oliver confessed: ‘I’ve wasted and f***** up about 40 per cent of my ventures.’
Matthew Thomson, the chief executive of Fifteen Cornwall, said of the LEP funding: ‘The investment was to enable growth and I am really pleased to say that since the investment Fifteen Cornwall has increased the amount it pays to our parent charity every year.’