It’s been a tough day for Jamie Oliver. The celebrity chef took to Twitter on Tuesday, May 21, to announce that his restaurant group, which comprises 25 eateries across Britain, had gone into administration, meaning all but three properties are slated to close immediately.
The British term, which is a form of creditor protection, means the company (Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group) must repay debts in order to escape insolvency, if possible. It is similar to going bankrupt, and likely means that without a major influx of cash, Oliver’s restaurants (including the chains Jamie’s Italian and Barbecoa steakhouses), will cease to exist.
“I’m devastated that our much-loved UK restaurants have gone into administration,” the 43-year-old shared. “I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the people who have put their hearts and souls into this business over the years.”
I’m devastated that our much-loved UK restaurants have gone into administration. I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the people who have put their hearts and souls into this business over the years. Jamie Oliver
— Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver) May 21, 2019
As of Tuesday morning, signs posted outside several of Oliver’s U.K. establishments alluded to the financial troubles. “This restaurant is now closed,” read a notice on the door of a Jamie’s Italian restaurant in Glasgow, Scotland.
“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,” the Friday Night Feast star said in a longer statement to Britain’s iNews. “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.”
Added the U.K.-born chef: “We launched Jamie’s Italian in 2008 with the intention of positively disrupting mid-market dining in the U.K. 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.”
Though Oliver’s Gatwick airport restaurants are expected to remain operational (for the time being), the closures mean an estimated 1,000 people are now unemployed. Fifteen Cornwall, which is operated under a franchise, is unaffected, as is Oliver’s international restaurant franchise business.
The Naked Chef alum previously attempted to save the U.K. portion of his restaurant empire by injecting 13 million dollars of his own money into it in 2017 and 2018. “We had simply run out of cash,” he told the Financial Times last year. “And we hadn’t expected it. That is just not normal, in any business.”
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