LONDON: British celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver said Tuesday that he was “devastated” to announce that his restaurant group had collapsed, placing 1,300 jobs under threat.
The group, which includes the chains Jamie’s Italian and Barbecoa steakhouse, has appointed administrators KPMG. The international division is unaffected.
Oliver expressed deep sadness at the move, which comes amid fierce competition in the sector in Britain.
“I’m devastated that our much-loved UK restaurants have gone into administration,” he tweeted.
Oliver’s group has officially fallen into administration – the process whereby a troubled company calls in outside expertise to try and minimise job losses.
“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,” he added in a separate statement.
“I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected.”
The news follows a string of closures at the group’s restaurants over the last two years, including 12 of its 37 Jamie’s Italian outlets in 2018.
Louisa Bull, national officer at trade union Unite, said that the high street was suffering “dark” times from ongoing economic turmoil in Britain, adding that Oliver’s group had also expanded too fast.
“This is another dark day for the UK high street, following hard on the heels of the collapse of (British cafe chain) Patisserie Valerie early this year,” Bull remarked in a statement.
“Restaurants are not being helped by the current economic uncertainty, although those businesses like Jamie Oliver’s that dashed for expansion in recent years seem particularly precarious.
“As ever, it is the workers at the restaurant and in the supply chain who bear the heavy cost of boardroom decisions.”