Jamie’s Italian, the 36-strong UK Italian restaurant chain from Britain’s much-loved, clothes-shy chef Jamie Oliver, has posted a £9.9m loss for the last financial year. Broken by MCA, the news sees a decline from a pre-tax profit of £2.4m for a staggering net loss of £12.3m. It’s a direct blow from the widely-reported closure of six restaurants at the start of the year, reported to have cost the group £10.9m.
The Jamie’s Italian concept was founded in 2008 by the eponymous Oliver and his longtime friend, business partner and ragazzo Gennaro Contaldo, promising affordable Italian cuisine more in kinship with the country itself than other high street competitors — a promise frequently delivered on, if in a typically shtick-heavy style. As the website puts it:
Jamie’s Italian started with what Italian’s are most proud of – fantastic, rustic dishes, using recipes that have been tried tested and loved. Our menu is rooted in authenticity, driven by what you’d find people eating all over Italy.
Taking inspiration from the “Italian table” – where people relax, share and enjoy each other’s company – our menu is packed full of antipasti and nibbles, perfect for sharing, as well as comforting bowls of pasta, beautiful fresh salads and grills.
Putting aside misplaced apostrophes, it’s a noble mission, which Oliver and Contaldo’s frequently televised travels in Italy bear out; the copy even goes so far as to credit Contaldo’s influence for “adding substance” to Oliver’s British gaze. Unfortunately, nobility aside, it’s not translated into the financials — with £1.4m in losses unaccounted for from the predicted hit, this looks to be another example of what industry commentators have ominously called “a challenging period of market correction”, which, appropriately, “looms”. While Jamie’s Italian may have spread its offering as far afield as St. Petersburg and even Bali, the UK loom has finally caught up.