Yesterday it was confirmed that both Barbecoa steak restaurants in the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group had entered administration. It was also confirmed that the assets and lease of the original site, in St. Paul’s, was purchased by a new company “One New Change Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group.”
Robin Knight at AlixPartners, the restaurant’s appointed administrators confirmed to Eater that the restaurant on Piccadilly closed yesterday. Knight added that all staff, “approximately 80,” had been made redundant. They were all “paid in full and notice periods also paid,” he added. Staff were informed of the closure and their redundancy in a meeting yesterday. Eater also understands that the staff were given access to other possibilities elsewhere in the company.
The restaurant opened on 13 February last year.
Outspoken restaurateur Martin Williams of M Restaurants yesterday expressed his interest in buying the Barbecoa brand. In a statement, he said:
I believe there is a future for Barbecoa which appears to be a casualty of the melt-down of the Oliver Empire. I’m interested in acquiring the brand and protecting the jobs of staff, many of who are very talented individuals whom I have mentored throughout my career. I believe the business has potential and we approached the company late last week to attempt to come up with a mutually acceptable agreement.
However Williams’ interest in the acquisition cooled today. He said he hoped to buy the brand in its entirety, not the one Piccadilly site, whose rent, he claimed, was overpriced.
“As a whole business it has great potential,” he said. “Split by the controversial Pre-Pack Administration deal, it is no longer an interesting proposition and the Piccadilly rent is twice what it should be. However, as we grow the M brand, we will seek new opportunities as they arise and welcome the cream of hospitality talent to join us on that journey.”
Curiously, Williams’ original statement was released late yesterday afternoon, which was after it had already been confirmed that One New Change Limited had purchased the St. Paul’s site.