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Jamie Oliver’s U.K. Restaurant Empire Collapses

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As many as 1,000 jobs are at risk

AWXI - Day 1 Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for AWXI

TV chef Jamie Oliver’s restaurant group has gone into administration, with as many as 1,000 jobs said to be at risk.

BBC reports that financial services firm KPMG have been appointed to oversee the administration of the company — that is, managing the creditors owed by the company.

As well as the Jamie’s Italian chain of fast casual restaurants, it is thought that the process will also affect Barbecoa, Oliver’s steakhouse in the City, and Fifteen, the chef’s flagship restaurant in Old Street. In total, 22 restaurants will close; three restaurants will remain open: Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall at Watergate Bay, a franchise, near Newquay, as well as Oliver’s food businesses at Gatwick airport. International outposts of Jamie’s Italian, Jamie’s Pizzeria and Jamie’s Deli will also continue to trade.

It follows a turbulent 18 months for the chef and his group, which underwent a restructuring last year, after a number of sites had been deemed to be underperforming, or loss making. The 11-year-old restaurant portfolio — which was largely made up by the casual Italian chain, Jamie’s Italian — went from operating 43 restaurants nationwide to 25, which also included the closure of Jamie’s Diner in Soho and Barbecoa steakhouse on Piccadilly.

The chef subsequently claimed that the business was hours away from collapsing, before Oliver himself injected personal cash to stave off bankruptcy and further closures.

A spokesperson for the company today said: “The board of Jamie’s Italian Limited has appointed Will Wright and Mark Orton of KPMG to put its UK-based restaurant business into administration.”

Jamie Oliver himself added: “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.

“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. 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.”

Regarding Oliver’s other interests, namely his own brand, TV shows, book deals, and international franchises, the spokesperson added: “Jamie Oliver Holdings, which operates Jamie Oliver Limited and Jamie Oliver Licensing Limited, as well as the international restaurant franchise business, Jamie’s Italian International Limited, will continue to trade as normal. Fifteen Cornwall, which operates under a franchise, is also unaffected.”

More soon.