The group had 26 restaurants in total – 23 under the Jamie’s Italian brand with further properties including the Jamie Oliver’s Diner concept pop-up at Gatwick Airport based on an American Diner; the upscale Barbecoa in London and Fifteen, the first restaurant the chef opened in 2002. The group currently employs over 1,300 staff in a variety of roles.
Administrators have confirmed that 22 of the restaurants are to close with immediate effect with three remaining open. They are the Diner and two branches of Jamie’s Italian.
Jamie Oliver said: “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 UK 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.”
The chain saw a loss of nearly £20m last year alone and was close to insolvency then before Oliver injected £13m of his own funds into the business as capital. Jamie’s Italian closed 12 branches at the time with 600 staff members being made redundant.
The group entered a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) which allowed an orderly closure of the outlets and the rest of the chain to function until today.
It wasn’t alone in pursuing the CVA route to restructure and renewal. Carluccio’s, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Byron and Prezzo also brought in administrators to oversee their restructuring process.
Restaurant expert Tony Naylor gives credence to the view within the industry that while a CVA might offer a lifeline to a “quality chain” in financial distress, ultimately is this just delaying the inevitable in a squeezed sector?
He said: “In 18 months the restaurant industry has gone from not knowing what a CVA is, to shrugging off news that yet another national brand is grabbing that lifeline. As of Spring 2019, the CVA remains the season’s must-have paperwork – a fashionable firewall to protect still profitable sites from the folly of over-expansion.
“So normalised has the CVA become that, certainly publicly, all parties from CEOs to creditors talk about it with great calmness. A business-like calmness that makes you wonder how much soul-searching is really going on in the branded side of UK hospitality.”
While Tony makes a lot of pertinent points, a CVA remains a genuine and realistic route of restructure and survival for genuinely viable restaurants or bars that are experiencing some temporary turbulence.
Contact one of our team of business recovery experts today to talk through your situation and they will be able to lay out a menu of options available to you right now.
As experienced and knowledgeable as any maitre’d, we could be the difference between continuing service and pulling the shutters for the final time.