The majority of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants in Britain ceased trading immediately as of last Tuesday, leaving 1000 people without jobs. By Shrimayee Thakur
The latest victim of an unfortunate trend of UK restaurants falling into financial distress, 22 out of 25 of Jamie Oliver’s high street restaurants have closed after going into administration, a form of creditor protection. The Jamie’s Italian brand was founded by the chef in 2008. Two branches of Jamie’s Italian in Gatwick’s Airport and one of Jamie Oliver’s Diner will stay open for now. The administration also affects Fifteen London, owned by Oliver and Barbecoa, a steakhouse.
The recent trend is purported to be a result of growing customer tendency to opt for home food delivery apps such as Just Eat and Deliveroo, which offer faster food service, over high street restaurants like Jamie’s. Data published by Kantar shows 5 million less trips to full service restaurants till March 24 along with a 6% drop in sales, as compared to data from the last year.
Oliver is a well-known celebrity chef who rose to fame after being discovered by BBC in the late 1990s, while he was working as a chef in London’s River Cafe. His show, Naked Chef, was broadcast in several countries, establishing him as a well-known personality at the age of 21. He won an honour from Queen Elizabeth in 2003 for his project to train unemployed youngsters for Fifteen London. He has used his star status to push the issue of growing child obesity problems, and campaigned for healthier meals in schools.
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The Fifteen Cornwall franchise and Jamie Oliver’s international restaurant franchise business are unaffected by the financial distress.