British chef Jamie Oliver's business goes to the wall in Australia

Business | 17 Apr 2018 12:11 pm

British chef Jamie Oliver, whose business is heavily in debt, has been forced to give up his Australian restaurants after the group was placed in the hands of voluntary administrators.

Oliver runs restaurants in Hong Kong.

Five of the restaurants trading as Jamie’s Italian – in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Parramatta – have been sold to the Brisbane-based restaurant group Hallmark in a last-minute rescue deal, The Guardian reports.

A note on the door of the Canberra restaurant announced its demise:

Dear Canberra,

It is with great sadness that Jamie’s Italian Canberra has had to close its doors indefinitely.

We thank you for all of your support over the last 4.5 years.

From all the staff at Jamie’s Canberra we bid you a fond farewell.

Big Love Mr O xxx

The Guardian earlier reported that the crisis at Jamie’s Italian has followed a series of business setbacks for Oliver, who by his own admission has "fxxx up” 40% of his ventures and lost £90m of his wealth since 2014.

The Naked Chef had stepped in to rescue the six Australian restaurants bearing his name in November 2016 after Australian hospitality company, Keystone group, which operated the franchise, went into administration, The Guardian reports.

Now Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group Australia, which is wholly owned by the UK company, Jamie’s Italian Limited, has suffered the same fate. .

There was no details about the debts owed by the company, but documents lodged with the corporate regulator, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, revealed Oliver’s Australian subsidiary had been in discussion with advisers over voluntary administration since late March.

In a statement issued Monday night a spokesperson for the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group Australia said: "Australia has and continues to be one of our best-performing international markets and, after a short period of in-house management we are pleased to be partnering with Hallmark.”

Hallmark said it was "thrilled to partner with Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group on the Australian portfolio”. The sale is a franchise arrangement and Oliver will not retain any shareholding in the Australian group.

"We’ll be working closely with Jamie and the UK team, staff and local suppliers to keep driving the business forward and delivering exceptional experiences across the country,” Hallmark said, the Guardian reports.-Photo: Pearlfisher

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