British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's restaurant chain collapsesBusiness | 21 May 2019 6:46 pm
British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who operates restaurants in Hong Kong, the UK, and elsewhere, has called in the administrators after an earlier rescue attempt failed.
About 1,300 jobs are at risk, it is estimated. Many of the restaurants that will shut are in London.
It is not known at this stage, if the Hong Kong operations would be affected. They have not been adversely impacted during an earlier crisis. The Big Cat Group, operates two Jamie’s Italian restaurants in Hong Kong, one in Midtown Soundwill Plaza II and the other in Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Jamie's Italian opened for business in Hong Kong in July 2014, on Causeway Bay's Tang Lung Street.
Months before today's collapse of the business, Essex-born Jamie Oliver had shuttered a dozen of the chain’s 37 restaurants and let go 600 workers. In an interview with Financial Times, he had also admitted running out of cash.
“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,'' a spokesperson for the Jamie Oliver Group said.
“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."
Jamie Oliver, said he was “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 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.”
UK's Sky News has reported that the insolvency process is likely to leave HSBC, the company's principal bank lender, nursing a multimillion-pound loss.
Jamie’s Italian was founded by Jamie Oliver and his Italian mentor, chef Gennaro Contaldo, in Oxford, 2008. In 2017, sales at Jamie’s Italian dropped by 11 percent to £101 million.
That year, the operation survived bankruptcy after £17 million was pumped in. Jamie Oliver has put in about £13 million of that money himself.
Jamie Oliver also generates millions of pounds from his media business of cook books and television shows.-The Standard/Agencies