Parts of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s restaurant empire have collapsed as bankruptcy and liquidation experts have been called in to administer failed business lines.
“I’m devastated that our much-loved UK restaurants have gone into administration,” Oliver said in a statement on Twitter.
The collapse threatens over 1,000 jobs as KPMG administrators have been appointed to unwind parts of Oliver’s portfolio of eateries, according to a statement put out by the Jamie Oliver Group, as cited by Reuters.
The BBC reported that 25 restaurants are affected by the move, including 23 from Oliver’s Italian chain, called Barbecoa and Fifteen.
Oliver’s international restaurant franchise business, called Jamie’s Italian International Limited, will continue to operate without disruption. Also unaffected is the Fifteen Cornwall brand, which operates under a franchise.
In a statement about the news, Oliver said he was “deeply saddened.”
“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,” Oliver said in a statement on Twitter.
I’m devastated that our much-loved UK restaurants have gone into administration. I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the people who have put their hearts and souls into this business over the years. Jamie Oliver
— Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver) May 21, 2019
The BBC cited a statement made by Oliver, in which he said, “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.”
Oliver added: “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.”
It has been known for some time that parts of the 43-year-old’s business endeavors have been struggling to make it.
Last summer it was revealed that the chef had shut 12 of 37 Jamie’s Italian brand restaurants, resulting in about 600 layoffs.
In an interview last year, Oliver was cited by the Daily Mail as saying high street restaurants were in a struggle for survival.
“The world’s changed in the restaurant industry in the last year-and-a-half,” he said. “It’s like any other business on the high street, it’s just really, really tough. We’re in a changed time and obviously there’s lots of pressures even for good businesses.”
Oliver indicated Brexit and a rise in the minimum wage were factors that contributed to a “perfect storm.”
“I don’t know anyone in the restaurant industry that’s doing high fives at the moment, unless they’re a small neighborhood restaurant and God bless if they are having a good time.”
Oliver rose to fame on the back of his popular TV show “The Naked Chef,” which hit screens 20 years ago when he was just 23.
Since then Oliver has presented over 25 cooking series, opened restaurant chains, and spearheaded campaigns for healthier eating.
Last year, Oliver urged the British government to ban the sale of energy drinks to children, saying he wanted to see the products regulated like cigarettes.
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) January 5, 2018
“We have to do this,” he said at the time, according to the Mirror. “Because these drinks are turning our kids into addicts. Their use is, to my mind, akin to drugs.”