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21 May 2019, 13:29
Jamie's Italian has gone into administration, with the celebrity chef saying he is 'devastated' by the loss.
Jamie Oliver's chain of restaurants has gone into administration, putting 1,000 jobs at risk.
In a letter seen by LBC, the celebrity chef told staff he was "devastated" to have to put the 'much-loved' restaurants into administration, telling staff in a letter that he had "personally invested everything" in an attempt to try to 'turn things around'.
"I would like to personally thank all of the UK restaurant staff, many of whom have put their hearts and souls into this business for a decade. I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected," he said.
The letter to his staff said: "I’m devastated to tell you that we have put our much-loved UK restaurants into administration. This means that the fate of Jamie’s Italian UK, Fifteen London and Barbecoa is now in the hands of an administrator, who will be responsible for their operations and their future.
"I can assure you myself and the team have tried so hard to support this wonderful business, but the well-publicised struggles of the casual dining sector and decline of the UK high street in general with soaring rates and overheads have just proven too great for us to overcome. I have personally invested everything I possibly could to try and turn things around, but we have not been able to pull through this time.
"We launched Jamie’s Italian in 2008 with the intention of positively disrupting mid-market dining in the high street in the UK, 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, with an incredible response from the public and powering through the British recession.
"Over the years we’ve achieved so much. We won pretty much every award going, including the Soil Association’s #1 kid’s menu on the high street every time it’s been awarded. Like no other brand, we’ve flourished around the globe with restaurants across Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Brazil, Australia & South Africa. We’ve served over 70 million customers worldwide in the past decade.
"Our food standards have always set us apart from our competitors. All our ingredients have been the best possible quality and produced in a traceable and sustainable way. Our commitment to animal welfare, provenance and nutrition never wavered, even to the end. We stood up for what we all believe in: that customers deserve better, fairer, clearer more ethical delicious food with more nutritious options.
"Fifteen was my very first restaurant but like no other restaurant since, this was also my first charity and social initiative. It’s been an incredible journey positively impacting on hundreds of kids over the last 16 years, with the vast majority going on to become talented and successful chefs in their own right. It was an absolute honour and joy to be a part of this and I’m so pleased that the team at Fifteen Cornwall still delivers amazing food and apprentice mentoring to continue this legacy and invest in young people.
"Barbecoa was a passion project and a massive hit. We were one of the first to bring extraordinary meat, our own butchery and cooking over wood fire to London diners. We created a gorgeous space and delivered truly memorable dining experiences in one of the city’s most iconic settings.
"I’m so proud of all these achievements which makes it even more painful to say goodbye. We’ve had the very best and sadly also the worst of it.
"I would like to personally thank all of the UK restaurant staff, many of whom have put their hearts and souls into this business for a decade. I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected.
"Outside of the challenges we’ve had across the UK restaurants, the Jamie Oliver Group continues to flourish as we focus on our core strengths across our TV, book & licensed product businesses, and we’ll continue to campaign passionately to ensure that the food environment is fit for our kids, so our kids can be fit for their future. The international restaurant business is also unaffected and will continue to trade as normal.
"I am more committed than ever to ensure that we are growing our positive impact in the UK and around the world."