Jamie Oliver, celebrity chef, has closed six of his IItalian-themed restaurants on the grounds of “rising costs” and “Brexit” even though Brexit has yet to happen. 120 staff will lose their jobs.
Jamie’s Kitchen restaurants in Cheltenham, Exeter, Ludgate, Richmond upon Thames, and Aberdeen are to be axed. They will close in the next three months. The group has said it will try and find jobs in different restaurants for the 120 staff.
At an advertising seminar last year, Oliver revealed, “I’ve wasted and f***** up about 40 per cent of my ventures.”
Simon Blagden, Chief executive, commented, “As every restaurant owner knows, this is a tough market and, post-Brexit, the pressures and unknowns have made it even harder.
“While our overall business is in very good shape – we finished last year with like-for-like sales growth and an increase in covers – because we refuse to compromise on the quality and provenance of our ingredients and our commitment to training and developing our staff, we need restaurants that can serve an average of 3,000 covers every week to be sustainable.”
The group has blamed the collapsing pound driving up costs of ingredients from Italy. Staff costs have risen and they have had fewer customers.
Accounts filled at Companies House show, however, that although profits fell they still generated £2.3 million profit in 2015.
Jamie Oliver has amassed a personal fortune of £240 million from various business ventures. He employs 3,100 people in this 42 Italian themed outlets.
Mr Blagden said, “’These closures are in no way a reflection on the dedication and commitment of our staff and my first priority is to try and secure those affected alternative jobs within other Jamie’s Italian restaurants.
“Where this isn’t possible, we’ll be working with them to find alternative employment. Jamie’s Italian has become a much loved presence on the UK high street and we have our teams to thank for that.
“These closures represent less than 5 percent of total turnover and impact less than 5 percent of our team members.”
Although in the main the restaurant chain is healthy Oliver has faced criticism from disgruntled diners and dissatisfied staff.