Celebrity chef and restauranteur Jamie Oliver took to social media last week to announce that his restaurants in the United Kingdom have officially gone into administration.
Sadly, this means over 1,000 people will lose their jobs.
According to the British-based Real Business Rescue (RBR), the restaurants have been passed on to a licensed insolvency practitioner who is now the appointed administrator.
For Jamie's restaurant groups, KPMG will act as the administrator and RBR says their "primary goal is to leverage the company's assets to repay creditors as quickly and as fully as possible without preference."
His three Gatwick Airport venues remain open while administrators seek a buyer, although 300 jobs there are still at risk.
According to Metro, some staff were only made aware of the demise of the business on the day of, while others were sent an emotional email from the "Naked Chef".
The email read:
Dear all restaurant staff,
I’m absolutely devastated that we have had no choice but to put our much-loved UK restaurants into administration, which means the fate of Jamie’s Italian UK, Fifteen London and Barbecoa is now in the hands of an administrator, who will be responsible for the operations of these restaurants and their future.
I appreciate how difficult this news is for everyone affected and I want to assure you that I have explored every possible avenue available and exhausted all options over the past months to try and save this business. I have personally invested everything I could to try and turn things around.
Once it became clear that an administration was our only option, I personally made sure that I was able to pay everyone’s salary to date, so none of you are left out of pocket for the great work you’ve done.
Everyone has 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, along with soaring business rates amongst other things, have meant this storm was just too great for us to overcome.
Although I can’t physically be with everyone around the country today, I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for putting your hearts and souls into our restaurants.
There is so much to be proud of. 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. We won pretty much every award going, including the Soil Association’s number 1 kid’s menu on the high street every time it’s been awarded.
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.
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.
You guys are the best in the business and I know you will move on to great things in no time at all. I’m truly sorry and give you all my love, gratitude and most importantly wish you all the luck in the world.
Today is a really sad day.
Big love as ever Jamie O xxx
Unfortunately for Jamie, the heartbreaking news came just under a year since he put $10 million of his own money back into his restaurant group to save it just two hours before it went bankrupt.