Jamie’s Italian UK in administration, Aussie enterprise survives

By Nick Hall | 27 May 2019 View comments

The Naked Chef’s empire may be slowly crumbling, with Jamie Oliver announcing last week his restaurant chain, Jamie’s Italian had gone into administration.

More than 1000 jobs at the firm’s 25 United Kingdom sites are under threat, however, Inside Franchise Business can confirm that Jamie’s Italian’s Australian venture will not be affected.

Oliver, who rose to fame as a television personality, founded his Jamie’s Italian brand of high street restaurants in 2008. His restaurant group also includes Barbecoa, a steakhouse, and Jamie Oliver’s Diner.

“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,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

“I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected.”

Jamie’s Italian Australia

For Jamie’s Italian Australian operators Hallmark Group however, it remains business as usual.

Inside Franchise Business reported last year that the Brisbane-based hospitality company had salvaged the chain from its own administration woes.

Originally a franchise of the popular UK chain launched by operator Keystone, Oliver was forced to buy back the Aussie outlets after Keystone went under.

Oliver struggled to get the business back on track, succumbing to administration before reaching a deal with Hallmark.

Speaking at the time, a spokesperson for Jamie Oliver Group said far from closing the remaining restaurants, Hallmark would be looking for new sites.

“The team brings a huge amount of experience and passion for our brand, from collaborating with the key suppliers to our food philosophy, and we look forward to working with them as they develop the Jamie’s Italian restaurant offering across Australia,” the spokesman said.

Hallmark’s response to Jamie’s Italian UK administration shock

Speaking with Inside Franchise Business this week, a spokesperson for Hallmark Group said it was saddened by the news of Jamie’s UK collapse, however reiterated that none of the Australian outlets would be impacted.

“We are saddened to hear about the Jamie’s Italian UK business going into administration. The problems are isolated to the UK business,” the spokesperson said.

“Jamie’s Italian Australia will remain trading as usual under the Australian owner and operator Hallmark Group Holdings. The Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide Jamie’s Italian Australia venues are all unaffected.”

The closure of the UK sites now sees Australia as the biggest territory for the international business.

In a statement released today, Jamie Oliver revealed he will be working alongside Hallmark to assist the Australian business.

“Jamie’s Italian Australian restaurants are open as usual and our lovely Aussie friends are cracking on with what they do best, making fresh pasta and serving up beautiful food that they put so much love into,” Oliver said.

“Australia is a place close to my heart and I’m hoping to be down under again soon.”