Following two particularly difficult years, the british celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver has had to face tough reality: 22 of his restaurants in the UK have been closed down.
“I’m devastated that our much-loved U.K. restaurants have gone into administration,” said the celebrity chef. “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.”
Originally known for his TV show The Naked Chef which introduced the british population to a more approachable and healthy way of cooking, Jamie Oliver has proved a remarkable success in his career. He caught the loyalty of his viewers by keeping his recipes simple with a relatively short preparation time. Most importantly, he ensured that every dish be healthy, fresh and delicious, which is what resulted in countless fans and followers from around the world.
Unstoppable, the celebrity chef went on to creating a second TV show, Jamie’s Kitchen. The show is a documentary about Jamie training the disadvantaged youth to become chefs and potentially land a job in his non-profit restaurant fifteen. Despite the skepticism emerging from the public, the project resulted in a booked out restaurant and Jamie was seen as a hero.
17 years later, Jamie succeeded to establish himself as a chef, restaurateur, author of cookbooks and a media personality. However, his strong viewpoints on the subject of maintaining a healthy diet were not always well received by the public and instigated a lot of media criticism over the years.
With the recent collapse of Jamie’s restaurants, critics have not given the chef a break, pointing out that more than 1000 staff will lose their jobs, while the Daily Telegraph expressed that the failure “had been a long time coming”.
Several factors are to blame for the abrupt closing of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants. Firstly, the past two years have shown a restaurant oversupply, particularly in Italian food and burger chains. But one of the main triggers was certainly Brexit and its resulting depreciation of the British pound. On one hand, this has led to increased importing costs, and on the other hand, a climate of uncertainty among British consumers who have lowered their purchasing rate. This combination drove the british celebrity chef’s restaurants into bankruptcy.
Another aspect to consider is that Jamie’s restaurant business grew very rapidly, and as an 11-year old established restaurant group, the business lacked the flexibility required to deal with such difficult economic environments. Smaller businesses are more apt at adjusting and renewing themselves to remain fresh.
Amongst the bad news however, some light has emerged. Jamie’s last three remaining UK restaurants, which operate in Gatwick airport, have been saved by the food-to-go specialist group, SSP, saving 250 jobs. “Jamie’s cafes and restaurants are much loved by customers all around the world, so we’re very excited to be adding the brand to our UK portfolio and increasing our presence at Gatwick Airport.”
Overall, four of Jamie’s eateries will remain open to the public, the fourth restaurant being his Fifteen Cornwall restaurant, which runs independently as a charity.