Much of the £80million-plus owed by Jamie Oliver’s collapsed Italian chain will probably never be paid back to creditors, administrators revealed today.
The celebrity chef, 44, closed 22 of his Jamie’s Italian restaurants with the loss of 1,000 jobs in May last year after profits plunged as customers stayed away.
Its administrator KPMG has revealed that the majority of the £83million owed to secured and unsecured creditors such as food suppliers, councils and landlords will not be recovered.
Auditors said that while three Jamie’s Italian restaurants and delis at Gatwick Airport remain open, the people owed money for the past eight months are likely to be significantly out of pocket.
KPMG’s progress report, seen by the Guardian, says: ‘The secured creditors will likely suffer a significant shortfall. Based on current estimates’. And its main lender HSBC will also have to swallow ‘a significant shortfall’, it says.
The TV star founded Jamie’s Italian in 2008 and soon swelled the company’s presence to 40 outlets nationwide – but it collapsed last year and much of the £83million it owes will not be paid
Jamie’s Italian staff at its Piccadilly branch in London hug after losing their jobs when the chain collapsed in May last year
Hours after the collapse his flagship London restaurant was cleared out by bailiffs
Jamie’s own holding company is owed more than £50million and is likely to lose most of that cash, it also emerged.
Timeline: How Jamie Oliver’s chains plunged into debt
2008: Jamie’s Italian opened its first restaurant in 2008.
2015: Jamie At Home, which contracted agents to sell his cookware range at parties, ceased trading after racking up losses. The company began in 2009, as part of the Jamie Oliver organisation, before being licensed to another firm in 2013, but shut up shop in 2015.
2017: Jamie’s businesses lost £20m, forcing him to shut 18 of his Italian restaurants – leading to the loss of 600 jobs.
Chain was struggling with debts of £71.5m and teetered on the edge of bankruptcy before the chef injected his savings into the business.
The firm also took out £37m in loans from HSBC and other companies.
In 2017 he closed the last of his four his Union Jack Piazzas, in London’s Covent Garden.
2018: Jamie’s Italian shuttered 12 of its 37 sites, with the latter tranche executed through a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).
He also came under fire for failing to pay suppliers after his upmarket steak restaurant Barbecoa crashed into administration, leading to the closure of its Piccadilly branch.
The restaurant in St Paul’s continued to trade and was bought out by a new company set up by Oliver, who was no longer legally liable for the debts.
2019: All but three of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants close after the business called in administrators, with 1,000 staff facing redundancy.
Jamie’s Italian was the most high-profile fall from grace in a year when hundreds of restaurants closed across the UK.
Around 1,000 jobs were lost at the Naked Chef’s restaurants in 2019, in a brutal market.
‘To survive in this industry is really tough,’ Mr Oliver told Channel 4 after his business went into administration, adding: ‘I opened lots of big restaurants, and I think people like smaller, medium-sized restaurants, and you have these big cathedrals that you can’t fill’.
He went on: ‘I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected. We launched Jamie’s Italian in 2008 with the intention of positively disrupting mid-market dining in the UK high street, 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’.
But before its collapse critics described long waits for food, short-staffed restaurants and concerns over the quality of ingredients – and how healthy meals really were, especially for children.
Oliver, 44, had dipped into his own personal bank account to pay the wages of roughly 1,000 staff who have been made redundant.
But some were upset and infuriated when they turned up at work to find them closed down and the locks changed.
One, named Lucy, lost her job at the Glasgow Jamie’s Italian after three years there.
She told the BBC: ‘We knew it wasn’t doing as well as we’d want it to be. My partner was meant to be on shift this morning.
‘He was told at the last minute not to come in as the locks were being changed.
‘We were then invited to join a conference call and told we had all been made redundant, effective immediately.’
The TV star founded Jamie’s Italian in 2008 with his ex-mentor Gennaro Contaldo and soon swelled the company’s presence to 40 outlets nationwide.
But in 2017, six branches were closed and by May the business had racked up £71.5million worth of debt as the chef revealed the company had ‘simply run out of cash’.
According to Companies House, Jamie Oliver Holdings turned over £32 million last year – a staggering £87,670 a day.
In January he and his wife Jools – with whom he has five children -live in a £8.9million north London mansion
The stunning Spains Hall in Finchingfield, Essex, purchased by TV chef Jamie Oliver and his wife for £6million in January 2019
Staff at Oliver’s flagship restaurant in Birmingham claim they were sacked by email just 30 minutes before the company announced it had collapsed.
One worker said: ‘I’m really angry because Jamie won’t be the one looking for a job and struggling to pay his bills, it’ll be poor saps like us who worked for him.’
Oliver, who shot to fame with a host of TV shows and cook books, has netted an estimated £240million since entering the public eye.
In January 2019 he and his wife Jools – with whom he has five children – snapped up a £6million 16th Century mansion in Essex. They also own a mansion in Hampstead, north London, worth £8.9million.