Jamie Oliver recoups £2.4m after restaurant empire collapses Business

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has recouped £2.4million from the collapse of his Italian restaurant empire, company documents reveal, as chain suppliers are forced to swallow tens of millions of loss books.

Documents released by Interpath at the end of the administrative process show Mr Oliver’s holding company received an additional payment of £580,000 between last November and this month. This brings the total that has been paid to Jamie Oliver Holdings, a company majority owned by Mr Oliver, to £2.4million.

Interpath said it was a “significant shortfall” on the amount owed to Mr Oliver, who spent £25million trying to save the Italian chain in 2019.

However, the chain’s suppliers bore the brunt of the losses. Jamie’s Italian owed around £85m when he went bankrupt, including £21m in debt to a group of creditors including UK food producers and councils.

Unlike these other companies, Jamie Oliver Holdings was classified as a secured creditor and was therefore guaranteed to receive a portion of the debts owed to it.

Unsecured creditors, which include suppliers and advisers, received just £520,000 of the £21million owed to them.

One of its suppliers, Direct Meats, has previously described feeling “extremely disappointed with the companies falling into administration”. Filings last July, before Interpath asked creditors to submit their claims, suggested that at least one food supplier owed almost £800,000.

Jamie Oliver Group declined to comment.

The collapse of Jamie’s Italian came amid a downturn in the casual dining sector, with other companies such as Gaucho, Byron and Gourmet Burger Kitchen struggling.

Jamie Oliver’s Italian chain has been through a painful restructuring during which it got rid of unprofitable sites, in a bid to stay afloat. However, when it sank almost 1,000 jobs were lost, with the closure of 22 of its 25 UK restaurants described by Mr Oliver as ‘the hardest thing I have ever had to do’.

Mr Oliver said at the time: “I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all the staff and our suppliers who have put their heart and soul into this business for over a decade. I appreciate how difficult it is for everyone affected.”

The three remaining UK restaurants – at Gatwick Airport – were bought by SSP out of administration.

Mr Oliver has since suggested he may seek to revive his UK restaurant empire, telling the Radio Times last year: “I’m watching for now but will definitely be back in the game.”

The news that the administrative process for Jamie’s Italian is now complete comes weeks after Mr Oliver found himself at the center of a cost of living dispute. He claimed the government was using the current squeeze on household incomes as an “excuse” to delay tackling obesity.

Earlier this month, Mr Oliver staged a protest outside Downing Street in which he denounced the government’s decision to end a ban on ‘buy one, get one free’ offers ( BOGOF) for junk food.

Boris Johnson said of the move: ‘If people can save on their food bills with certain deals, I think we just need to be flexible as we continue to tackle obesity.

Mr Oliver argued that the BOGOF deals were not helping household budgets. “This particular mechanism causes people to spend more of their income and waste more,” Oliver said. “Using the cost of living as an excuse is wrong, it’s completely unfair.”

Critics have argued, however, that many people rely on the deals for food, with Kantar figures showing more than a fifth of Britons are struggling to make ends meet. Some items have increased by more than 20% in price.

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This notice was published: 2022-05-28 15:00:00

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