Jamie Oliver’s Australian restaurant group goes into administration

Jamie Oliver’s Australian restaurant group has gone into administration, as the celebrity chef continues to battle debts in relation to his operation in the UK.

Jamie Oliver

Five of the restaurants trading as Jamie’s Italian – in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Parramatta – have been sold to the Brisbane-based restaurant group Hallmark, while a sixth in Canberra has been closed indefinitely.

The chef bought back the six Australian restaurants bearing his name in November 2016 after the Australian hospitality company Keystone group, which operated the franchise, went into administration.

Two years on and history has repeated itself, with the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group Australia, which is wholly owned by the UK company Jamie’s Italian Ltd, suffering the same fate as the previous owners.

A statement from the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group Australia said: “Australia has and continues to be one of our best-performing international markets and, after a short period of in-house management we are pleased to be partnering with Hallmark.”

According to The Guardian, the sale is a franchise arrangement and Oliver will not retain any shareholding in the Australian group.

It follows ongoing difficulties for the chef’s UK operation, which saw its Barbecoa restaurants fall into administration earlier this year, having already closed 18 branches of Jamie’s Italian in the past year.

The Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group announced in December of 2017 plans to close 12 Jamie’s Italian restaurants after court documents revealed that the chain had debts of £71.5m, having already closed down six of the venues in January 2017.

At the time, the company said that the closures were due to uncertainties over Brexit and a “tough” market.

The most recent financials revealed a pre-tax loss of £9.9m on revenue of £112m in 2016, with sales were down 3%, according to The Guardian.

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