Get it? Crumbling? Like a dry Yorkshire pudding? Look, it’s better than my previous headline, which was: Stick A Fork In Jamie Oliver’s Restaurant Empire, It’s Done. Pour one out for the turkey twizzler’s arch nemesis Jamie Oliver, because many of his restaurants have closed.
BBC News reports that Jamie’s restaurant group, the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, is closing 20 out of 25 of his restaurants. That means 1,000 people have lost their job. That’s 1,000 people whose resumes can boast that they worked for a famous, super-rich blonde hell-bent on making people less fat (while sometimes blurting out tone-deaf opinions that piss people off). So basically, if Goop.com is looking to hire some experienced food people, they know where to find them.
According to The Daily Mail, Jamie’s biggest restaurant chain, Jamie’s Italian, lost $36.6 million in 2017. Jamie’s Italian has only made $30 million in profits during the entire time they were open. In 2017, the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group reportedly took out almost $47 million in loans. Since the beginning of the year, Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group had reportedly tried to secure investments and funding in an attempt to keep from closing all those restaurants. When that didn’t happen, Jamie himself handed over almost $5.1 million of his own money. That money obviously didn’t keep things from going tits-up, and now here we are – Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group has gone into “admission,” which is the British way of saying, they’re bankrupt.
Only three restaurants remain: two Jamie’s Italian restaurants, and Jamie Oliver’s Diner at Gatwick Airport. They’ll remain open short-term while the company decides what’s happening.
Jamie tweeted about the closures yesterday, saying he’s “devastated.”
I’m devastated that our much-loved UK restaurants have gone into administration. 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. Jamie Oliver
— Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver) May 21, 2019
Jamie also released the following statement:
“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.”
Going out on an impersonal bye-bye tweet and self-congratulatory statement might seem a little casual, considering 22 restaurants just closed. But don’t worry: according to The Mirror, Jamie’s Italian employees also got a personal farewell in the form of an email about 30 minutes before the news broke about the restaurant closures. One former employee tells The Mirror that they think it all went south because Jamie got greedy:
“He and his management team got greedy. They thought they’d make billions without investing in the business. It was getting too commercial. I felt under pressure to get customers seated and ordered and then out too quickly. On busy nights it felt like a conveyor belt. Why pay £100-plus for a meal when you feel under pressure to eat it quickly? You might as well go to McDonald’s.”
Jamie’s restaurants might be mostly done, but he’ll probably be ok. After all, he still has his television cooking empire, and his cookbooks, and his Tefal frying pans. Plus, if he ever wants to build another empire, he’s got the perfect thing right under his nose. Or should I say, five things. He and his wife Jools Oliver have five kids named Poppy Honey Rosie, Daisy Boo Pamela, Petal Blossom Rainbow, Buddy Bear Maurice, and River Rocket Blue Dallas. Do you know how hard it is to think of such obnoxiously quirky baby names? It’s definitely the kind of thing I could see desperately unique parents paying a $499 consultation fee for.