Jamie’s back in the restaurant business

Jamie Oliver is preparing for a return to the British restaurant scene – four years after the collapse of his UK business saw the closure of 25 restaurants with 1,000 jobs lost and debts of £83million.

His first new venue is scheduled to open this autumn in Covent Garden as part of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s revamped Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. As yet unnamed, the restaurant is pitched as a celebration of British food.

The TV chef said: “Losing my UK restaurants was without doubt one of the hardest times of my life. But being a positive part of the restaurant industry is very close to my heart.

I’m very excited to open this restaurant in London and with an exceptional team once again serve the public. It’s about going back to my culinary roots inspired by the dishes I grew up cooking in my mum and dad’s pub restaurant. It’s about celebrating Britain’s rich and diverse food scene in what I hope will be an iconic, trusted restaurant in a very special place.”

Despite the 2019 demise of the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group – which comprised 22 Jamie’s Italian branches around the UK plus two branches of Barbecoa and Fifteen in London – the chef’s international business has prospered, with 70 franchise operations under his name in 23 countries.

Last year he hired former Vue International cinema boss Kevin Styles as chief executive to drive an expansion of the Jamie Oliver Group. They aim to triple the number of international outlets, attract 250,000 guests a year to Jamie’s cookery schools and increase direct homeware and frozen meal sales from the company website.

Now 47, Jamie said last year he had learned a lot since opening his first Jamie’s Italian in 2008. “I was a young man when I started, I’m much older and wiser now. It was never a size problem, it was rent and rates that got us really, and high street decline.

Share this article: