How Jamie’s Italian became toast

Harden’s co-founder Peter Harden was a key contributor to a Radio 4 programme broadcast last weekend that examined the failure of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant chain Jamie’s Italian. Quoting from the annual Harden’s surveys, Peter said that the apparently successful group was failing to deliver the goods several years before it went bust.

The first Jamie’s Italian opened in Oxford in 2008, and Peter said Harden’s reporters were initially “swept away” by its good-quality food and “funky decor“. But by 2012, reporters lambasted the fast-growing chain for “hype and no delivery“, awarding it a mark of 1 out of 5 for food.

Even so, the business kept expanding, swept along on the tides of celebrity and a booming market for casual dining. It was only in 2016 that branches started to close down, as the management tried to turn the company around.

The group finally folded in 2019, although a number of international franchises remain in business. The TV chef made his comeback to the UK restaurant scene late last year with the opening of Jamie Oliver Catherine Street in London’s Covent Garden – so far, at least, a one-off venture offering British comfort food.

Listen to the full episode of the Radio 4 business programme Toast here,a%20break%20we%20serve%20up%E2%80%A6

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