Reports suggest that further Jamie’s Italian branches could be at risk of closure as the chain weighs up plans to restructure its business in the UK.
The group, which runs approximately 45 restaurants, closed half a dozen sites this time last year, citing Brexit pressures for the cull.
Jamie Oliver himself said in a newspaper during September that he had no plans to shut any more stores, claiming they were all “profitable”.
In November, however, it was announced that Jamie’s Italian had accepted a short-term loan from its parent company to support it through the tough trading environment and assist with capital expenditure costs. It also hired external consultants to devise a turnaround strategy.
Over the weekend, the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group confirmed that it is exploring plans to restructure the Jamie’s Italian restaurant estate in the UK, “to ensure the business is in good shape for the future”.
It said: “As part of this review, we are in conversation with our stakeholders, but no final decisions or proposals have been made at this stage. The review does not affect Jamie’s Italian international franchises managed through Jamie’s Italian International. The Jamie Oliver Media Group and the Jamie Oliver Licensing Group, which are both managed and run separately, are also unaffected.”
The Times claimed that Jamie’s Italian could be forced to consider a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), the like of which was proposed by burger chain Byron last week.
A CVA can provide a company with some breathing space to allow it to reorganise or restructure its funding or its operations with as little disruption to the day-to-day trading as possible, with the control of the company usually staying within the existing management.