Jamie Oliver's UK restaurant empire collapses as just three eateries survive and 1,000 jobs go

  • Video report by ITV News' Consumer Editor Chris Choi

All bar three of Jamie Oliver's UK restaurants are to close, with the loss of 1,000 jobs.

The celebrity chef said he was "devastated" following moves to put his restaurant chain Jamie's Italian into administration.

He tweeted to express his sadness, thanking those who "put their hearts and souls into this business over the years".

Of the 25-strong portfolio of eateries just three will remain - two of the Jamie's Italian brand and a Jamie's Diner, all at Gatwick Airport.

The 15 restaurant in Cornwall, which operates as a franchise, also survives.

Jamie Oliver says he is 'deeply saddened' by the decision. Credit: PA

In his official statement, Oliver said: "I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the staff and our suppliers who have put their hearts and souls into this business for over a decade.

"I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected."

The chain has been struggling for at least a year says ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi, who has attributed the business's collapse to "changes happening on our high streets and to our eating habits".

He said: "The business had been trying to find new investors - that failed - [administration] became their only option.

The Italian restaurant chain has been struggling for several years. Credit: PA

"I would also like to thank all the customers who have enjoyed and supported us over the last decade, it's been a real pleasure serving you.

"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."

Notices soon appeared in windows of eateries explaining that the restaurant was closed.

A sign in a Jamie's Italian in Victoria, central London. Credit: PA

The move follows a hunt for a new investor in the brand, with a number of private equity firms touted as mulling bids for a stake in the business.

Oliver later tweeted that he was "devastated" by the decision.

Oliver's restaurant empire has taken a few knocks over the past two years.

In 2018, Jamie's Italian shuttered 12 of its 37 sites, with the latter tranche executed through a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

The TV chef's steak house Barbecoa also went into a pre-pack administration, leading to the closure of its Piccadilly branch.

Overseas, five branches of the Australian arm of Jamie's Italian was sold off last year, while another was put into administration.

Despite the troubles, which forced Oliver to pump £13 million of his own money into his Italian chain, he said earlier this year that casual dining was primed for a comeback.

The Unite union said it was another dark day for the UK high street, following hard on the heels of the collapse of Patisserie Valerie early this year.

"Restaurants are not being helped by the current economic uncertainty, although those businesses like Jamie Oliver’s that dashed for expansion in recent years seem particularly precarious," it said.