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  1. ITV Report

Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant chain calls in administrators

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

Jamie Oliver's restaurant chain Jamie's Italian has appointed administrators, putting as many as 1,300 jobs at risk.

The celebrity chef 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 a number of years, hit by Brexit headwinds and rising staff costs.

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."

It 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'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.