The Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group (Australia) Pty Ltd has fallen into administration, with the company being placed in the hands of voluntary administrators less than 12 months after the Oliver visited Australia to relaunch the six local restaurants bearing his name. Five of the restaurants trading as Jamie’s Italian – in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Parramatta – have been sold to the Brisbane-based restaurant group Hallmark in a last-minute rescue deal.
A statement issued on Monday night Sydney time on behalf of the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group Australia said: “Australia has and continues to be one of our best-performing international markets and, after a short period of in-house management we are pleased to be partnering with Hallmark.”
Hallmark said it was “thrilled to partner with Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group on the Australian portfolio”. The sale is a franchise arrangement and Oliver will not retain any shareholding in the Australian group.
“We’ll be working closely with Jamie and the UK team, staff and local suppliers to keep driving the business forward and delivering exceptional experiences across the country,” Hallmark said.
Oliver’s businesses in Britain have been struggling to restructure their way out of debts of £71.5m. Earlier this year the chain closed 12 restaurants and in February the company entered a creditors voluntary arraignment and issued a statement : “We are pleased to have received the overwhelming support from our creditors for our proposal to reshape Jamie’s Italian restaurants. We have a strong brand and are focused on continuing to deliver the levels of service, taste and the experience our loyal customers deserve.
“We are working hard to ensure that our estate is fit for the current trading environment and we feel confident that this newly shaped business will provide strong opportunities for growth and profitability.”