Jamie Oliver’s Australian restaurant in voluntary administration

By @chelean on
Chef Jamie Oliver attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 18, 2017.
Chef Jamie Oliver attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 18, 2017. Reuters/Ruben Sprich

British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s Australian restaurant group has been put into voluntary administration. The Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group (Australia) Pty Ltd collapsed Monday, just a few months after almost half of his UK restaurants were announced to close down.

The Jamie’s Italian restaurants in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Parramatta have been sold to restaurant group Hallmark in a last minute deal. The sixth restaurant didn’t come off as lucky and has closed on Monday.

Oliver bought the restaurants from Keystone Group in November 2016 after the company was placed in receivership by its lenders. Now, he has placed the fate of those restaurants, minus the closed one, to Hallmark Group, known for operating Irish pub Finn McCool’s.

“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,” a Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group Australia spokesperson said in a statement. “The team brings a huge amount of experience and passion for our brand, from collaborating with the key suppliers to our food philosophy, and we look forward to working with them as they develop the Jamie’s Italian restaurant across Australia.”

In response, Hallmark said it was “thrilled to partner” with the company. Oliver will not retain any shareholding in the Australian group, the Guardian notes.

Oliver’s luck continues to dwindle. In January, his company announced that it would close half of its UK branches after accumulating £71.5 million (AU$132 million) debts, which included £2.2 million (AU $4 million) of unpaid staff wages, according to the Sun. Oliver has put £3 million (AU$5.6 million) of his own money into the business.

His personal assets are not at risk. Although he had admitted losing millions of his wealth on unprofitable projects last year, he is nowhere near bankruptcy himself. News.com.au reports that he has a nest egg of close to $300 million, so he, wife Jools and their five children are still rich.