Jamie Oliver is devastated to see his long-struggling restaurant group, Jamie's Italian, go into bankruptcy administration. Despite sinking millions of dollars of his own cash into efforts to save his business, the celebrity chef has had to close 22 of his 25 UK restaurants. This accounts for a loss of about 1,000 jobs.
In a public tweet, Oliver wrote: "I’m devastated that our much-loved UK restaurants have gone into administration. I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the people who have put their hearts and souls into this business over the years."
Privately, some employees heard about the restaurant closures after receiving an email from Oliver. Here's what the email, which ran in its entirety on Metro, said in part:
"I appreciate how difficult this news is for everyone affected and I want to assure you that I have explored every possible avenue available and exhausted all options over the past months to try and save this business. I have personally invested everything I could to try and turn things around. Once it became clear that an administration was our only option, I personally made sure that I was able to pay everyone’s salary to date, so none of you are left out of pocket for the great work you’ve done."
The chef continued: "There is so much to be proud of. We launched Jamie’s Italian in 2008 with the intention of positively disrupting mid-market dining in the high street in the UK, 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.
Later, Oliver wrote: "I’m so proud of all these achievements which makes it even more painful to say goodbye. We’ve had the very best and sadly also the worst of it. You guys are the best in the business and I know you will move on to great things in no time at all. I’m truly sorry and give you all my love, gratitude and most importantly wish you all the luck in the world." He ended his email with: "Today is a really sad day."
At the moment, Oliver's three restaurants at England's Gatwick Airport are still open.
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