After years of struggles, Jamie Oliver's restaurant group has entered administration.
Worse, while some businesses survive the process to live again - almost all 25 restaurants in the group are now officially closed after administrators KPMG took control.
The group employed 1,300 people.
Will Wright, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “The current trading environment for companies across the casual dining sector is as tough as I’ve ever seen.
"The directors at Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group have worked tirelessly to stabilise the business against a backdrop of rising costs and brittle consumer confidence.
"However, after a sales process which sought to bring new investment into the business proved unsuccessful, the team took the incredibly difficult decision to appoint administrators."
Jamie Oliver said said he was "devastated".
"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," he wrote on Twitter .
"I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected.
"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."
The move took staff by surprise too.
One staff member told the Manchester Evening News : "At 10 o'clock we had two accountants from KMPG show up and they handed us a notice to say that the business has ceased trading as of now.
"We didn't know - nobody was aware of it. There were about 15 of us. It's a bit of a shock to the system to everyone. Some people have been here since day one, so over 10 years."
Why they shut
The firm had been struggling for some time.
Last year it emerged the TV chef's restaurant empire owed staff £2.2million and was in £71.5million of debt.
In February 2018, the company announced the closure of 12 of its 37 restaurants, seeing 450 job losses in places including Bristol, Reading and Harrogate.
Oliver also closed his Barbecoa steak restaurant in London’s Piccadilly last year.
It wasn't enough.
“Unfortunately, with insufficient funds available to be able to trade the business in administration, all but the Gatwick airport restaurants have now closed," Wright said.
"Our priority in the coming hours and days is to work with those employees who have been made redundant, providing any support and assistance they need.”
But there's also one more Jamie Oliver restaurant not only open, but actively recruiting.
Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall isn't part of the rest of the group - and is run by a charitable trust.
Chief executive Matthew Thomson said: “Fifteen Cornwall operates independently of the Jamie Oliver restaurant group as a charitable social enterprise under licence to Jamie Oliver and therefore is not affected by the changes in the restaurant group.
"Fifteen Cornwall is very much open for business, continuing the legacy started by Jamie at Fifteen, serving amazing Cornish food, mentoring young people and investing in our team. We are currently recruiting chefs and front of house to join our team, ready for a busy summer.”
The 22 restaurants closing
List of group’s restaurants that are now closed:
- Birmingham Jamie's Italian
- Brighton Jamie's Italian
- Cambridge Jamie's Italian
- Cardiff Jamie's Italian
- Edinburgh Jamie's Italian
- Glasgow Jamie's Italian
- Guildford Jamie's Italian
- Leeds Jamie's Italian
- Liverpool Jamie Oliver's Italian
- London – Islington Jamie's Italian
- London – Covent Garden Jamie Oliver's Italian
- London – Gatwick North Jamie's Italian Coffee Lounge
- London – Gatwick North Jamie's Italian
- London – Gatwick South Jamie Oliver's Diner
- London – London Bridge Jamie's Italian
- London – Piccadilly Jamie's Italian
- London – Victoria Jamie's Italian
- London – Westfield White City Jamie's Italian
- London – Westfield Stratford Jamie's Italian
- London – One New Change Barbecoa
- London Fifteen
- Manchester Jamie's Italian
- Nottingham Jamie's Italian
- Oxford Jamie's Italian
- York Jamie's Italian