Jamie Oliver’s last remaining UK restaurants have been saved from closure, after being snapped up by food-to-go specialist SSP Group.
The three outlets at Gatwick Airport – Jamie Oliver’s Diner, Jamie’s Italian and Jamie’s Coffee Lounge – have been bought out of administration by the owner of Upper Crust and Ritazza.
The rescue deal, which has saved 250 jobs, comes three weeks after administrators closed the other 22 of the celebrity chef’s 25 restaurants.
Insolvency specialists at KPMG closed the restaurants, leading to around 1,000 redundancies, after investment could not be secured to keep them trading.
The celebrity chef said he was “devastated” by the collapse of his restaurant business, which included Jamie’s Italian, Barbecoa and Fifteen.
Mr Oliver offered £4 million to support a last-minute search for funds to save the chain, but with “no investment forthcoming” and in light of difficult trading conditions, administrators were drafted in.
KPMG has now confirmed that SSP has agreed to take over operations at the remaining Gatwick sites, with staff transferring to the travel food specialists.
The acquired restaurants will add to the portfolio of 12 international Jamie Oliver restaurants the company currently operates – in Austria, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain.
Will Wright, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with SSP Group, which will see the three Jamie Oliver outlets at Gatwick Airport continue to trade, safeguarding a significant number of jobs.”
Simon Smith, chief executive of SSP Group, said: “We’re delighted to be expanding our partnership with Jamie Oliver, especially as we already operate 12 Jamie Oliver units in Austria, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain, and have further units planned in Brazil and Bahrain.
“Jamie’s cafes and restaurants are much loved by customers all around the world, so we’re very excited to be adding the brand to our UK portfolio and increasing our presence at Gatwick Airport.”