Harrogate 'not surprised' by Jamie Oliver restaurant chain collapse

Restaurant closed after four years in Harrogate - Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
Restaurant closed after four years in Harrogate - Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

News today that Jamie Oliver's restaurant group has gone into administration, putting up to 1,300 jobs at risk has come as no surprise to Harrogate.

Oliver may be one of Britain's most popular chefs and famous names but Harrogate diners were ahead of the trend when it came to their verdict on his nationwide restaurant chain.

There was some fanfare and no little excitement when the Harrogate branch of Jamie's Italian first opened in 2014 on Parliament Street as part of the seemingly relentless rise of the brand.

But it was undermined by poor word of mouth and mixed reports on food and service as the town came to dispense with blind faith in the celebrity chef's brand.

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The Harrogate Jamie's did survive previous hard times for the national chain in 2016 when six Jamie’s Italian restaurants were closed down.

But last year saw the almost inevitable - the Harrogate branch was among 12 which closed in March time with branches in Bristol, Kent, Chelmsford, Greenwich, Kingston, Milton Keynes, Piccadilly Diner, Reading, St Albans and Threadneedle Street in London also affected.

At the time, the chef who campaigns for healthier eating, including in school meals, described the closure as being part of a restructuring of Jamie’s Italian restaurant estate following reports that the chain was experiencing financial difficulties.

Now the exact scale of those difficulties has been truly revealed as the decision has been by the saddened chef to appoint KPMG administrators for Jamie's Italian chain, Barbecoa and Fifteen.

The first Jamie's Italian opened in 2008 in Oxford.

In total, 25 restaurants will be affected by the latest setback 23 of which are from the Jamie's Italian chain.

Harrogate's only remaining celebrity chef restaurant is Gino D'Acampo's whose Gino D'Acampo My Restaurant Harrogate opened in 2017, also on Parliament Street.

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