Jamie Oliver pens emotional email to staff following the collapse of his restaurant business – but worker claims he was first told by KPMG administrators

CANNES, FRANCE – JUNE 23: Chef and businessman Jamie Oliver speaks onstage a the Edelman seminar during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on June 23, 2015 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Richard Bord/Getty Images)
  • British chef and TV personality Jamie Oliver wrote an emotional email to staff announcing his UK restaurant chain was entering administration, UK newspaper Metro has reported.
  • KPMG administrators say tough business conditions for the British casual dining market, coupled with a failed investment campaign, caused the collapse.
  • A former Jamie’s Italian employee allegedly told the Manchester Evening News that he first heard of the administration from KPMG, not an internal communication from Oliver.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver wrote a heartfelt email to employees affected by the announcement that his UK restaurant business was entering administration, British tabloid Metro has reported.

“Although I can’t physically be with everyone around the country today, I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for putting your hearts and souls into our restaurants,” the email said, according to Metro.

“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. And we did exactly that.”

The email explains that Oliver “explored every possible avenue available” to avoid collapse, but once it was clear that the administrators would be called in, the TV show host and executive made paying outstanding salaries the top priority, indicating that he put his hand in his own pocket to ensure staff weren’t shortchanged. Business Insider Australia has reached out to the Jamie Oliver Group’s PR company for comment.

According to Metro, the email preceded a public announcement Oliver made on Twitter in which he described himself as “devastated” by the news.

But one employee of Jamie’s Italian, speaking anonymously to the Manchester Evening News, said the first he heard of the collapse was when KPMG forensic accountants turned up at the Manchester restaurant.

“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,” the employee told the Manchester Evening News. “We didn’t know – nobody was aware of it.”

Business Insider Australia has sought further comment from KPMG regarding the claims published by the Manchester Evening News.

In a statement, KPMG opened up about the underlying factors leading to the collapse, blaming a tough business environment and a failed campaign to raise capital.

“The group had recently undertaken a process to secure additional investment into the business and, since the beginning of this year, Jamie Oliver has made available additional funds of UK£4 million to support the fundraising,” the statement said.

“However, with no suitable investment forthcoming and in light of the very difficult current trading environment, the directors resolved to appoint administrators.”

KPMG partner Will Wright, one of two administrators appointed to the Oliver business, added: “The current trading environment for companies across the casual dining sector is as tough as I’ve ever seen”.

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