Jamie Oliver’s remaining UK restaurants have avoided closure, after being rescued by the owner of Upper Crust and Ritazza transit food outlets.
SSP Group, a FTSE 250-listed company that specialises in food across travel locations, has bought the three Jamie Oliver outlets that remained in administration – Jamie Oliver’s Diner, Jamie’s Italian and Jamie’s Coffee Lounge all based at Gatwick Airport.
The acquisitions will add to the portfolio of 12 international Jamie Oliver restaurants that SSP currently operates – in Austria, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain.
The rescue deal, which has saved 250 jobs with staff transferring to the travel food specialists, comes three weeks after administrators closed the other 22 of the celebrity chef’s 25 restaurants.
The Jamie Oliver chain crashed into administration in May, just two years after narrowly averting an earlier collapse.
Insolvency specialists at KPMG closed the restaurants, leading to the loss of around 1,000 jobs after investment could not be secured to continue trading.
Oliver offered £4m to support a last-minute search for funds to save the chain, but with “no investment forthcoming” against a backdrop of difficult trading conditions, administrators were called in.
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.”
SSP shares were down 0.9% in midday trading.