Jamie Oliver hunts for new investor amid casual dining crunch

Jamie Oliver is hunting for a new investor. Picture: Matt Alexander/PA Wire
Jamie Oliver is hunting for a new investor. Picture: Matt Alexander/PA Wire
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Jamie Oliver is on the hunt for a new investor in his restaurant business, which was forced to close several sites last year amid the casual dining crunch.

The TV chef’s restaurant group has hired advisers at Alix Partners as it eyes selling a stake to an investment partner.

A spokesman for Jamie Oliver Group said: “Building on the success of Jamie’s recent books and TV shows, Jamie Oliver Restaurants Group is seeking an investment partner to work alongside Jamie and the team to evolve and expand the business in the UK and international markets.”

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Any deal is also likely to include a fresh injection of capital from Oliver himself, who put £13 million of his own money into the business when it ran into trouble last year.

In January 2018, the group shut 12 of its 37 Jamie’s Italian restaurants amid rising costs and competition in the casual dining market.

Jamie Oliver’s restaurant in Edinburgh on George Street was spared from the cuts.

Oliver’s steak joint Barbecoa closed its Piccadilly site in February as part of a pre-pack administration.

The company also handed over control of five Jamie’s Italian sites in Australia when the chain went into voluntary administration in April and was sold to Brisbane-based group Hallmark. One other site was closed.

Speaking last month, Oliver said casual dining was primed for a comeback.

“I think we will come back and it will come back strong and it will be relevant,” he said.

“For myself and most of the others it’s just sticking it out and listening. I think lots of lessons have been learned but I still believe in the sector.”