Jamie's Italian to slim down with restaurant closures

 
Helen Cahill
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Jamie Oliver Presents Food Revolution Day
The restaurant group said Brexit had caused the closures (Source: Getty)

Jamie's Italian is slimming down.

The celebrity chef's restaurant group is shutting six of its outlets, which are likely to be sold in the first quarter of this year.

The Brexit vote has been weighing on the business, and Jamie's has decided to close the restaurants which aren't getting enough people through the door.

Campaign group Leave.EU has taken issue with owner Jamie Oliver blaming Brexit for his business woes, however, saying the celebrity had used Brexit as an "easy scapegoat".

Read more: Jamie Oliver's headed Down Under to snap up Australia restaurant business

These Jamie's Italians are set to close:
  • Ludgate Circus
  • Richmond
  • Tunbridge Wells
  • Exeter
  • Cheltenham
  • Aberdeen

The brand will, however, expand internationally, with 22 openings scheduled for this year. It will also focus on running its Australian restaurants, which it bought back from Keystone Group in November last year.

Simon Blagden, chief executive of the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, said: "As every restaurant owner knows, this is a tough market and post-Brexit the pressures and unknowns have made it even harder.

"These closures are in no way a reflection on the dedication and commitment of our staff and my first priority is to try to secure those affected alternative jobs within other Jamie's Italian restaurants.

Read more: The government has just axed plans for a sugar tax

"Jamie's Italian has become a much-loved presence on the UK high street and we have our teams to thank for that."

Blagden said the overall business is "in very good shape", and that the restaurants being shut represented less than five per cent of the group's turnover.

Jamie's Italian has also pulled back from plans to build a dining complex in King's Cross in 2016, near where the new Google office will be located.

The chef had planned to open a pub and restaurant in a 17,500 sq ft space in the King's Cross Fish & Coal offices, which are being renovated as part of the larger development scheme in the area.

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