Jamie Oliver insists chain “will come back” despite string of closures

PUBLISHED: 10:00 15 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:09 15 January 2019

Jamie Oliver at his restaurant in Norwich.  Photo: Bill Smith

Jamie Oliver at his restaurant in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

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Despite the Norwich branch of Jamie Oliver’s Italian announcing closure last week, the patron of the chain has insisted casual dining will make a come back.

The TV chef said there would “always be room for all sectors” in the eating-out industry, but casual dining had been hit hard by recent challenges.

Mr Oliver himself has taken a hit, as he was forced to close 12 of his sites over the past year due to rising costs and competition.

The Norwich outlet in the Royal Arcade will shut next month after the landlord decided to find a new tenant.

Mr Oliver continued: “I think mid-market particularly was just in a perfect storm of rents, rates, over-saturation, and we’d just come out of a recession and went into Brexit-ville.”

He later revealed that the business had been hours away from bankruptcy, having “simply run out of cash” before he put £13m of his own money in to keep it afloat.

“So 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.”

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