Jamie Oliver Brand In Trouble
Jamie Oliver who has stamped his name on several appliance brands in Australia, and who spearheaded a Woolworths brand campaign last year is in trouble with UK media reporting major problems for his restaurant empire.
Oliver who is linked to Tefal and Philips appliance and has a range of cooking products currently on sale at retailers in Australia is set to close more of his restaurants.
At the weekend London’s Sunday Telegraph revealed his two-site Barbecoa chain was on the brink of collapse, and that other restaurants that his name is attached to are struggling.
Peter Backman, whose consultancy business monitors the eating out market in Europe, says the Jamie Oliver brand is “not as strong as it once was”.
“At the outset, the restaurants were closely aligned to his personal brand but now he is no longer as much in the spotlight and there is more competition at a time his celebrity pull does not necessarily have the same impact.”
This contention is arguably given weight by the closure last year of the eponymous Jamie magazine.
Oliver sold the rights to the title to publisher Hearst in 2016. Hearst promptly appointed a new female editor and relaunched the magazine with the aim of targeting the “urban female foodie” market, putting Oliver back “at the heart of the magazine”.
The celebrity chef was also late last year forced to close 13 of their Italian Kitchen restaurants and beg for rent cuts at 11 more as it struggles with debts of A$150M
Analysts believe that there are numerous problems with Oliver’s brand that experts believe could undermine his hopes of a quick turnaround.
According to the Sunday Telegraph Oliver burst on to the scene at the turn of the century under the guise of the cheeky Naked Chef.
One person with knowledge of Oliver’s businesses believes the star chef has been given “bad advice” in regards to Jamie’s Italian.
“I think he has got people around him who have probably overleveraged his brand and been too ambitious at a time when they should have been more thoughtful,” the person says.
Jamie Oliver Ltd, which is the artistic and literary arm of his empire, registered £15.3 million in sales in 2016, leading to a pre-tax profit of £3.9 million. The directors – again including Jamie Oliver – paid an interim dividend of £2 million in 2016.
There are hopes the restructuring deal for Jamie’s Italian agreed earlier this year will help right the business amid the UK’s hostile trading environment. In 2016 it signed 19 franchise partners in 26 countries, suggesting Oliver may continue to look overseas for fresh success.