Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa restaurants have entered administration, a week after the concept’s two sites were put up for sale.
Alix Partners will handle the administration of parent company Barby Limited, having already agreed a Company Voluntary Arrangement for sister company Jamie’s Italian.
The Jamie Oliver group said: “We can confirm that Barby Limited has been placed into administration. AlixPartners has been appointed administrators for Barby Limited.
“One New Change Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, has purchased the assets and lease of Barbecoa St Paul’s and will be trading as normal.”
The group made no mention of the Piccadilly branch, which Christie & Co had been appointed to market alongside Barbecoa St Paul’s.
At the time a spokesperson for the Jamie Oliver group told The Caterer: “As part of our ongoing and comprehensive review of the restaurant group and its operations, we have instructed a firm of real estate experts to ascertain the potential value and market suitability of two of our sites.”
M restaurants’ founder Martin Williams has said he expressed an interest in saving the business at the end of last week, but that no deal was reached.
Williams, who aimed stern criticism at chain restaurants just a week ago, said: “I believe there is a future for Barbecoa which appears to be a casualty of the melt-down of the Oliver Empire.
“I’m interested in acquiring the brand and protecting the jobs of staff, many of who are very talented individuals whom I have mentored throughout my career. I believe the business has potential and we approached the company late last week to attempt to come up with a mutually acceptable agreement.”
Williams, who has two London city centre M Restaurant venues and an M Bar & Grill in Twickenham, said he would never become a chain operator adding: “I believe that all restaurants have to have their own character.
“That means giving freedom to the managers and chefs to develop their own concepts. The moment you impose central control the spark of creativity and the very life blood of the hospitality industry is crushed.”
The news that the business had slipped into administration came just days after Jamie’s Italian announced it has received “overwhelming support from our creditors for our proposal to reshape Jamie’s Italian restaurants”.
Jamie’s Italian will close 12 sites following the CVA agreement, which also saw rents slashed in a bid to save those restaurants remaining open.
Court documents have revealed that the Jamie’s Italian brand had debts of £71.5m, including 2.2m owed to staff, overdrafts and loans of £30.2m and £41m owed to other creditors, The Telegraph reported.
In August 2017 The Caterer reported that the celebrity chef’s restaurant group had insisted it would open a Barbecoa steakhouse in the Nova development in Victoria, as rumours circled the plan had been abandoned.
Barbecoa Victoria was announced in 2015 for a September 2016 opening, however it still remains unopened.
The group did not respond to questions about the opening when asked by The Caterer.
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