The Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group has announced an exclusive 10-year deal with contract caterer Aramark that will see its restaurant concepts move into workplaces.
The deal will allow Aramark to offer its clients all of Oliver’s current and future concepts, including Jamie’s Italian, Jamie’s Diner, Jamie’s Deli and Jamie’s Pizzeria.
Announcing the deal, the celebrity chef said it was a “sincere relationship” that would allow him to reach more people with nutritious, responsibly sourced food.
He explained: “As a company we’re really committed to changing things in food in Britain and hopefully therefore the world.”
He added: “If we’re ever to have a chance to achieve this I have to change, I have to evolve, I have to grow up and this relationship is a very important part of that.”
Speaking at a launch event at Jamie Oliver HQ in north London the chef assured those gathered “you won’t see my standards slipping” before adding “this is the perfect opportunity”.
Aramark’s president for Northern Europe, Frank Gleeson (pictured with Oliver), said the celebrity chef was the perfect fit to help its ambitions for expansion in the UK, Ireland and Northern Europe.
He told The Caterer: “When we looked at the business in Northern Europe specifically the UK and Ireland we were looking for somebody that fitted within our brand values and our ethos and we thought Jamie Oliver was the guy. He has such a good connection with the consumer, he’s a very dynamic and inspirational guy.
“As we go out into the marketplace to win new business we’ll be able to bring Jamie and his team in to collaborate and deliver the right new concepts for a specific location. That’s the beauty of it, new items could be off the counter or a whole new concept.
“Jamie Oliver has multiple brands and we have access to them straight away, but the really exciting thing for me is this collaboration with my culinary team and his culinary team and our design team and his design team to drive a new level of social dining within the Aramark business.”
Aramark works across the business and industry, education, healthcare, manufacturing and defence sectors.
Oliver’s concepts will initially fall into its premium business and industry offering LifeWorks, although Gleeson said it could be offered across other sectors. Oliver’s concepts could be delivered through dedicated restaurants, pop-ups or part of a rotating offering.
Gleeson added: “It’s all about a collaboration using the best people you can find. I think we’ve selected a really good partner in Jamie and his team because they are so engaged particularly in the UK, which is a big market for us and in the health and wellbeing side, which we see as the next big thing.
“Our growth strategy is business and industry, premium business and industry and education. We’re very strong in military, oil and gas as well as retail. This partnership will help us revitalise and win more business because it’s absolutely in tune with the consumer.”
Jon Knight, CEO of the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, told The Caterer told that the deal marked an opportunity for the business to expand away from the high street.
He said: “We wanted to look to diversify away from the high street, not that it’s not great, but there’s an audience out there that might not come to the high street. Their tastes may have changed, it gives is that opportunity to take this to a new audience.”
Knight said the deal was not simply a franchising of concepts, but a working relationship based on shared aims.
He explained: “I think first and foremost one of Jamie’s beliefs and one of our beliefs is great food and making it accessible to everyone. We are going into huge corporate companies, maybe universities, maybe hospitals and maybe giving people a reason to come to us in the high street. We will be giving that accessibility to great food and to Jamie, not just through TV or books. Then maybe when people are out shopping they’ll say there’s Jamie’s I had a great experience at work let’s take the family.”
Asked if the group would produce bespoke brands for Aramark, Knight said: “If the right opportunity comes with the right partner why would we not…there’s more to come.”