Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group has returned five Jamie’s Italian restaurants in Australia to a franchise model and closed a sixth, a year since the company took them in house.
Brisbane-based Hallmark Group will take over the management of the restaurants in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Parramatta and Adelaide.
The Canberra restaurant will close with immediate effect.
Oliver was forced to salvage his Australian chain after operator Keystone Group entered receivership in June 2016.
The restaurants were put up for sale in July that year and Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group bought back the franchise, finalising the deal in March last year.
Ben Shaughnessy, COO of the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group Australia, said: “Australia has and continues to be one of our best performing international markets and, after a short period of in-house management we are pleased to be partnering with Hallmark.
“The team brings a huge amount of experience and passion for our brand, from collaborating with the key suppliers to our food philosophy, and we look forward to working with them as they develop the Jamie’s Italian restaurant offering across Australia.”
A spokesman for Hallmark said: “We are thrilled to partner with Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group on the Australian portfolio. We’ll be working closely with Jamie and the UK team, staff and local suppliers to keep driving the business forward and delivering exceptional experiences across the country. Hallmark are actively seeking new suitable locations for the next Jamie’s Italian.”
Meanwhile, it was reported this week that Oliver still believes he has a “great business” that will “bounce back” following a series of restaurant closures at the start of the year.
In January, Jamies Italian accepted a Company Voluntary Agreement and closed 12 of its 37 restaurants.
The following month Oliver was forced to close Barbecoa in London’s Piccadilly and buy a second Barbecoa outlet near St Paul’s Cathedral out of administration.