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Individuality will ensure success of Jamie's Italian, predicts expert

02 March 2010 by
Individuality will ensure success of Jamie's Italian, predicts expert

The rapid expansion of Jamie Oliver's high street restaurant chain Jamie's Italian will be successful as long as each unit retains its individuality, according to an industry expert.

The celebrity chef, who launched the Italian restaurant group nearly two years ago, currently operates eight outlets in the South of England and Cardiff, with further restaurants set to open in Reading, Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool and London in the coming months.

The group has now submitted plans to Bristol City Council to turn part of what is currently Blackwell's Bookshop in Park Street into a three-floor restaurant and shop.

In addition to the UK operations, Oliver is expanding Jamie's Italian to Asia. Hong Kong-based Tranic Franchising has partnered with Oliver's company to roll the concept out across the continent, with the first restaurant to launch in Hong Kong in the first half of this year.

When Jamie's Italian launched in 2007, Oliver told Caterer that the concept would not be "Wolfgang Puck operation with a Jamie's Italian in every city", adding that a London opening was unlikely.

But while expansion has been fairly rapid since then, the concept has retained an element of individuality meaning it is not "just another chain", according to Stephen Broome, hospitality director at consultancy PricewaterhouseCooopers.

"The product is identical, but it hasn't taken a ‘cookie cutter' approach to the rollout as the units are individual," he said. "(Expansion) is an interesting move given the current climate, but I suspect most of the premises are leased which lessens the risk."

Expanding overseas on a franchise basis means Oliver faces less risk than, for example, Gordon Ramsay Holdings did when it opened operations across the globe, Broome added.

Jamie Oliver further expands Jamie's Italian >>

Jamie Oliver to launch new joint venture in London >>

Jamie Oliver expands Jamie's Italian into Asia >>

By Daniel Thomas

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