Jamie Oliver pays himself €5.9m despite restaurant closures
The celebrity chef’s restaurant chain collapsed this year with the loss of 1,000 jobs
Jamie Oliver: the chef got €5.9 million last year from his companies. Photograph: John Kernick/New York Times
The celebrity chef’s food and media empire increased sales to €49.1 million in the year to December 2018, but pretax profits almost halved to €8.8 million, largely because of a €11 million one-off charge related to the restaurant business. It went into administration in May this year, leading to the closure of most of his Jamie’s Italian branches in the United Kingdom, along with Barbecoa and London’s Fifteen restaurant.
Paul Hunt, the chief executive of Jamie Oliver Holdings, said the company had delivered “a resilient set of results” as underlying profits before the one-off costs relating to the restaurant business had increased by almost five per cent. The €5.9 million dividend paid by the group to the celebrity chef was down from €9.7 million a year before.
Hunt said the strength of the Jamie Oliver portfolio had “allowed the group to weather the challenges of 2018”.
Revenue in Oliver’s media business fell slightly as TV shows and books Jamie Cooks Italy, Friday Night Feast and Quick & Easy did not prove as successful as the previous year’s 5 Ingredients book and TV show.
But the company signed new long-term licensing contracts with Shell and Tesco, while the Jamie’s Italian international franchise business opened 12 new sites in three new countries, taking the total to 62.
Profits were also boosted by the 2017 closure of the loss-making food magazine, Jamie.
All but three of Jamie Oliver’s 25 UK restaurants closed in May, with the loss of 1,000 jobs, after the business went into administration. The brand now only operates via a franchise at Gatwick airport in the UK.
Accounts published on Monday reveal that in 2018 Oliver’s company pumped €5.4 million in new funds into the ailing restaurant business last year in an attempt to keep it afloat, taking the total funding in recent years to nearly €18 million.
In August the chef said he wanted to turn the remains of his business empire into an ethical “B corporation” that officially gives equal weight to people, the planet and profit.
“We are a commercial business with social purpose running through everything we do. We have emerged from the past six months with complete clarity around our vision and values, as well as a renewed focus on what we want to achieve in the coming years,” Hunt said. – Guardian