The 43-year-old father of five launched the popular Italian-style eateries in 2008, but despite his huge celebrity status – appearing on TV shows and launching several cookbooks – all but three of Oliver’s UK restaurants are set to close, leaving 1000 people out of work.
Adding further to Oliver’s woes is a report from Mail Online that the chef’s business lost more in a single year than it ever made in its entire business run, and that banks and suppliers could pursue Oliver personally for payment of debts.
“There’s no evidence it was ever a successful business. On the basis of these figures they should have been hitting the panic alarm four to five years ago,” Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research, told Mail Online.
"It looks like reckless expansion – from the time they hit £100m (AUD$184M), profits are threadbare and then they’re negative. Really there’s no justification for the continued expansion after 2014."
Trouble had been brewing for a while - last year Oliver shut 12 of his 37 restaurants in Britain and five branches of the Australian restaurant chain were sold off and another put into administration.