Jamie Oliver announces he is turning his empire into a 'social impact business' focused on creating an anti-obesity legacy after his restaurant chains went into administration with the loss of 1,000 jobs
- Jamie Oliver is to turn his empire into a 'social impact business' to tackle obesity
- The chef hopes to halve childhood obesity by 2030 in what will be his 'legacy'
- He said he's had a 'difficult year' but 'couldn't be more excited about what's next
- All but three of his UK eateries closed down when they went into administration
Jamie Oliver is to turn his empire into an ethical 'social impact business' focused on halving childhood obesity by the end of the next decade.
The Jamie Oliver Group has laid out an anti-obesity project that the chef hopes will be his 'legacy', months after his restaurant chains collapsed into administration.
The TV chef said it had been a 'difficult' year but the failure had motivated his team and he 'couldn't be more excited about what's next.'
His firm released a report on Friday, which it said was an 'important step in its plans to become a leading social impact business'.
The TV chef said it had been a 'difficult' year but the failure had motivated his team and he 'couldn't be more excited about what's next'
The report lays out how the group's activities from 2019 onwards will all centre on a goal to halve childhood obesity by 2030.
The group plans to reach the target, known as 'the 2030 project', through mix of campaigning, Mr Oliver's TV shows and books, products, and partnerships with other companies.
As part of its commitment to becoming a social impact business, the group is looking into becoming certified as a 'B corp', a status given to for-profit companies which meet certain standards of sustainability, accountability and transparency.
The process could take several years to complete.
Jamie Oliver was reduced to tears on Channel 4 documentary The Naked Chef Bares All after returning to one of his Fifteen restaurants in east London and seeing it empty
A fresh faced Oliver stands in front of the Fifteen in Westland Place, London, in 2003
The move comes a few months after all but three of Mr Oliver's UK restaurants were closed down when the business went into administration.
In the social impact report, the chef said it had been a 'difficult' year but the failure had motivated his team.
'The challenges we've weathered have galvanised us to be more effective, more focused and more impactful,' he said.
Jamie Oliver outside a Jamie's Italian. All but three of Mr Oliver's UK restaurants were closed down when the business went into administration
Some parts of the restaurant empire still exist in the form of 65 international sites in 25 countries, as well as Fifteen Cornwall which is run as a franchise by a local food foundation.
Mr Oliver's other business activities include his partnerships with firms such as Shell and Tesco.
Although he has faced criticism for his collaboration with Shell, the company said the new food range has increased the number of healthy options for Britain's drivers.
Paul Hunt, chief executive of the Jamie Oliver Group, said the obesity targets will be considered before signing any new deals.
'We now examine every partnership we consider entering into through the prism of our 2030 Project: does it help us move towards our goal to halve UK childhood obesity over the next decade?'
Earlier this week viewers watched as the chef was left in tears as he went back to the first restaurant he ever opened following the collapse of several of his brands.
Oliver broke down as he visited Fifteen in east London, which he opened in 2002, as part of Channel 4 documentary Jamie Oliver: The Naked Chef Bares All.
Both he and presenter Davina McCall became emotional as he talked her through what went wrong with his empire and the stress he had been under since.
Timeline: How Jamie Oliver's chains plunged into debt
2008: Jamie's Italian opened its first restaurant in 2008.
2015: Jamie At Home, which contracted agents to sell his cookware range at parties, ceased trading after racking up losses. The company began in 2009, as part of the Jamie Oliver organisation, before being licensed to another firm in 2013, but shut up shop in 2015.
2017: Jamie's businesses lost £20m, forcing him to shut 18 of his Italian restaurants - leading to the loss of 600 jobs.
Chain was struggling with debts of £71.5m and teetered on the edge of bankruptcy before the chef injected his savings into the business.
The firm also took out £37m in loans from HSBC and other companies.
In 2017 he closed the last of his four his Union Jack Piazzas, in London's Covent Garden.
2018: Jamie's Italian shuttered 12 of its 37 sites, with the latter tranche executed through a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).
He also came under fire for failing to pay suppliers after his upmarket steak restaurant Barbecoa crashed into administration, leading to the closure of its Piccadilly branch.
The restaurant in St Paul's continued to trade and was bought out by a new company set up by Oliver, who was no longer legally liable for the debts.
2019: All but three of Jamie Oliver's restaurants close after the business called in administrators, with 1,000 staff facing redundancy.
Oliver's chains Fifteen, Jamie's Italian and Barbecoa went into administration in May, with more than 20 restaurants shutting and 1,000 jobs lost as a result.
Talking about the failures, he said he was 'naive' and 'didn't know' how to run a business successfully.
He told McCall: 'To survive in this industry is tough. I was very naïve.
'I was good at running one restaurant. I opened lots of big restaurants and people like small restaurants and we sort of had these big cathedrals we couldn't fill.'
He added: 'The staff got paid up to the date and I made sure of that. The hardest part was telling staff that they haven't got a job anymore.'
Walking into the building, Oliver said: 'It's like the films where the bomb goes off and everyone has to leave, and everything is just left.'
Then, after going downstairs, he began to break down into tears, telling McCall: 'My god. It's tough.'
Oliver first opened the Fifteen restaurant in 2002 to train apprentice chefs from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The not-for-profit went on to give 15 young people a year the chance to work in the food industry at a cost of £40,000 each.
They were able to train alongside a team of 25 professional chefs and mentors.
Oliver said 80 per cent of them were still employed in the sector five or six years after they left.
Oliver has previously said the business 'changed him as a person' and that the 'young graduates were the profit'.
It comes after Oliver suggested Brexit was to blame for the collapse in an interview last weekend, claiming the 'uncertainty' caused has changed people's eating habits.
The TV chef believes people stopped eating at restaurants because of uncertainty after the 2016 referendum.
Roughly 1,000 jobs were lost when all 25 outlets of Jamie's Italian, Barbecoa and Fifteen (pictured serving int he restaurant in 2003) closed
Staff outside Jamie's Italian in Piccadilly back in May as the TV chef announced the downfall of his eateries
He said: 'The world changed, the high street changed – it started to become Uber -fied – our competitors changed, and we looked less different to them as we did in the beginning.
'Then, when there's that chain reaction, throw a bit of Brexit in, say the B word, confidence goes and people's habits changed.'
But experts say the growth of takeaway apps, and a 'saturation' of food chains on Britain's high streets contributed to eroding the company's earnings.
In 2017 the father-of-five, who lives in a £6million 16th century Essex mansion, ploughed £12.7million of his own money into his struggling businesses.