Jamie Oliver presents himself as a man of the people, although he does come across as being holier than thou.
Yet, the reality is a bit different.
On May 21, 2019, he made headlines as his restaurant chain went into administration. One thousand jobs are at risk.
On May 22, the BBC reported that staff were less than pleased with the way his managers terminated their employment in Glasgow (emphases mine):
… staff at Jamie’s were still hopeful that a turnaround was on the horizon.
“We knew it wasn’t doing as well as we’d want it to be,” says Lucy, who worked at the Glasgow branch for more than three years.
Staff, she says, were led to believe that a refit was around the corner, and that taps offering Brewdog beer would soon be installed.
Instead, they got a simple email.
“My partner was meant to be on shift this morning,” says Lucy, who asked for her real name not to be used.
“He was told at the last minute not to come in as the locks were being changed.
“We were then invited to join a conference call and told we had all been made redundant, effective immediately.”
Lucy and her partner, who worked at Jamie’s for five years, say they feel there was a lack of transparency at the firm.
“I wish they hadn’t said to us that it was fine, when it obviously wasn’t,” she says.
Oliver says his restaurants were ‘effectively franchises’, meaning that he was not involved with their day to day running. Even so, I am surprised he did not insist that the franchise holders show truth and compassion in informing employees of their situation.
In his documentaries, Oliver has been very critical of people and politicians who do not do right by the ordinary citizen. I thought he would practise what he preaches. Apparently not.
Oliver’s restaurants are not the only British restaurant chain in trouble. Many others are.
I am amazed when I go into London and see shopfront after shopfront occupied by these chains. It isn’t at all sustainable.
There was a time three years ago when we were at the top of the worldwide restaurant boom. No longer.
The aforementioned BBC article says:
Once seen as competitors to Jamie’s, Italian chain Strada is down to just three branches, while Carluccio’s has been forced to close approximately a third of its restaurants, after losing tens of millions of pounds.
Burger brand Byron, French cuisine chain Cafe Rouge, and pizza outlet Prezzo aren’t faring much better.
Lucy says the writing is on the wall for restaurant chains:
The market for chain restaurants is dying – there are loads of places you can go in Glasgow that are cheaper.
That’s great news, because I prefer eating at family-owned restaurants. London used to have a lot, but rising rates and leases put many out of business.
Family-owned establishments often try harder. Their lives depend on it.
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