Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is closing six of his 42 UK-based Jamie’s Italian restaurants, citing pressures caused to the business in the wake of the UK voting to leave the EU.
The branches of the chain in Aberdeen, Cheltenham, Exeter, Tunbridge Wells and in Ludgate and Richmond, both in London, are all scheduled to close soon.
The move will affect 120 staff, whom the company said it would try to place in other parts of the chain.
Acknowledging that uncertainties caused by Brexit had intensified pressures in an already tough market, a spokesperson for the chain said that the price of ingredients bought in Italy has gone up because of the fall in the value of the pound against the euro since the vote to leave the EU.
Jamie’s Italian chief executive Simon Blagden, added: “As every restaurant owner knows, this is a tough market and, post-Brexit, the pressures and unknowns have made it even harder.
“Because we refuse to compromise on the quality and provenance of our ingredients and our commitment to training and developing our staff, we need restaurants that can serve an average of 3000 covers every week to be sustainable,” he added.
The closures represent less than 5% of total turnover and impact less than 5% of staff.
The restaurant group intends to expand its Barbecoa brand and open 22 Jamie’s Italian restaurants abroad this year.