Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's restaurant empire has gone into administration, less than two years after the group narrowly avoided collapse.
The group includes the entire Jamie's Italian portfolio, as well as his high-end restaurants Barbecoa and Fifteen. Oliver's team has appointed KPMG as administrators and the collapse of the group will put up to 1,300 jobs at risk.
The television chef expressed his sadness concerning the recent developments in a statement released to the press. Oliver said: "I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected. I would also like to thank all the customers who have enjoyed and supported us over the last decade, it's been a real pleasure serving you."
"We launched Jamie's Italian in 2008 with the intention of positively disrupting mid-market dining in the UK High Street, with great value and much higher quality ingredients, best-in-class animal welfare standards and an amazing team who shared my passion for great food and service. And we did exactly that."
In 2017, Oliver closed the last of his Union Jacks restaurants, as well as several branches of Jamie's Italian. The chef also ceased operation of his magazine Jamie, which had been running for almost a decade.
By the end of that year, Oliver had been forced to put three million pounds of his own money into his faltering restaurant businesses.
The annoucement comes at a difficult time for the UK's casual dining scene, with several once popular chains having faced difficulty in recent years. Long-standing groups such as Carluccio's, Byron and Strada have all faced financial difficulty in recent times, with several branches of each group being forced to close.