Will celebrity chef shut restaurant chain?

Leute-News: Jamie Oliver

There have been reports that the future of Jamie Oliver's Union Jacks chain of pizza restaurants is in question. There are five branches in the chain at the moment, and one newspaper has said that Oliver is now 'Exploring various options" for its future.

So should we be worried about the future for this national treasure?

The claim

The Daily Mail claimed that no more branches of this brand will be rolled out, and that the future for the existing branches is uncertain.

A spokeswoman is quoted as saying no final decision has been made, but he is focusing his resources on a Trattoria concept which is doing well for him in its first location - in Richmond.

It's clearly too early to say what will happen to the chain, but it says something about Oliver's Midas touch that when there's even the tiniest hint that something may not be a runaway success, it becomes newsworthy.

Should we be worried?

However, the good news is that Jamie Oliver has plenty to fall back on. He is said to be worth £150 million, through a huge empire of restaurants, event catering, a cookery school, corporate work, a vast range of products, a magazine in the UK and the US, a massive TV career and a small library-worth of books.

His restaurants include the high-end establishments of Fifteen and Barbecoa, as well as more than 30 branches of Jamie's Italian, the Union Jack concept, and Trattoria in Richmond. He even has a pop-up diner in the West End of London at the moment.

His Save With Jamie book has already sold over 200,000 copies, and is set to be this Christmas's best-selling book - which will make it his fourth year at the top of the chart. To put that in context, he is selling twice as many copies as the Great British Bake-Off Everyday.

He is perhaps best known for his corporate work with Sainsbury's, but also boasts tie-ins with everyone from Boots (for whom he makes a range of sandwiches) to Tefal (which has his name on a range of pans). His own brand range includes everything from BBQ equipment to mugs, scales, seed potatoes and grow bags.

It's fair to say that with this many irons in the fire, some ventures are bound to be more successful than others. But it looks distinctly like his empire has the strength to take any knocks on the chin.
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