What happened to Jamie's?





Posted on 04th June 2019 by Lon

What happened to Jamie's?


At PrizeDeck we keep an eye on all things retail, online and offline, and as we run quite a few foodie giveaways, we keep a keen eye on the restaurant scene too.

It’s been incredibly tough lately for high street retailers but spare a thought for restaurants as there’s been a surge in restaurant closures over the past 18 months…probably with a lot more to come.


Many of the popular restaurant chains such as Prezzo, Carluccio’s, Byron Hamburgers and Strada have closed outlets in the last year and now Jamie’s Italian, one of the more well-known ones, has fallen into administration.

So have we hit the ‘casual dining crunch’ and what has caused it?

Brexit and its implications on exchange rates, recruitment and consumer confidence has played its part but at the same time food and staff costs, rents and business rates have all gone up. Private equity and its access to cheap debt fuelled the rapid expansion but if you are now operating 100 sites your profit margins are being squeezed. When restaurant chains have grown too fast they have compromised on food quality, service and the dining experience and therefore eroding the principals that made them stand out.

How about the high prices? Yes, we’ve seen food prices increase and it’s easy to spend £60-£70 on a family (with 2 kids aged 8 and 5) meal out at Pizza Express. Is that good value? Definitely not and hence the reason consumers are not eating out as much.

High streets are saturated with restaurants right now and in Kingston upon Thames, which is our nearest large town, there are no less than 16 restaurants in close proximity to one another, all competing for the same casual diners. Only two stand out as thriving, Nando’s and Wagamama.

How about food/recipe boxes delivered to your door? No doubt this too is a contributing factor and as less people eat out it means home cooking is on the rise, fuelling the growth of the many food box suppliers such as Gousto, Hello Fresh, Simply Cook and Pasta Evangelists.

So what did exactly happen at Jamie’s? The restaurant group grew too fast and tried to do too much, with high operational overheads of rent, rates, food & staff costs and the decline of the high street meant that the losses and debt piled up. Changing consumer tastes are also a factor and many diners complained that it was simply over-priced and served mediocre food.

Have you eaten at Jamie's? Can you do a better job at home using one of the popular recipe boxes? It's worth a try and you'll probably save a few quid in doing so as well as having a better meal!

Here's our pick of the top two recipe box providers: