Jamie Oliver Restaurants shuts three Union Jacks

By Mark Wingett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Union jacks, Covent garden

Three of the four Union Jacks are being closed
Three of the four Union Jacks are being closed
Jamie Oliver Restaurants has closed three of the four sites currently operating under its Union Jacks brand, as the company looks to concentrate on the continued roll out of its core Jamie’s Italian chain both in the UK and internationally. 

The group, which has been assessing its options for the brand, has closed the sites in Chiswick, Holborn and Winchester and is now seeking offers on the units, according to BigHospitality's sister publication M&C Report​. 

It is understood that Jackson + Rye, the Richard Caring-backed concept, is in advanced talks to take the Chiswick site.

The Union Jacks site in Covent Garden will continue to operate under the brand, which has been discontinued for the foreseeable future.

The majority of the staff from the three closed sites have been relocated to Jamie’s Italian units or in the case of Winchester found roles at rival chains.

A spokesperson told M&C Report: “The Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group has made the decision to close three of the Union Jacks restaurants. After a full review it was concluded that the businesses in Winchester, Chiswick and Holborn were no longer sustainable in the current challenging climate. The Union Jacks site in the Piazza in Covent Garden is trading well and will remain fully operational.

”The group is confident in being able to deliver a robust performance in 2014 and is looking forward to a number of restaurant openings, in the UK and internationally. This will include developing the successful Trattoria model which is doing well in its first location in Richmond.”

The closure of the sites and the relatively failure of the brand will be seen as the first misstep by the chef and his management team led by Simon Blagden after the phenomenal success of Jamie’s Italian. It is thought that the core business has had a good start to the year.

Union Jacks, the wood-fired flatbread pizzas concept, was founded by Jamie Oliver and US ‘pizza guru’ Chris Bianco, in 2011 with the opening a first site in Central St Giles, Holborn.

It is thought that the business had not achieved the level of sales expected and the group was loathe to make further cost savings under the brand and instead will take the learnings for the format across to its fledgling Trattoria brand that launched last year in Richmond.

Starting as a flatbread-led concept focusing on British provenance, Union Jacks tweaked over the last two years, with Oliver’s name being brought more to the fore on the branding front and the focus on the pizza side of the format being ramped up.

The group will open its flagship Jamie’s Italian central London site in the first week of next month in Denman Street, Piccadilly. The site will comprise three floors plus a roof terrace. A further opening will follow in Newcastle in March.

The company is currently looking at a number of opportunities for further Trattoria’s in the South East and especially in the Home Counties. It would like to add a couple more under the brand this year.

Jamie’s has signed a partnership agreement to open its first two sites in Canada this year with Vancouver and Toronto the mooted first locations. International expansion will be the main focus of the group’s attention this year, with openings lined up in Moscow, Hong Kong, San Paulo, Stockholm, Canada and Bali, plus further sites in Australia.

This story was first published by M&C Report. To subscribe contact Emily Croft on 01293 846578 or email rzvyl.pebsg@jeoz.pbz​.​ 

Related topics: Business, Venues, Restaurants

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