The deal, which has been 18 months in the making, will take Oliver’s brands in to contract catering in the UK and Northern Europe in a bid to reach a younger audience.
The restaurants may be under existing concepts such as Jamie’s Italian or Jamie’s Deli, or “exclusive” new brands developed for Aramark clients.
Jon Knight, CEO of Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, told BigHospitality the first site of the partnership was on-track to open this summer, with a number of others in the pipeline.
He said: “We’ve got a very aggressive plan for the next two years. Within 12-18 months I would like to think we would be in double figures.”
Speaking at an event to announce the partnership, Oliver said the move was part of his mission to “change the system” and deliver a “nutritional revolution” beyond the high street.
It follows a difficult few months for the chef’s restaurant group, which has closed 12 of its 37 Jamie’s Italian sites since January after posting £9.9m losses in the last financial year. It also shut its Barbecoa grill and barbecue restaurant in Piccadilly after it fell in to administration.
“Despite what you might have read this group of people and these businesses have had a fantastic year, and have never been happier or more creative,” said Oliver.
“Behind it is a company which is committed to really changing things in food in Britain and hopefully the world. We have some social values which are deep-seated in this business, and that’s to half childhood obesity in the next 12 years. It’s a big call.”
New chapter for restaurants
Knight told BigHospitality the deal was a chance for the restaurant group to take a new direction amid difficult trading conditions on the high street.
He said: “The market is incredibly tough so you’ve got to find new audiences.
“From a growth point of view we haven’t gone through what we have just come out of it and stand still. We’ve gone through it to re-base ourselves and grow again.”
He added that he was “very keen” to also look at expansion in to high-footfall travel hubs such as stations, but wouldn’t rule out opening further high street restaurants.
“I’ve got a right-sized estate at the moment, I need to make sure it works. What I don’t want to do is suddenly over expand. We’ve done what we needed to. If those opportunities on the high street come along and they are commercially viable then I would certainly consider it.”