Crikey! Now Jamie Oliver's Australian restaurants have gone under  4/17/2018 11:19:08 AM 

Another part of Jamie Oliver's restaurant empire has been put into administration.

The Australian arm of the restaurant group has been put into administration in order to change ownership of the chain, the company said.

Five branches of Jamie's Italian have been sold to Brisbane-based restaurant group Hallmark, which will take over running the brand as a franchise in Australia. One other site in Canberra has closed.

A spokesperson for the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group Australia said: “Australia has and continues to be one of our best performing international markets and, after a short period of in-house management we are pleased to be partnering with Hallmark."

Hallmark said it would be looking for new locations to open more Jamie's Italian branches.

Read more: Revealed: Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's most and least successful ventures

Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Jamie's Italian, took over running the restaurants after franchisee Keystone went into administration two years ago.

But the company was put into administration in order to hand over the business to Hallmark.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, documents filed with the corporate regulator ASIC show there were concerns about the business in March.

Advisers from BDO were called in and a deal was agreed whereby the company would go into voluntary administration.

The move comes just weeks after Oliver's Barbecoa went into administration. The St Paul's branch of the steak restaurant was saved in a pre-pack deal whereby a different subsidiary of Oliver's restaurant company bought the site.

Read more: Restaurant troubles show why Jamie Oliver needs to go back to basics

The UK branch of the Jamie's Italian chain has also been forced to close several stores in the UK, while others are operating with reduced rents after creditors approved a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) earlier this year.

Over the weekend, Oliver said in an interview with the Mail on Sunday that the business was stronger as a result of the adjustments, and insisted that the decisions had saved thousands of jobs.

"I’ve had to man up and make a big decision," he told the paper. "Do you just let it all go down or go in and let some go down to save the rest? We have got a great business, and we will bounce back."

Read more: Restaurant chains are finally remembering that the customer is always right

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