Singapore

‘Business as usual’ at Jamie’s Italian outlets here

British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's restaurant empire may have collapsed in Britain, but here, it is "business as usual" for the two franchised outlets at VivoCity and Forum The Shopping Mall.

Jamie's Italian outlets here are owned and operated by food and beverage company Integrated Food Concepts Singapore, which said in a statement yesterday that "Jamie's Italian VivoCity and Forum are locally owned and operated under a franchise agreement with Jamie's Italian International.

"As such, both Singapore-based outlets remain unaffected by this recent announcement."

The closures in Britain come under Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group.

Jamie's Italian first opened in 2008 in Oxford, and other brands under the 43-year-old TV host's empire include restaurant-bar Fifteen and steakhouse Barbecoa.

Jamie's Italian at VivoCity opened in 2013 to much fanfare, as well as mixed reviews, with diners complaining about the quality of food and long queues.

The second outlet opened at Forum The Shopping Mall in 2015.

The Straits Times understands the brand's entrance into Singapore is in collaboration with property group Hotel Properties.

Jamie's Italian in Bali and Bangkok, as well as Hard Rock Cafe outlets in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, are all listed on the group's website.

On how the closures could affect the franchised outlets, Mr Francis Poulose, managing director of food and beverage consultancy Poulose Associates, said: "It depends on the structure of the company, finances, and how the franchise contract was drawn up.

"It would affect the brand image, but it won't affect Jamie Oliver himself or his shows."

Weighing in on the future of the outlets here, Mr Desmond Sim, head of research for Singapore and South-east Asia at real estate agency CBRE, said: "They do not necessarily have to close, as long as quality is maintained.

"In fact, maybe they can veer away from franchise restrictions and reinvent themselves."

Food & Drink