Jamie Oliver to continue to expand restaurant business in India


Jamie Oliver, who surged to fame by hosting the popular food show Naked Chef, started Jamie’s Italian in 2008. (File photo: AFP)

NEW DELHI: Even as it faces closures in the United Kingdom, restaurants started by British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver will continue to expand in India, through their local master franchisee partner for the country, Dolomite Restaurants, said a top executive at the company.

Earlier this week, Jamie Oliver’s British restaurant chain filed for bankruptcy protection leading to the closure of 22 restaurants in the United Kingdom, amid increasing competition that made business unviable for the restaurants business started by Oliver.

However, the bankruptcy process is not expected to impact overseas restaurants that run in various markets. According to a report in BBC, the chef’s international restaurant chains Jamie’s Italian, Jamie’s Pizzeria and Jamie’s Deli will continue to run as usual.

In India, the restaurant chain operates two restaurant formats—Jamie’s Pizzeria, and Jamie’s Italian through Dolomite Restaurants, that is the master franchisee for the Jamie Oliver restaurants formats in India. Its current shareholders include London-based International Market Management (IMM) and local Indian partner Hunch Ventures.

Dolomite will add five more outlets under the Jamie’s Pizzeria and Jamie’s Italian brand over the next few months, taking the total restaurant count to 12 up from the current 7, said Jasper Reid, CEO, IMM and managing director, Dolomite Restaurants.

“We are in the process of zeroing on 5 sites currently. Dolomite will continue to invest in the business here,” Reid said in an interview with Mint.

Jamie’s brand of restaurants opened in India in 2015. While its smaller format Pizzeria restaurant started in a mall in Gurugram; Jamie’s Italian, a bigger, more premium dining format opened doors in Delhi.

Reid added that restaurant closures back in the UK have no impact on the chain’s overseas franchises. “The international business is completely independent from the UK business,” he said.

India’s food service industry’s market size at 423,865 crore and sees the participation of some of the world’s biggest food companies such as Yum! Brands, Domino’s, McDonald’s, Subway among others.

“We’re seeing an incredible demand for food services in the Indian market, but it is clearly under-serviced currently, while the UK market is oversupplied,” Reid added. As a result, “we are bullish on the market here, we have the capital to scale up the business.”

Going forward, Reid added that the chain could look at markets such as Bengaluru and Chandigarh apart from the existing markets of Delhi-NCR and Mumbai.

A strong growth in the country’s food delivery market is also making Reid explore delivery partnerships with food aggregators here. “We already are seeing a good demand but we will build it in a big way through local partnerships,” he added.

The restaurant closures in the UK are likely to impact a 1,000 jobs there.

Oliver who surged to fame by hosting the popular food show Naked Chef, and authored several cookbooks started Jamie’s Italian in 2008. However, Oliver’s restaurant business has been in turmoil in the UK over the last two years.

Last year it shuttered 12 restaurants in Britain.


Written by Loknath Das