Jamie Oliver and wife pay themselves £6.8m after boost from cost of living programme

Business

Jamie Oliver and his wife Jools have paid themselves £6.8m in dividends after his firms’ total profits rose by almost a fifth.

The Jamie Oliver Group said earnings were boosted by the celebrity chef’s TV series Jamie’s £1 Wonders, which Channel 4 launched in response to the cost of living crisis.

An average of 1.4 million viewers tuned in, including a higher-than-usual proportion of 16 to 35-year-olds, it said.

A spokesperson for the group of companies confirmed the couple received the payout last year after it reported pre-tax profits of £7.7m in 2022, up 17.5% on 2021.

Income was also improved by his range of food products, cookery school classes, other TV series Jamie’s One Pan Wonders, a promotional partnership with Tesco, and Oliver’s cookbook ONE, which has sold two million copies to date.

It marks a turnaround from when Oliver’s UK restaurant chain, Jamie’s Italian, collapsed in 2018 with debts of up to £83m.

Administrators later revealed it led to the loss of 1,000 jobs and the closure of 22 branches. Oliver received a dividend payment of £5.2m from his business empire before the collapse.

But since then his international restaurant franchise business has grown to more than 70 outlets in 23 countries – with the chef planning to relaunch in the UK with a new eatery in London’s Covent Garden later this year.

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The group’s chief executive, Kevin Styles, said: “The Jamie Oliver brand continues to resonate with audiences around the world.

“We plan to bring together all aspects of our group, including media, restaurants, products and the Ministry of Food, with a strong digital transformation plan.”

Mr Styles added that the business empire planned to enter new markets and wanted to “maximise our brand’s commercial and social impact”.

Speaking earlier this year about his plans to re-enter the British restaurant trade, Oliver said: “Losing my UK restaurants was without doubt one of the hardest times of my life.

“But being a positive part of the restaurant industry is very close to my heart. We learnt lessons as we grew the international restaurants…

“So I’m very excited to open this restaurant in London and with an exceptional team, once again, serve the public.”

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