Featured case: Jamie Oliver – A Recipe for Failure

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The case

Jamie OliverWho – the protagonist

British celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver.

What?

Since his first cookery show, The Naked Chef, broadcast on the BBC in 1999, Jamie has been a household name. He has had numerous television shows, owned a string of restaurant chains and sold millions of books.

Why?

However, Jamie’s Italian has been an unmitigated disaster for the JaJamie Olivermie Oliver brand.

Initially successful after the first restaurant opened in Oxford in 2008, the Jamie’s Italian chain lost its way due to the decreasing popularity of high street food restaurants, rising costs, rapid expansion and the over-crowded casual dining market.

All but two of the 22 Jamie’s Italian outlets closed their doors for business in May 2019.

When?

Jamie and other lenders pumped £50 million into the business in a desperate attempt to save the business in September 2018, but administration was soon confirmed in May 2019.

Where?

The two outlets that remained open are both located at Gatwick Airport in the UK.

Jamie OliverKey quote

“A massive rip off! Rubbish food!” – a TripAdvisor reviewer wasn’t happy with her Jamie’s Italian experience, as the chain headed towards extinction.

What next?

Other ventures such as Jamie’s British themed pizza restaurants Union Jacks and food magazine Jamie have previously collapsed, and he’s recovered. But has he bitten off more than he can chew this time?

 
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The authors

Jamie Oliver

Glyn Atwal and Douglas Bryson

Glyn talks about shorter cases and what a follow-up case on the topic might look like.

Benefits of a shorter case

Glyn said: “The key advantage is that a short case can be easily distributed as reading material in class.

Benefits of a shortercase

“There is also the added benefit that a short case has generally greater focus, or at least the opportunity for the instructor to focus on the most salient aspects that meet the defined learning outcomes.

“In addition, shorter cases are more accessible, particularly amongst younger students.”

Numerous sources

Glyn continued: “The collapse of Jamie’s Italian was certainly well-documented in the media, but it was important to broaden the scope of research to clearly understand the reasons for failure. This also included assessing reviewer comments on TripAdvisor which revealed some fascinating insights.”

Working as a team

He added: “There are of course many positive synergies of working with a co-author, including sharing learnings about how students responded to the case in a real-life class situation. This provides important input on the overall design of the case, to maximise teaching and learning effectiveness.”

Doing things differentlyDoing things differently

He explained: “We would have loved to visit a Jamie’s Italian before it went into administration!

“With hindsight, there could have been more opportunities to discuss the success or failure of the Jamie Oliver franchise outside its home market.

“The recent launch of a new mid-range restaurant concept called Jamie Oliver Kitchen in Bali and Bangkok could be the topic of an interesting follow-up case.”

Learning from mistakes

Glyn concluded: “I think there is an element of surprise and perhaps even anticipation to learn more about the failure of Jamie’s Italian despite the huge popularity of the celebrity chef. The slightly provocative title of the case, Jamie Oliver – A Recipe for Failure, sets the context.

“Moreover, there is often the tendency for cases to focus on the success rather than the failure of strategic marketing decisions. This case is essentially an opportunity for students to learn from mistakes which is an invaluable learning experience.”

About the authors

Glyn Atwal is a Professor of Marketing at Burgundy School of Business.
e glyn.atwal@bsb-education.com

Douglas Bryson is a Senior Lecturer at Rennes School of Business.
e douglas.bryson@esc-rennes.fr

 

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