Celebrity chef, bestselling author and restaurateur Jamie Oliver has his fingers in plenty of pies. But like most serial entrepreneurs, he's been burned a fair few times.
In 2015, he revealed that he'd messed up around 40 percent of his ventures. But his greatest setback came in 2017, with the near collapse of his restaurant chain, Jamie's Italian. Oliver had to pump £12.7 million (around $16.5 million) of his estimated £150 million fortune into the company to help save it from the brink of bankruptcy, according to a recent interview he did with the Financial Times.
"I had two hours to put money in and save it or the whole thing would go to s--- that day or the next day. It was as dramatic as that," Oliver told the FT.
Here are four reasons for the near collapse and what they taught him about running a business.
1. Take time to get it right
Restaurant chain Jamie's Italian was launched in 2008 to bring "new on-trend ingredients" to the U.K.'s mid-market dining scene. That helped position Oliver as a pioneer in a burgeoning market, but it also meant he faced tough new challenges and ended up "opening too many restaurants, too quickly, in the wrong places," the celebrity chef told the FT.
"In the future, I might spend a bit more time getting in second and getting it right," he said.
2. Grow strategically
Part of that push to be first saw Jamie's Italian expand rapidly, reaching 40 U.K. outlets at its peak.
However, that led to some poor venue choices in "sub-optimal" locations, Will Wright, a partner at KPMG who was brought in to help restructure the business in 2017, told the FT.
High rents, increasing food costs and rising wages quickly made many of those locations unprofitable and contributed to company debts of £71.5 million. To keep the business afloat, Jamie's Italian has since had to close 12 branches and cut around 600 staff, according to media reports.