Jamie Oliver Restaurants plans to open 200 restaurants by 2027, adding to its estate of 70 sites in 23 markets worldwide, group director Ed Loftus tells MCA.

The company will open 22 restaurants this year with plans to focus on international growth, while moving towards an experiential-led brand in the UK.

The Jamie Oliver Cookery School brand, which offers cooking classes across various cuisines, has been well received by UK consumers, according to Loftus. In October 2022, the celebrity chef dipped back into the UK restaurant scene in virtual form, rolling out a virtual brand called Pasta Dreams with delivery-first restaurant group Taster.

“It started with a single brand focus on Jamie’s Italian,” he says. “Lots and lots has happened since then. We’re well established now in terms of our global footprint and very much focused on being a global business.”

“Our ambition is to be global. We’re focused on international growth, but if the right opportunity came up in the UK, we’d look at it.”

The group will open 50-60 restaurants in India alone in the coming years, trebling its footprint in the country, along with further openings in Australia and the Middle East.

It is also actively looking for franchise partners in the US in preparation for its launch in North America.

“Our surveys show strong brand awareness of Jamie in the US. That gives us the confidence to go into the market.”

Partners for Spain, the Netherlands, and Poland are also a key priority, owing to strong awareness of the Jamie brand in those countries as well.

In addition to the cookery school, the group has six other brands under its umbrella: Jamie’s Italian, Jamie’s Deli, Jamie Oliver’s Pizzeria, Chequer Lane, Jamie Oliver Kitchen, and Jamie Oliver’s Diner.

“It’s more diverse than people realise,” Loftus adds. “While Italian is a big part of what we’ve done, Jamie is known in different ways globally.

“It’s much more a house of brands. We feel most markets can support more than one format.

“We have international plans for the cookery school as well.”

Expansion will take place across concepts but primarily focus on growing the Jamie’s Pizzeria estate.

“It’s a scalable format so the most significant moving forward in terms of the number of sites,” Loftus says. “We’re also opening 4-5 Jamie’s Italian this year and there’s solid prospects for Jamie Oliver Kitchen…the brand really reflects what Jamie is now.”

The Kitchen brand is relatively new, with three sites in Brazil, Bali, and Cyprus, with an “eclectic, more contemporary” all-day dining concept localised to each market. It will also open on the German High Street this year.

The Diner also serves as a virtual concept, while Chequer Lane in Dublin is more of a single-site concept. The focus on the school marks the move towards experiential, according to Loftus.

Jamie’s Italian is primarily focused on cruise ships, with partners including Royal Caribbean. The latter is in the process of pushing out a major brand refresh for more “elevated” positioning, with new dishes, logo, and colours.

Jamie’s Deli operates 15 sites predominantly with SSP in travel hubs, focusing on a differentiated offer within the space with a grab-and-go range as well as salad counters, hot food, and options such as pizza.

The group looks to select the right franchise partners to meet its food sourcing standards and expand the Jamie’s brand globally.

“Franchising gives us the best possible result in terms of entering the international market and amplifying long term sustainable growth,” Loftus adds. “We’ve seen great success in India…we have big ambitions for our business over there.”

A team headquartered in the UK, spanning architects, marketing, culinary specialists, designers, and food development, is dedicated to support new concept rollouts internationally.

With the absence of a set menu across markets – aside from Jamie Oliver ‘hero dishes’ – each concept is designed to be sufficiently localised, showcasing dishes inspired by flavours like currywurst in Germany and butter chicken in India.

“There’s no one size fits all. We have to keep evolving to move to the next stage.

“The price point is really key. It’s not just a celebrity chef charging huge prices in a five-star hotel, it’s about great value for well-sourced, well thought out, and accessible food.”