The administrators of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant empire have instructed CAPA to audit properties across the chain, as they seek to recover funds for creditors.

CAPA will undertake an accounts payable and property audit of 26 sites, including Jamie’s Italian eateries, after the group succumbed to the severe trading conditions now hitting the UK’s casual dining market.

The Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group employed around 1,300 staff with 25 outlets around the UK, including 22 under the Jamie’s Italian brand, along with Jamie Oliver’s Diner at Gatwick Airport, plus Barbecoa and Fifteen in London.

The group had recently secured additional investment and since the beginning of 2019, Jamie Oliver had provided another £4m to support the business.

But with no suitable bids emerging from a sales process, and a tough trading environment of rising costs and brittle consumer confidence, the directors resolved to enter insolvency proceedings.

In the end, Will Wright and Mark Orton of KPMG were appointed joint administrators of Jamie’s Italian Ltd, Jamie’s Italian Holdings Ltd, Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group Ltd, One New Change Ltd and Fifteen Restaurant Ltd on May 21 2019, and then Jamie Bianco Ltd on June 3.

In a media statement on the appointment, the administrators said the trading environment for companies across the casual dining sector is as tough as they’ve ever seen.

Although 22 of the group’s restaurants have closed, KPMG secured an agreement to transfer the operations of the three Jamie Oliver eateries at Gatwick Airport to SSP Group, which operates food and beverage outlets in travel locations worldwide. This deal safeguarded 250 jobs.

KPMG has now appointed CAPA to conduct the audits, meaning CAPA’s team will use bespoke software to conduct a forensic analysis of all property costs at the 26 sites, including utility bills and service management charges, to identify any errors, anomalies and overpayments.

The Audit team will then recover any overspend to boost overall recoveries for creditors of the restaurant group.

CAPA will also inspect all of the firm’s accounts payable data, including invoices paid to every supplier across the group, and seek to recoup further overpayments for creditors.