TV CHEF Jamie Oliver may have to close 12 of his Italian restaurants as he battles a business downturn.
Staff could be told of the possible closures as early as next week.
A source said: “It’s devastating news, and the timing is pretty bad too.
“Officially, staff will be told the closures are because of company streamlining.
“But hard-working, loyal employees who have given their all for Jamie Oliver now fear being tossed aside like garbage. It’s surely the dole queue for some and this whole thing stinks.”
Branches at risk include St Albans, Milton Keynes, Glasgow, Bristol and Cardiff.
A Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group spokesman said it was “exploring plans to restructure its Jamie’s Italian restaurant estate”. But he said no final decision had been made.
Last year Jamie, 42, closed seven Italian restaurants and his Union Jacks pizza chain.
His restaurants lost £9.9million last year, having made a profit of £2.4million a year earlier.