On April 14th, 1999 a new TV show started in Great Britain with the naughty title „The Naked Chef “. No, it was not what you might think it was, it was a serious cooking show and the only one naked were the vegetables. The show probably needed a strong title like that, because no one on the planet was interested in British cooking, except – of course British Folks. The Star of the show was 24-year-old James (Jamie) Trevor Oliver, who was until then unknown to the world. Due to his fun and rustic presentations that made cooking look easy and simple, he became an overnight celebrity chef. Suddenly a door opened to British cuisine – and mint sauce and kidney pudding didn’t seem quite so gross anymore.
Jamie Oliver’s TV appearances and fame grew and slowly transformed the cute cook to the wealthiest chef in the industry. Now, 18 years later, he has built himself quite an empire. Jamie Oliver Holdings Ltd., incorporated in 2002, owns over 60 restaurants, a Pizzeria franchise, a TV production company, an event catering business, an online cookware store, a cooking school, and has published 23 cookbooks with a total sale of 30 million. Not bad for a guy who started his career in his parent’s village pub!
But what is it that makes the brand so successful? Well, there is of course Jamie himself. Cuddly, mischievous, cute, hyper – these are just some of the words people use to describe him. He certainly is unique, and so is his cooking style. His secret? Simplicity and fresh ingredients. One of his most watched videos on YouTube is “How To Make Perfect Scrambled Eggs – 3 ways”. You would assume everybody knows how to beat an egg and cook it, but no, apparently not. 9.2 million viewers have needed to find out so far.
Fresh ingredients are a must for Jamie Oliver. For his UK based restaurants, he buys from local farms; a practice he recommends to everyone if given the chance.
“Knowing how to cook means you’ll be able to turn all sorts of fresh ingredients into meals when they’re in season, at their best, and cheapest! Cooking this way will always be cheaper than buying processed food, not to mention better for you. And because you’ll be cooking a variety of lovely things, you’ll naturally start to find a sensible balance.” Jamie Oliver (quote retrieved from https://www.jamieoliver.com/philosophy, Feb.15, 2018)
He also got a lot of media attention with the project “Feed Me Better”, where he tried to revolutionize the cafeterias in British and later in American schools by demonstrating to the kids what processed food does to our bodies and how easy it is to prepare nutritious food from scratch that is much healthier.
Having a persistent determination and a never-give-up attitude is also a great plus on Jamie’s side, as well as making wise choices when it comes to hiring people. Paul Hunt, for example, CEO since 2014 dug a hole and buried everything that wasn’t profitable when the company was hit by a loss of GPB 9.9 million in 2016. The Jamie Oliver magazines, a product line of sauces, jams and artisan biscuits as well as six of Jamie’s Italian restaurants had to go. That might sound awful, but it ensured that things were looking up in the long run: the profits in licensing and media have increased and earned the company a lovely profit of GPB 12.6 million.
“A picture speaks a thousand words” is the old proverb and ever so true. David Loftus, award winning and internationally acclaimed photographer has worked with Jamie Oliver since the Naked Chef days. He photographed all but one of Jamie’s cookbooks and is often responsible for the pics Jamie posts on social media too.
“Pictures are our strongest tool and we make sure that is accountable for all of our programs. That’s where user generated content comes across as well. We get thousands of pictures shared with us every day – and that’s not just people cooking the recipes. It’s from people who are empowering themselves by learning to cook from scratch, educating them about the food globally,” Subi Gnanaseharam, Social Media Manager for James Oliver Holding LTD (quote retrieved from http://www.thedrum.com/news/2014/09/23/jamie-oliver-groups-social-media-manager-reveals-values-behind-its-engagement, Feb.13, 2018)
Talking of social media, the brand has nailed social media strategy. In 2013 when the YouTube channel FoodTube didn’t get much attention due to the inconsistency of clips, they turned the concept around by producing videos mimicking half hour TV shows. This format brought 100 K new subscribers in just a single night. Further, the thumbnail design got a makeover and categories were carefully organized. Comments and suggestions from the 3.5 million subscribers are encouraged and all sorts of conversations are happening so that subscribing to the “FoodTube” channel feels more like being an active part of a community rather than just a passive observer.
Jamie’s wife and his five children have become a big part of the brand and are regularly seen in social media and his books. Letting an audience look into a sliver of your private life, makes it personal and approachable. A selfie he posted on Facebook with wife and baby River received 22k likes and was shared 202 times.
Instagram is even stronger. When Jamie posts a photo, he receives an average of 16,000 likes in the shortest time and numerous comments. With 6.2 million followers on Instagram he has surpassed Michelin star chef Gordon Ramsay by over two million.
The latest product coming from the Jamie Oliver Holdings Limited is the cook book “5 Ingredients”. It was released in August 2017 and was on the bestseller list by December. The book unveils dishes that can be done with five ingredients (seasoning not counted) in less than 30 minutes. And again, simplicity is the key. The ingredients for each recipe can be found in an average supermarket and doesn’t require a trip to exotic locales.
Lessons for Others
Jamie Oliver Holding Limited is consistent in its social media approach and listens to its followers. The audience is asked what they would like to see featured, and it will be done. Based on his viewer’s comments, he created the category “National Gluten-Free Day”, which increased his fan base by 16%. Although Jamie Oliver has no Michelin star like his fellow UK chefs Gordon Ramsey (three stars) or Marcus Wareing (two stars), he has cooked himself into the heart of many. Proofs that you don’t need a star to become one.
Industry: Hospitality Services
Name of Organization Contact: All Information in this article has been retrieved from various web sites
Authored by: Gita Pattison
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Oliver, retrieved Feb.12, 2018
http://www.runwaydigital.com/blog/who-is-doing-well-on-social-media-jamie-oliver/, retrieved Feb.12, 2018
http://www.thedrum.com/news/2014/09/23/jamie-oliver-groups-social-media-manager-reveals-values-behind-its-engagement, retrieved Feb.12, 2018
https://www.jamieoliver.com/news-and-features/features/quick-and-easy-food-introduction/, retrieved Feb.12, 2018
https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/life/893880/jamie-oliver-net-worth, retrieved Feb.12, 2018
https://kenonfood.com/jamie-oliver-cracks-irish-top-ten-for-best-selling-books-at-christmas/, retrieved Feb.12, 2018
http://uk.businessinsider.com/jamie-oliver-wants-you-to-cook-with-just-5-ingredients-heres-why-2017-8, retrieved Feb.12, 2018
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/dec/30/bestsellers-2017-top-100-philip-pullman-jamie-oliver-margaret-atwoodhttps://london.eater.com/2017/10/19/16503054/jamie-oliver-celebrity-chef-business-magazine-restaurants-closure, retrieved Feb.12, 2018
https://www.jamieoliver.com/restaurants/https://www.jamieoliver.com/italian/story/, retrieved Feb.12, 2018
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/jamie-olivers-recipe-for-success-7767011.html, retrieved Feb.12, 2018
https://econsultancy.com/blog/67862-how-jamie-oliver-harnessed-the-power-of-youtube, retrieved Feb.12, 2018
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/oct/11/jamie-oliver-chef-school-dinners, retrieved Feb.12, 2018
http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-4958668/Jamie-Oliver-s-restaurant-business-serves-losses.html, retrieved Feb.13, 2018
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2011/apr/10/school-dinners-jamie-oliver, retrieved Feb. 14, 2018