Well over 1,000 jobs are at risk as the restaurant chain set up by the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver crashes into administration just two years after narrowly averting an earlier collapse.
Sky News has learnt that Mr Oliver's Jamie's Italian chain and his other venues have lined up KPMG to handle an insolvency process.
The move puts as many as 1,300 jobs at risk and deal a blow to the television chef whose inimitable style and entrepreneurial zeal has earned him a vast fortune during the last 20 years.
Sources said that the administration process would encompass Mr Oliver's remaining Barbecoa sites as well as Fifteen London, the site he launched after he was catapulted to fame through his Naked Chef TV programme.
The insolvency process is likely to leave HSBC, the company's principal bank lender, nursing a multimillion-pound loss.
KPMG is likely to lead a search for a new owner, which will come after Mr Oliver's business launched a restructuring process in 2017 to shed a number of loss-making sites .
The insolvency of Jamie's Italian and its related brands comes amid a torrid time for high street casual dining chains.
Cau has disappeared, with its parent Gaucho being restructured, and other chains, including Prezzo and Carluccio's have also been forced into widespread outlet closures.
A spokesperson for the Jamie Oliver Group said: "The board of Jamie's Italian Limited has appointed Will Wright and Mark Orton of KPMG to put its UK-based restaurant business into administration.
Jamie Oliver Holdings, which operates Jamie Oliver Limited and Jamie Oliver Licensing Limited, as well as the international restaurant franchise business, Jamie's Italian International Limited, will continue to trade as normal.
"Fifteen Cornwall, which operates under a franchise, is also unaffected."
Jamie Oliver responded: "I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the staff and our suppliers who have put their hearts and souls into this business for over a decade.
"I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected.
"I would also like to thank all the customers who have enjoyed and supported us over the last decade, it's been a real pleasure serving you.
"We launched Jamie's Italian in 2008 with the intention of positively disrupting mid-market dining in the UK high street, with great value and much higher quality ingredients, best in class animal welfare standards and an amazing team who shared my passion for great food and service. And we did exactly that."
KPMG declined to comment.