With the news of Merivale’s ‘At Home’ launch plans into Melbourne meeting with industry backlash, the Sydney hospitality juggernaut has rethought the move into Victoria.
Last week, Merivale announced that it would be expanding its successful Merivale At Home arm of the business into Melbourne with meal packs from venues such as Mr Wong, Hotel Centennial, Fred’s and Totti’s available to Melburnians from August. However the announcement was met by criticism from the Melbourne hospitality industry, which is currently significantly hampered by the city’s second shutdown.
Many Melbourne venue operators were quick to react to the news, criticising Merivale for trying to move in on a market that has been decimated in the last four months, and potentially taking up a portion of what little revenue is left for local operators. Many labelled the announcement as tone deaf at a time when Victorian venues are really struggling, with one industry operator commenting “Merivale can continue to grow and develop without standing on the shoulders of struggling Melbourne businesses to do so.”
In light of the criticism, Merivale yesterday announced on social media that they would be ‘pausing’ the expansion into Melbourne, until after the local hospitality scene had reopened and had somewhat recovered.
Today, Merivale expanded on their decision to pause the launch into Melbourne in a statement.
“Our vision is simply to provide the comfort and joy of great meals from our best chefs at home, but we didn’t anticipate the unintended consequences of expanding into Melbourne at this time. It was an oversight on our behalf, and as soon as we heard from some of the local operators, we hit pause and decided to hold off launching Merivale at Home until Melbourne is back on its feet and hospitality venues are open again.
“This is an enormously difficult time for Victoria, and our thoughts and sympathies are with our southern friends; we truly hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel very soon.”
Merivale at Home first launched in Sydney in April, and has helped keep Merivale staff employed throughout the national shutdown and subsequent trading restrictions.