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Building a brand in hospitality

How has the Merivale group developed its brand over the past 10 years to be what it is today?



In the hospitality industry, building a brand that stands out can be a challenging task. With an increasingly competitive market and ever-evolving customer preferences, it is important for businesses to establish a unique identity that resonates with their target audience. One such brand that has successfully achieved this is Merivale, a leading hospitality group in Australia. In this white paper, we will explore the strategies and tactics that Merivale has used to build its brand, and how other businesses in the hospitality industry can learn from them.

History of Merivale

Merivale is a privately owned hospitality group that was founded by Justin Hemmes in 1957. The business started with a single pub, The Vic in Enmore, Sydney, and has since grown to encompass more than 80 bars, restaurants, and event spaces across Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Today, Merivale is known for its diverse range of venues, from high-end restaurants to underground bars and clubs, and for its commitment to exceptional customer service and innovative experiences.


Brand Strategy

Merivale's brand strategy is centered around creating unique and memorable experiences for its customers. The company aims to provide a diverse range of venues that cater to different tastes and occasions, from intimate dinners to large-scale events. The group also places a strong emphasis on customer service, ensuring that each guest feels valued and appreciated.

Another key element of Merivale's brand strategy is its focus on innovation. The company is constantly exploring new ideas and concepts, from themed pop-up bars to high-tech event spaces, to keep its venues fresh and engaging. This willingness to take risks and try new things has helped Merivale to stay ahead of the curve and maintain its position as a leader in the industry.

Marketing and Communications

Merivale's marketing and communications strategy is also key to its success. The company uses a range of channels to reach its target audience, including social media, email marketing, and traditional advertising. One of the key strengths of Merivale's marketing is its ability to create buzz around new venues and events, using tactics such as teaser campaigns, influencer partnerships, and media previews to generate excitement and anticipation.

Another important element of Merivale's marketing is its focus on storytelling. The company creates compelling narratives around its venues and events, highlighting their unique features and experiences. This approach helps to create an emotional connection with customers and build a loyal fan base.

Customer Experience

At the heart of Merivale's brand is its commitment to providing exceptional customer experiences. The company invests heavily in training its staff to ensure that they are knowledgeable, friendly, and able to provide personalized service to each guest. This focus on service has helped to create a culture of hospitality within the company, where every employee is empowered to go above and beyond to make each customer feel special.

Another key element of Merivale's customer experience is its attention to detail. The company is known for its stylish and well-designed venues, from the lighting and music to the décor and menu offerings. This attention to detail creates a sense of luxury and sophistication that sets Merivale apart from its competitors.

How has there recruiting practices helped to build employee loyalty?

Merivale has a reputation for having one of the best employee cultures in the hospitality industry in Australia. The company's recruiting practices are a key element in building employee loyalty. Here are some of the ways in which Merivale's recruiting practices contribute to employee loyalty:

Emphasizing Values and Culture Fit

Merivale places a strong emphasis on values and culture fit when recruiting new employees. The company looks for people who share its commitment to exceptional service, innovation, and customer experience. By recruiting people who are aligned with the company's values and culture, Merivale creates a sense of community and belonging among its employees.

Encouraging Employee Development

Merivale is committed to providing opportunities for its employees to develop their skills and advance their careers. The company offers a range of training and development programs, from on-the-job training to formal qualifications, to help employees grow and progress within the company. By investing in its employees' development, Merivale demonstrates a commitment to their long-term success and creates a sense of loyalty among its staff.

Offering Competitive Pay and Benefits

Merivale offers competitive pay and benefits to its employees, including a range of employee discounts, health and wellness programs, and paid parental leave. By providing these benefits, Merivale demonstrates its commitment to its employees' well-being and helps to build loyalty and commitment among its staff.

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion

Merivale is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in its workplace. The company actively seeks to recruit people from a range of backgrounds and experiences, and provides a safe and inclusive environment where everyone is respected and valued. By promoting diversity and inclusion, Merivale creates a sense of belonging and loyalty among its employees, and fosters a culture of respect and understanding.

Encouraging Employee Feedback

Merivale encourages its employees to provide feedback on their experiences working for the company. The company values employee feedback and uses it to improve its workplace culture and practices. By listening to and acting on employee feedback, Merivale demonstrates its commitment to its staff and creates a sense of loyalty and engagement among its employees.

In summary, Merivale's recruiting practices help to build employee loyalty by emphasizing values and culture fit, encouraging employee development, offering competitive pay and benefits, promoting diversity and inclusion, and encouraging employee feedback. By creating a positive and supportive work environment, Merivale is able to attract and retain top talent in the hospitality industry, and build a culture of loyalty and commitment among its staff.

How does Merivale Hospitality continue to dominate the Market?

Merivale Hospitality currently has over 70 restaurants, bars, and event spaces in Sydney. 


This article will explore the reasons why Merivale Hospitality dominates the market and how the company has achieved such success.



Merivale Hospitality has always been known for its ability to create unique and memorable experiences for its customers. From the design of its venues to the food and drinks on offer, every aspect of the Merivale experience is carefully curated to ensure that customers are delighted and surprised at every turn. This complexity of experience is what sets Merivale apart from its competitors and keeps customers coming back for more.


Another key factor in Merivale's success is its ability to adapt quickly to changing market conditions. The hospitality industry is notoriously volatile, with trends and fashions coming and going at a rapid pace. Merivale has proven time and again that it is able to stay ahead of the curve, anticipating trends before they emerge and responding quickly when they do. This burstiness in its operations has allowed the company to maintain its competitive edge and dominate the market.


Finally, Merivale's success can be attributed in part to the complexity of its operations. Managing such a large and diverse portfolio of venues and events requires a high degree of skill and expertise, as well as a willingness to take calculated risks. Merivale's management team has shown time and again that they have the knowledge and experience necessary to navigate the complexities of the hospitality industry, and their willingness to innovate and experiment has been a key driver of the company's success.

How does Merivale recruit staff particularly with staff shortages?

Merivale Hospitality, one of Australia's most prominent hospitality groups, is known not only for its beautiful venues and exquisite food but also for its exceptional staff. The recruitment of staff members is a crucial aspect of the company's success, and they have implemented several strategies to hire the best talent from both Australia and overseas.

Merivale's hiring process starts with a robust recruitment team that is responsible for identifying and attracting the right candidates for the job. They use a variety of platforms to advertise job openings, such as social media, job boards, and industry-specific websites. They also maintain an active presence at hospitality industry events to engage with potential candidates.

The company takes a unique approach to recruit staff from overseas. They partner with international recruitment agencies to identify talented candidates who possess the skills and expertise required for the job. These candidates undergo a rigorous screening process that includes interviews, skills assessments, and reference checks. Once the recruitment team has identified suitable candidates, they work with the Australian government to obtain the necessary work visas.

In addition to recruiting experienced professionals, Merivale also places a strong emphasis on developing and training their staff. They provide ongoing training programs and encourage their employees to seek opportunities to learn new skills and advance their careers within the company.

Merivale's commitment to recruiting and developing top talent has been a key factor in their success. By attracting the best professionals in the hospitality industry, the company has been able to consistently deliver outstanding service and exceed customer expectations. Their focus on staff development and training also helps to foster a positive work culture, which in turn leads to happier staff and better service.

What factors contune and will continue to drive customers to Merivale in the future?

Exceptional Customer Service

As discussed above the heart of Merivale's success is its unwavering commitment to customer service. From the moment a customer enters one of its venues, they are treated with the utmost care and attention, with every detail of their experience carefully considered. Merivale's staff are trained to provide personalized service, anticipating the needs of each individual customer and going above and beyond to exceed their expectations. Remember is all about what memories the customer takes home after the experience, to what they tell their friends, post on social media and whether they return.


Innovative Design

Merivale's venues are known for their innovative and distinctive design, which sets them apart from other hospitality offerings in Sydney. The company works with leading architects and designers to create spaces that are both visually stunning and highly functional, with every aspect of the design aimed at enhancing the customer experience.


Creative Menus

Merivale's food and drink menus are also a key part of its success. The company's chefs are renowned for their creativity and innovation, constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the culinary world. From the finest fine dining to the most casual bar bites, Merivale's menus are designed to surprise and delight customers with unexpected flavors and combinations.



Another key factor in Merivale's success is its diversification. The company has a wide range of venues and event spaces, from high-end restaurants to casual bars and accomodation. 

What are Merivales Marquee venues and what are there themes?

Merivale Hospitality operates a wide range of venues in Sydney, Australia. Here is a list of their venues and the themes behind each of them are here.

  1. Establishment - This venue is located in the heart of Sydney's central business district and features multiple bars, restaurants, and event spaces. The theme of Establishment is "classic elegance" and it features high ceilings, marble floors, and ornate decor.

  2. The Ivy - The Ivy is a multi-level venue that features several bars, restaurants, and a rooftop pool. The theme of The Ivy is "luxury oasis" and it features lush greenery, a poolside bar, and a rooftop garden.

  3. Palings - Located in the Ivy precinct, Palings is a casual dining and drinking destination that serves up modern pub food and drinks in a lively atmosphere. The theme of Palings is "fun and relaxed" and it features a large central bar, outdoor seating, and live music.

  4. The Newport - The Newport is a waterfront venue located in the northern beaches of Sydney. The theme of The Newport is "coastal chic" and it features several bars, restaurants, and event spaces, all with stunning views of the ocean.

  5. Coogee Pavilion - Coogee Pavilion is a beachside venue located in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. The theme of Coogee Pavilion is "beachy bohemian" and it features several bars, restaurants, and event spaces, as well as a rooftop bar and garden.

  6. Queen Chow - Queen Chow is a Chinese restaurant located in Enmore, in Sydney's inner west. The theme of Queen Chow is "traditional meets modern" and it features a menu of classic Chinese dishes with a modern twist.

  7. The Paddington - The Paddington is a pub located in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. The theme of The Paddington is "modern pub" and it features a menu of elevated pub fare, as well as multiple bars and event spaces.

  8. Charlie Parker's - Charlie Parker's is a speakeasy-style bar located in Paddington. The theme of Charlie Parker's is "vintage cool" and it features a menu of classic cocktails, as well as live jazz music.

  9. Ms. G's - Ms. G's is an Asian-inspired restaurant located in Potts Point, in Sydney's inner east. The theme of Ms. G's is "quirky and playful" and it features a menu of innovative dishes, as well as a lively atmosphere and a neon-lit bar.

  10. Felix - Felix is a French brasserie located in the central business district of Sydney. The theme of Felix is "Parisian chic" and it features a menu of classic French dishes, as well as an elegant bar and dining room.

These are just a few of the venues operated by Merivale Hospitality. Each venue has its own unique theme and atmosphere, but they all share a commitment to high-quality food, drinks, and hospitality.

Although, success in business is never fully guarenteed and having a template that seems to be tried and tested and that has really no comparable offering in the market, other operators should educate to emulate and not reinvent a success story that ontines to be told.

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