Merivale will delay its Melbourne launch after operators in the city called out the Sydney-based hospitality group’s expansion strategy.

The industry juggernaut, which has 70+ venues across Sydney, had planned on extending its Merivale at Home business to Melbourne in August as part of a longer-term growth strategy. However, on Sunday the group announced it would delay the launch until the city “was back on its feet again” in an Instagram post.

Venues in Melbourne are currently struggling through their second period of Stage 3 restrictions, with many reopening for two weeks at the start of July, before having to return to takeaway only operations on 8 July.

In a statement, the company said Merivale at Home, which launched in Sydney in April, had been a way to keep serving guests and create jobs for staff as well as suppliers during Stage 3 restrictions.

“Merivale at Home was created with national expansion in mind and we had always planned for Melbourne to be our first interstate launch,” the statement reads. “We love having guests visit us from Victoria and had been receiving lots of messages asking us when we were going to launch there.

“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.”

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