Justin Hemmes has been on a red-hot shopping spree these last 18 months. From Victoria’s Lorne Pub, Tomasetti House at 277 Flinders Lane, to a smattering of Byron Bay locations, and everything else in between – the hospitality mogul has shelled out upwards of $200 million for his recent real estate acquisitions. With no signs of momentum slowing, Hemmes’ Merivale empire has now staked its claim into a slightly different kind of territory: the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and the currently under-construction Sydney Football Stadium (SFS).
Good Food reports Merivale have prevailed in the “cut-throat, winner-takes-all” battle for both stadiums’ catering contract, which involved active competition from an entire procession of potential suitors. Familiar names which were in the running included Bourke Street Bakery, Flying Fish & Chips, as well as a bidder linked with celebrity chef Matt Moran.
Soon enough, the Hemmes-led operation will be replacing longtime Venues Live partner and catering incumbent, Delaware North, which has handled concessions + premium dining at the SCG since 2010.
While Merivale has declined to issue a comment at this final contract stage, rival bidders were more than happy to offer a statement regarding how difficult it was/is to challenge the Merivale hegemony.
“When we heard they [Merivale] were on the shortlist, we knew it’d be hard to compete and they nabbed it,” states one anonymous party.
“Venues NSW is continuing to evaluate the shortlisted bids for the catering partner at the Sydney Cricket Ground and new Sydney Football Stadium,” explains a spokesperson for Venues NSW; obviously in an effort to temper expectations before all relevant parties sign the dotted line.
“The tender process has been conducted in line with NSW Government procurement guidelines.”
Once all the paperwork and so forth is up to scratch, you can an official announcement from Merivale regarding its freshly-inked contract with the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and Sydney Football Stadium (SFS) sometime next month; and also expect to sink an ice-cold schoobanger alongside some rather elevated stadium nibbles, similar to what’s on the menu at Mr Wong, Jimmy’s Falafel, Totti’s, etc.