THE EPIC STORY
The story of Epic Hospitality begins with Greig Wilson.
Greig’s journey in hospitality began when he moved from the family farm in Dipton West, Southland to London in 2000 on the Kiwi OE. Lacking any experience in hospitality he started off as a humble glassie but quickly learned the art and progressed to bar person. Pouring pints, spinning epic yarns, traveling, and having a jolly good old time. Greig moved back to NZ in 2003 and headed back to the family farm for 2 weeks. The serenity! 2 weeks was enough and he decided to move to Wellington. “Absolutely positively Wellington”. Mainly because he loved the city’s catchphrase! Greig brought an old Toyota HiAce van for $500 and drove up the country to Wellington to start University. To pay the bills he set up his own mobile DJ business. Studying by day and DJing at night. Weddings, corporate events, and pubs. One night he DJ’d at an old club called Subnine. He fell in love with this old nightclub and ended up buying it for asset value only. It was losing a lot of money, was pretty run down, and was in a difficult location. But it was his, and he set to work working around the clock to try to make it profitable. After three years it broke even. He describes it as the university of nightclubs. The first event he ran lost $10,000. That was the last of his cash. It was bloody tough. Living off the smell of an oily rag he read every motivational book he could find to gather the courage to continue.
The lease for Subnine expired and Greig managed to convince Lion Brewery to lend him some money to build a new nightclub in a high-profile location - The Garden Club. This was a three-level nightclub and events venue with a capacity of 1000 people. Greig ran that for three years. It didn’t make much money either. He sold the lease in 2012 after the accountants told him it was probably a good idea to go bankrupt. Not one to shy away from hard work, bankruptcy was not an option! He worked tirelessly and paid off all the creditors and was able to raise $80,000 to build a third nightclub - Ivy Cabaret and Bar.
Ivy went absolutely gangbusters with the rental at the right cost it was an instant success! Finally! Since then, Greig and his partner Leon have built Vinyl Bar (2013), Bad Grannies (2014), Fat Angel (2016), Eva Beva (2016), Shady Lady (2017), and El Barrio (2019).
Over the years, we’ve been proud to be nominated for a few awards, and win a handful too. These include:
WINNER - Best Music Entertainment Venue – The Garden Club – 2009 Hospitality Association Awards
FINALIST – Best New/Renovated Bar – Vinyl Bar – 2014 Hospitality Association Awards
FINALIST – Best Bar – Vinyl Bar – 2015 Hospitality Association Awards
WINNER – Best Bar/Restaurant – El Barrio - 2019 NZ Latin Awards
FINALIST – Best Bar/Restaurant – El Barrio – 2020 NZ Latin Awards
FINALIST – Vibrant Gold – El Barrio – The Wellington Gold Awards 2020
Mission & Guiding Principles
Epic Hospitality builds and operates creative, unique, and diverse establishments for Wellingtonians and visitors alike to meet, eat, drink and enjoy exceptional hospitality time and time again.
Our guiding principles sit at the heart of everything that we do. They inform our decision-making and goal setting, they provide the framework for how we respond to challenges and adversity, and most importantly they set us up for success.
Our seven guiding principles are:
Hospitality is about people. It’s about how we make people feel. We are in the business of making people feel important, special, valued, safe and feeling connected with each other and the different experiences that each of us brings.
Hospitality is fun! In fact, it’s Epic fun! We thrive on celebrations of all kinds. Our venues are where people head to celebrate, and we want to be there for every one of those fun and exciting moments.
Passion & Pride
We are super passionate about delivering our exceptional brand of hospitality. We are proud of it. We are proud of the passion that our people show in creating unforgettable experiences for our guests. We are proud of the individuals in our teams and their commitment to helping their fellow team members up the ladder with them. We are proud of the diversity and lived experiences that make up our talented teams.
Consistency is what drives success. We will uphold our consistent exceptional hospitality experience across all our venues. We will achieve consistency through continuously revising and perfecting our systems.
We love success. We achieve results and we celebrate them. We will always upskill ourselves and upgrade our systems and core practices so that we can achieve the best results.
We build teams of A-Players that are obsessed with lifelong learning. Epic team members are excited and motivated to learn more about great business, entrepreneurship, leadership, wellness, and about themselves
We continually look for new ways to support holistic wellbeing so that team members can get the most of their time with us, maximise their engagement, and upskill themselves on their own journeys. We believe wellbeing is a central
responsibility of a business.
Open Book Management
Epic Hospitality does hospitality differently. We are one of a small number of hospitality companies in New Zealand that operate Open Book Management (OBM). Our goal with OBM is to give everyone a voice in saying how our hospitality sites are run, and a stake in the financial outcome and success of the business.
Our real business is education, and growing our people
We engage our teams in OBM in a variety of ways. These include:
- Weekly 'huddle' meetings to review the Department Operation Report board (DOR) - recapping key metrics and figures from the past week and planning for the week and month ahead.
- Monthly full group meetings that focus on training, development, education, and shared wins.
- Revenue share - if the business hits its weekly target, everyone shares in the win and receives a weekly bonus payment.
As business operators, we believe it's our role and responsibility to provide support and engaging environments for people to grow and thrive. Essentially, a business is a school where people learn and grow - we fully embrace this concept! OMB is one of our central tools to give everyone a higher level of engagement and provide education around financial and business literacy.
We firmly believe that modern workplaces should support and enhance everyone’s sense and understanding of wellbeing. Not just physical and mental, but emotional and social too. At Epic, we are constantly working on wellbeing.
Wellbeing, in a broad sense, is connectedness.
A central idea in OBM is connection. Epic actively strives to connect each team member to our ‘why’ – our mission, and why that is important, and what it means to all of us. After all, we are all in the same boat paddling in the same direction. To truly work as a connected and cohesive team towards our big goals and mission gives everyone a strong sense of purpose. A sense of purpose is strongly linked with social wellbeing.
Of course, we understand that someone’s sense of wellbeing is significantly impacted by how they look after their bodies and their minds. This is why we were delighted to roll out free gym and yoga memberships for all full-time and part-time staff in 2021. Working on our bodies is a surefire way to encourage wellbeing in other parts of our lives.
Epic Hospitality also offers an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). All staff have access to a highly respected counsellor at no charge.
We are delighted to have partnered with the below companies to offer our complimentary wellbeing services.
TE ARO ASTANGA YOGA
JETTS 24 HOURS FITNESS
NIGEL SUTCLIFFE COUNSELLING