Podcast: Buying and Selling Restaurants: How to Make a Profit. An Interview With Mattie O’Reilly.

By Sharon Inge-Bahravi
Published: May 2, 2019 | Last updated: May 2, 2019
Key Takeaways

Mattie O’Reilly shares the how and when to buy a restaurant, what to invest, and the right time to sell at a profit.



About the Host

Ryan is an entrepreneur, podcast host of the show Life After Business and the co-owner of Solidity Financial. Having personally experienced the hazards of selling a business, he joined up with his friend Brandon Wood to educate others on the process. Through their business (Solidity Financial), they provide a platform for entrepreneurs called Growth and Exit Planning that helps in exit planning, value building and financial management.

About the Guest

Mattie O'Reilly, one of the Twin Cities business magazines' 100 people to know in 2019. His restaurant holding company Riley Custom, clocked over $10 million in revenue in 2018. He's flipped over a dozen restaurants, and bought and sold one of them for a 40 times return on his investment and he never paid over 80 grand for any of them.


Full Transcript

Announcer: Welcome to life after business. The podcast where your host Ryan Tansom, brings you all the information you need to exit your company and explore what life can be like on the other side.

Ryan Tansom: Hey everybody, and welcome back to the life after business podcast. This is episode 141 have you ever wondered what it would be like to own a restaurant. If you were like me or you're like most of the people out there, you've been sitting at dinner having a cocktail going, man, I should own a restaurant. I swear everybody's had that thought, but then everybody knows the stats, or you've heard someone say restaurants are the worst business to own. It'll put you under, it'll suck the soul out of Ya. It's a cash business. It's in people and there's always a bunch of challenges and headaches. Yes, that is true and yes, that is true of all businesses and what Mattie O' Riley, who's our guest today proves wrong about the restaurant business, is that it can be extremely profitable and lucrative if you approach it right. Mattie O'Reilly was one of the twin cities business magazines's 100 people to know in 2019. His restaurant holding company Riley Custom, clocked over $10 million in revenue in 2018. He's flipped over a dozen restaurants and one of them he bought and sold for a 40 times return on his investment and he never paid over 80 grand for any of them. This episode is absolutely a must listen to if you're interested in the restaurant business, if you've always wanted to know how to potentially do it for a profit and then hearing how you can do this with very little money down and approaching the restaurant like a normal business and doing things the right way, it can be fun and lucrative. Before we kick into the episode, there's a couple updates that I want to give everybody. The first one is we are tentatively got our book launch date. So if I have not mentioned, uh, we have, uh, been really working hard.


Ryan Tansom: We, being me and my partner, Jim Carlisle, on building out and writing this book on how to grow and exit your company. The book title's called 'Ripcord', how to grow and exit your company. Our launch date tentatively is September. So we're getting really, really close. And what it does, it takes the five growth and exit planning principles and the process and it gives it all, oh wait, here it is. I want this to be out in the world so owners know how to grow an exit, a company. They can hire the right team of advisers, they can do this right. So pretty pumped about that. And the second update is we are launching a growth and exit planning accelerator. So what that is, is if you are interested in understanding how to grow and exit your company the right way, we are taking those five principles and the process and we are putting it into a 12 month cohort program. So there's a start and there's a stop. It's meeting once a month for a half a day. Our first one is being launched in the twin cities here in Minnesota within the next 90 to 120 days. And it's specifically for people that are looking one to five years

Ryan Tansom: out and you want to grow the value of your company. You want to build a team of advisers, understand the valuation target that you're marching towards. Understand the exit that is going to come to the forefront that makes the most amount of sense for you. This is for you because we're giving you all the knowledge, all the resources within the framework that we have built. But your commitment is only a half a day, once a month, and you're able to level up your knowledge so that way you can hire the right team and do a lot of this yourself. And you get to help a group of entrepreneurs that are also going through the same stuff. So with that being said, I really hope you enjoy this interview with Mattie.


Announcer: This episode of life after business is sponsored by Ge XP collaborative. They're proven process gives you clarity on all of your exit options and how those options impact your financial success, timing and future happiness. So your company on your timeframe to the buyer of your choice at the price you want.

Ryan Tansom: Mattie, how are you doing this morning?

Mattie O'Reilly: I'm doing great.

Ryan Tansom: So I'm glad that, uh, what was on a rack, what we were just talking, what was not on record because we have a lot, a lot of mutual friends that we were talking about. Um, we got introduced here and that you're in the executive MBA program at Saint Thomas with one of my friends. Like I'll give you a shout out and uh, yeah, so we'll, we'll leave that off the record, but for the listeners that might not have heard of you or it didn't see you on the twin cities business journal, a paper recently, give us a little bit of your background and what you're doing now and then you can kind of going back, you said you were some fun things matter in an abandoned, so just kind of curious and some of the big highlights of the background.

Mattie O'Reilly: Sure. Well, uh, yeah, I grew up in the twin cities and while I was in college, I, uh, started working in the restaurant business and it was a crazy story. So I might as well lead with this because it's sort of inspired me to consider this as a profession. So I was a sophomore in college and in the summer I got a call at my, uh, I was staying at my parents' house and I got a call at midnight on a Tuesday night,

Ryan Tansom: Okay!

Mattie O'Reilly: At my parents' house, which is really weird, I was 19 years old. And, uh, my dad answered the phone and he, uh, woke me up and it was the bar manager from Champs in Minnetonka and it had just opened and it was really, really busy. And a friend of mine worked there. He's like, you got to come work here, put in your application. I'll see what I can do. I went and dropped off my application and, and the host just laughed at me almost. She said, yeah, there's a stack like of 300 of these old, good luck. And just so I walked out kind of deflated, and then I'm just woke up and then in the middle of the night basically, and to this call and the, our manager said, hey, uh, Mattie O'Reilly, I'm like yip, that's me. And it's like, it's really late on a Tuesday.

Mattie O'Reilly: Like, what's going on? He's like, well, I'm looking at your application and, uh, we'd, we'd like to bring you in for an interview. And I'm like, oh, okay. And he's like, well, actually, we'd like to bring you in. And I'm like, alright. He's like, can you be here in a half an hour? And I'm like, well, what are you talking about? He's like, our barback cut his hand and you won't be able to finish a shift. So he's like, if you can be here in a half an hour, you got the job. So I was like, what's the uniform? I'll be there. And I'd borrow my parents' car. And I drove there and worked until 3 am in the morning and I got paid. With, um, basically they just, people bossing me around, like get some beers and get some ice. And it was just, this pack is, he says. So I, uh, I got paid that night in just coins, just the change.

Mattie O'Reilly: And it was for pitchers, like beer pictures and I'm like, and I didn't know how much it was. It could have been 50 bucks, and it was $250. And just change and I'm uh, it was an amazing, so I was like my first night and sort of exposure to the industry and it was just super dynamic and fun. I ended up working there for almost a year and a half and it was, it was, uh, through college and it was just exciting and every day was different. And when it came to, came to my senior year and I either had to pick an internship somewhere else to sort of fulfill my, uh, to get my business management degree at St John's. And, and so I asked the owner and the manager of Champs if I could just do my internship on the hospitality industry and use them as an example because I wanted to keep working there because it was so fun.

Mattie O'Reilly: It was so much money. And so I basically did, like I did my final internship and paper on the hospitality industry my senior year in college. So I kinda had this, you know, base of knowledge and I was starting to gain some insights into it. And then I had this real world sort of exciting entry into it and the experience of it, of working there. So I kinda, I was kinda drawn to it in a unique way that it had this sort of, you know, I was starting to get to know the framework of how tricky it is and the challenges that went into it. And then I was actually working in one too. So when I got done with college, I had a couple of jobs that I'd really didn't love and I just kind of called a few friends and sort of fell back into the restaurant business, worked as a server for a couple months and then I got promoted to manager and then I got promoted again.

Mattie O'Reilly: And then I switched companies and I basically just for about 10 years, just worked my way with, uh, some pretty smart, you know, methodical moves with just more just better restaurant companies in the twin cities until I finally, just to develop enough confidence and experience to know that I kind of wanted to do this for a living. So I worked for other people for about 10 years in management. And then I've worked for myself in the restaurant business for almost 16 years now. Well and theirs. And I was super excited to dive into this. So, because first of all, we don't have to go too much about it.

Ryan Tansom: I can't believe your journey. So, I am too. And the following year we input that together. The fact that you are going to Saint Thomas for your master's is unfortunate. Don't hold it against me so, so well. Cause I want to dive into it because you're doing a lot of really, really interesting things that you've been doing by yourself in the restaurant industry. But what I'm curious, Mattie, he's like, it's so funny because I go back to that cause I've been live, grew up in an entrepreneurial family and I always wanted to run my own companies and so many people that kind of start in that mindset like I'm going to want a restaurant because it's the thing that they always see. Then everybody says, don't ever get into the restaurant business, right? Because it's people and cash and blah blah blah, blah blah. What, what is it like as you work for people over the last, those first 10 years? What was so exciting about it and what did you love about it that led you into starting your own deal?

Mattie Reilly: It's a great question. It's, so, mine was more just about my introduction to it. I was always intrigued by the industry and I think a lot of people are, I would say in today's age versus the age, the era that I was, you know, sort of building my, my uh, years of experience. There was no chef's table or top shelf or there wasn't this exposure to the industry that we have today. So I think that there were less people in my era. So like I graduated college in 1992 there wasn't the visibility and sort of the, the drama and excitement of what the perception of the Industry today looks like. It didn't really exist back then. It was more, it was considered more of almost like a blue collar thing as opposed to the celebrity chef type experience from a career trajectory. So there were no, there weren't very many Chef's schools and if there were, they were on one of the coasts and it was, it was very perceived quite a bit differently than it is today.

Mattie O'Reilly: I think that's, that's part of it. So, and uh, and I came from the kind of the opposite were my dad was, uh, just a hardworking, amazing guy, but he was a hardworking commercial insulator, worked in construction my whole life. It wasn't a a union in that trade for 40 plus years. So I worked with him in college before, over summers and when J terms, um, and he, he basically talked me into at least considering doing something that I was passionate about because I think he was from a very different era also where, you know, my sister and I are the true Irish twins. We're 11 months apart. And he was like, back when you two were born. And he's like, I needed a job and, and I got one and he's like, and then it's just life happens and you just keep, he just kept working. And he, he did really well by staying loyal to his profession and career and uh, it, but he, uh, also during the times when we work together, he's like, he kind of reminded me, he's like, a lot of people whose sons work in my trade ended up doing what their dad does and you know, just be really conscious that you've got a lot of options to just find your passion and find you know, what you truly want to do.

Mattie O'Reilly: So it's, it's, so I was drawn to the industry, I think it was, it was, uh, a lot of people are, I just liked, um, um, you know, I'm an introvert, but I also do like, I didn't like the idea of being trapped like in an office or the four walls of a, of a, of a building. I like the idea of being on my feet. I like the idea of having both the creative aspects of a, of something as far as like when I started working for myself too, it was I, I can, I'm a pretty good, you know, I can draw, I'm creative, I'm a musician, but I also have this sort of analytical, I was, I was always a math, you know, I started college as a math major, so I have this sort of best of both worlds from using both sides of the brain and this restaurant industry.

Mattie O'Reilly: I think a lot of, a lot of attention gets put on this conceptual design. Like it's almost everything is like, what's the name, what's the logo, who's the chef? And you know, that gets all this attention. But a lot of the real work comes from managing these numbers and just knowing what to do with them and knowing how to write a pro forma on just analyze a P and O and just sort of get, it's not the glamorous part, but it's probably, you know, that balance that I have, it kind of at least gives me my own advantage when I look at things. I don't just look at them from one angle. I can look at them from multiple angles. So I liked all the aspects of that. I liked sort of digging into the numbers. Um, cause I think that's where a lot of people get in over their head is they just don't, unless they come up with a really good idea, they have a really talented chef and they just don't sort of fulfill the economic aspects or the sort of the financial aspects that go into these things.

Mattie O'Reilly: They just, they think they see other restaurants succeeding, and they sort of piece things together to get them up and running. But it really don't critically look at sort of the data and the analytics that go into what makes these things work.

Ryan Tansom: Are you familiar with the book, "The e Myth?"

Mattie O'Reilly: No, not yet.

Ryan Tansom: So it's written by Michael Gerber and it's short for the entrepreneurial myth. And with, what I love about that book is they say that a lot in, I think the restaurant industry is a very perfect example of this, where a lot of people in the trades, or you know ,a lot of entrepreneurs, they like day we're working for the man and they had this entrepreneurial seizure and then I got, I don't want to work for the man anymore. So then they go out and do it on themselves by themselves.

Ryan Tansom: And so like in the restaurant example, it would be like, okay, I want to do this. But then they get, we're in a perfect… I think in the book the example is, the plumber and the plumber then gets more busy so the higher more plumbers and they hire more plumbers and then they don't realize that, Wait a second and I need AP Ar, HR operations, Finance. And they're like, wait a second, I wanted to just be a plumber. And so like there's this whole, like, I think the restaurant industry is probably based on what you just said is probably a similar victim of a lot of people that just really, really enjoy the experience and don't realize that it's a machine that kicks out cash.

Mattie O'Reilly: Well it's, it's totally true. I'll elaborate on that because I can, I could probably rant about just this thing for the whole hour on. I won't, I'll try to refine it and distill it down and it to the keeping it to the point.

Mattie O'Reilly: But we're, we're like the difference between the plumber and what I do is there's literally the restaurant industry has no barrier to entry. So if I wanted to be a plumber and I went to a bank with a half million dollars and just said, hey, I want to open my own plumbing shop. They were like, are you a plumber? Are you, did you go to school for it? Do you have your license? Dude are You certified to do this work? And they would just look at my half million dollars and just laugh at me, you know? So, but if the plumber, wanted to open a restaurant tomorrow, they with a half million dollar for dollar, two people can walk into a bank and with the same amount of money and say, I want to do that. The plumber, no one would stop that plumber. Nobody. They would just let them go, well, he's a daydreamer.

Mattie O'Reilly: Sure thing. We'll help you. No problem. And they just take the money and then they get into the so beyond the struggles of taking your, your skill set. So in my business, a, you're a chef and you get fed up and you're just like, I can do this. If this guy can, I can. Or if this person can, I can. But they don't see the layers of what they're getting themselves into. If they're a chef and they're a great chef, it doesn't mean they're a great bookkeeper or they're a great negotiator, at least negotiator. It doesn't mean they're, they're great at finance and know how to structure the right, you know, deal over the course of time that will make this place profitable. They're just so reliant on kind of the assumptions and sort of the intuition which gets you to a certain point. But that's where I've been coaching a lot of people, you know, on the side and what I hope to do after school, is really sort of dive into this, this space of sort of clarifying that we're, we're dealing with an industry that has no barrier to entry.

Mattie O'Reilly: So if a brain surgeon and account and a plumber and a restaurantour all go to the bank, all four of those people could open a restaurant. But the restaurantour, I couldn't do any of those other professions. And that's where, you know, I, it's a portion of the consulting company I'm in, is to really just minimize and basically reduce the failure rate in restaurants. Part of it is really getting in touch with the lenders, the landlords, the investors before they jump into something that they don't really get all the data and the facts. Those are a few examples I've worked on with my, a couple of my current bankers are, they basically confidentially would show me a business plan and I said, well, where are you going to say yes to this? And they were like, well, we like it. They have, they're fully funded, they have this chef and I'll just either, you know, if 50 lines on a on a pro forma that I can just say, well you know, they're, they're trying to make the bottom line look pretty to get the investor, but it's not accurate.

Mattie O'Reilly: Like, they're just letting anybody into this, into this realm without really anything other than the pile of money that someone has in the bank, or the group of investors that's behind it. Like there's really no one's stopping people from doing it. So it's contributing to the failure rates. It contributes to the stats that make this seem like a challenging industry. And if you back all of that out, I don't think it's any more challenging than it would be, but it really contributes to why who gets along and why you know it. It's really just, I'd say it's skewed and maybe flawed in a way where there's no education.

Ryan Tansom: I think what is interesting too is that which you bring up a ton of really valid points and I will also resist going down a rabbit hole here. But I think it's also because bankers are pushing forloans because they need to make their commissions and they need to make, they've been begging for stuff on low interest rates for the last 10 plus years.

Mattie O'Reilly: And they think because most bankers are just salespeople, you know, then there's, you know, there's, there's definitely a selection of bankers that are our financiers and or entrepreneurs and get it. And so I'm not generalizing too much here, but is they also… A lot of the loans is because the banker has to understand what you're doing and under, in restaurants are very tangible. It's like, oh, I get it. I go to restaurants a lot. Sure. Versus like, you know, a bank, you're trying to approve a loan that they just have, have a business model of making widgets. I don't really know where, like there's a bunch of banking problems right now and very, very viable, uh, online companies that have been producing ridiculous amounts of cash flow for years. But the bankers go, I don't really get it. Like, so then they can't get the loans. But this stuff have a very, very valuable business too. I think it's an interesting, I never really thought about it that way. I didn't know it was that easy to, for them to just put a up restaurant.

Mattie O'Reilly: Yeah, you could, uh, not much barrier to entry. I mean, you have to have a clean, you know, record to get a liquor license, you have to be able to fill out a pretty lengthy, you know, liquor license application and other than that, you know, you could basically pay an attorney to get you through a few hoops, goals, hoops there. But it's, it's a relatively easy compared to other professions. Like I said, if I, if I wanted to be a carpenter, I can't, I can't just put a sign in my garage. You know, it's like there has to be some skill there. And there's some, you know, an education piece and there, there are, you know, there's a school to go to, to get it. There are a lot of professions that basically you just need a certificate. You'd probably need more education to be a restaurant broker than you do to own a restaurant. Like actual classes you have to get, you have to pass your real estate, exam and you, I mean there's, there isn't one of those to be, to do what I do for a living. So I think once again to sort of get to the sort of, the root of the problem, at least from a consulting side, cause I've got a good approach to this too. It's, it's a diversified my company and I'm pretty cool way of, so I know lots of different segments of the industry and lots of different, I didn't just get, well…

Ryan Tansom: Let's just flip this for the listeners Mattie, sorry to interrupt you, let's, let's go. Yeah, no problem. Just give him a, give him an overview of, so when you started 16 years ago, what is the business that you built? And like what was your model towards restaurants and then how have you kind of taken that and like how has that evolved? And before you know, or somewhere in the mix there is, you know, what was your, how was your approach different? Like, so when you went off on your own and you said, okay, cause I know you've got a very specific approach and how you look at all this stuff. But maybe just start with, okay, here's kind of the highlights of what I've done over the last 16 years.

Mattie O'Reilly: Sure. Yeah. My first first place was a little cafe downtown, Excelsior of the city of Excelsior. Really quaint, cool town right off of Lake Minnetonka. And uh, it was an existing business that I bought and it was a kind of a coffee shop, like wine bar hybrid and ah, they were the only game in town. It was there for six years before I bought it. Had two different owners within those six years. And I, analyzing the business outside looking in. I noticed that two chain coffee shops opened up within, one within blocks of this place and the other one within a mile of the place. So I saw this, this, I call it a trend at the time it was just this Starbucks, Don Brothers, Caribou coffee just popping up left and right. They were kind of over saturating this market, so it's independent coffee shop that was super vibrant and reliant… And the town was basically reliant on this one place. Their sales were just cut in half and it was like once you are, you're open for three years and then the heavy hitter competition comes in two blocks away, basically takes half your volume. How do you, how do you react?

Mattie O'Reilly: Like, how do you get, at what some point, how do you get adaptive once you have a business plan and a strategy and things are going well and a disruption like that for a lot of operators, whether you're new to the business or not is can be really challenging. So coming in from the outside, I approached that one with a re-brand and it was, the place was, you know, arguably in decline at that point too. So the price to me, which ended up being more or less my, my game plan moving forward was to be really conscious of spending up front too. I think a lot of people get in over their head with a lot of debt that they can't handle on their high hopes of sales and revenues that don't ever materialize. So I think that's all come back to that. So with this place we basically just affordably and ah, re-branded to give it sort of this new life.

Mattie O'Reilly: And we switched the model from counter service to table service. And at the time, you know, you had this a very different equation for minimum wage. Uh, what it was at the time was, you know, it was when I bought that in 2004 I think it was less than $5 an hour to be a server. Today it's, you know, it's at nines and it's about to be 15 in Minneapolis in the next three years. So with the Ma and..but a Barista at the time was making 9, 10, $11 an hour. So I'm like, well let's look at this. If we're going to, I could reduce Labor by switching the concept from counter service to tables shift. Not only am I paying people to be on the floor, but I'm paying them half as much table service should and could generate more of sales per guests than a coffee shop.

Mattie O'Reilly: So I'm basically increasing sales and decreasing labor by making this one switch. So we basically just kind of uplifted the food statement there, dropped in table service instead of counter service. We never really lost the coffee shop. People kept coming in there for coffee, but we, if they wanted it to go that we just kept doing it to go, but didn't really, but I'm paying people at this 0.5 15 an hour, but they're selling four to eight times as much as what they used to because they're on the floor, you know, selling drinks and an extra glass of wine and desserts and you know, we were, we're able to elevate the price points because it was made to order food instead of food sitting in a case. So we basically just kind of, and that was more or less, that decision was free. It was the same space, the same tables and chairs, the same kitchen.

Mattie O'Reilly: And the way we used it basically increased sales and decreased labor. And that was just the out of the gate it was just, I wouldn't say out of the gate it was busy, but over the course of time, the structure that we created there was, was just more viable than battling with the competition that had a better name recognition, buying power. You can't compete with someone at you know, dollar for dollar with Starbucks! You can't. And you know they're now maybe this third wave coffee movement. Like you've got a chance here with a different audience in the way, but back in 2004 you, you, you're almost hopeless in this situation to sort of compete with these brands like it. So basically transitioning in the concept and being creative in the use of the space and how it's served that community and just getting that alignment, that conceptual alignment right was really kind of the thoughtful approach.

Mattie O'Reilly: But once again, these, these moves are free like they don't want, it didn't cost me a dime to make that switch. It was basically just realigning this, the four walls of this space with how it, it's served food. People are going to come in there, they're going to eat and drink. That's pretty basic. How are they going to get the food? You know, the structure of how I paid people, the servers were happy cause they used to make 10 bucks an hour and they'd make $20 in tips and now they make five bucks an hour, but they'd make $100 in tips and there – so they're, you know, on a shift. So they're, it's kind of this win win situations. So it's, so that was easy. We were able to, you know, over the course of 12 years almost, you know, quadruple the sales, no more than quadrupled the sales that were there before just from this, this, this switch and the commitment to that switch.

Mattie O'Reilly: So it was, it was a, it was good for the town. It was very good for the four walls of that business and the rent structure, therent structure that was originally created was sort of based off of this coffee shop volume, not this sort of cafe wine bar, live music. You know, we had the register ringing from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM so if being flat rate rent, so it was the, the rent percentage was so healthy. And once you can sort of identify and pinpoint those opportunities of like if my rent is fixed and I'm paying it, you know, it's not a variable, you know, rent rate I complete with, with, with other bars and restaurants. Yeah, I've got a bunch of different structures in place and I've, I've done a lot of them where, they were uh, percentage rent was built into the equation or a combination of, with a percentage. And then I had one, in one case it was a, if I hit a certain sales threshold, I paid a certain percentage over that because everyone knew that if we got to that point in sales, we, we, we, we're all winning. We were all succeeding. So it was kind of, kind of tying the landlord and the, and the broker on that deal into the success of the place was once it hit a certain threshold of sales, a percentage hit on top of that, which still kept a really healthy and was that sort of the number that the landlord Lord wanted to get in the first place. I entered into that deal with this, this deal might not be economical for us, but if I get to this certain amount of sales, you'll get your number and I'll be making mine. So it was to be creative to at least approach those in a bunch of different ways. So a lot of times these flat rent, you know, fixed rents really work for businesses that are thriving. And then, uh, I've been a part of a few and the where that kind of pushed the limits of, you know, being healthy for everybody and that's, you know, you always kind of want that win, win.

Ryan Tansom: Cool. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So let's give it, give us the framework of, okay, so over, over the 16 years, like what was your, like how many could you mean you were in flipping restaurants and also doing a lot of other stuff, right. And like obviously the tactics you learn like that cause I want to dive into some more of those, that stuff. But what overall, like what's the, what's the kind of the, the big picture of what it is, how many restaurants, what was the overall strategy and how did you go from that first cafe and then what was the, like what were you striving for and then how did, what were the big milestones?

Mattie O'Reilly: Yeah. So I, after the first couple of years I cut, you know, I was, things were going well and I just had this picture like I'm like I've worked for people that grew sort of this methodical growth was always a sort of in the back of my mind of like when the timing's right, or if the right deal comes along. So I'll, I'll touch on that for a little bit and hopefully come back to it too. I'll also clearly say right now that there is, there are just about the same number of available second generation restaurants every year since I started working for myself. There are never any more or any less available. So, and I'm talking about things for sale, things that are empty, just waiting for someone to sign a lease. Things that have gone under, let's just say the volatility of the industry leaves a very static amount of available inventory of second generation restaurants.

Mattie O'Reilly: And when I say second generation, someone went in before me in this. I'll get to my ultimate plan and message here. Someone went in before me and spent all the money basically. To build out a restaurant that was never a restaurant before, is the investment. Like there you can't do it. Yeah. So if you've taken an office space and turning it into a restaurant, the costs that go into that, they're astronomical in my mind and then people do it and they still do it. I I'd argue that once someone has spent that money on the life-cycle of a restaurant kind of runs its course and, or if someone just changes their mind and they don't want to do this anymore, the available inventory of second generation restaurants has as yet to change in my career working for myself. So if I can count on that, I'm not, I'm in no hurry or panic to go, to jump into a project because even if I was looking to grow, I can count on the fact that there will be an empty space sitting there that's going to be a great value.

Mattie O'Reilly: So that's my, my pet peeve in the restaurant business is it basically goes against most principles of simple business, which are just the buy low and sell high. Nobody does that and it's really strange. It's like you almost have to start high to make your mark and then just literally cross your fingers that you've made the right choice as opposed to my approach, which was get, um, taking over these places for $0. They literally outfitted with kitchen equipment, furniture. Like I'd go into these places and basically just realign the concept under contemporary standards and, or the needs of that neighborhood that basically diversify the concept from everything else. So no money.

Ryan Tansom: I'm like, I'm so intrigued because

Speaker 3: it's so easy, but I don't see a lot of people doing this. And it's, I wouldn't recommend someone who's never, who didn't have experience like me. Okay. But these opportunities exist and it's really, it's helped me.

Ryan Tansom: Let's go, let's go into like, oh, I'm so, so social curious. So like, okay, like you're, you're looking at it. Let's take, take, take it back to, all right. You're, you're, uh, you're going to try and find a new place. What is the, like the cities, the demographics, the business, like what is the, to zero in to figure out where you want to find the empty space and then what's your train of thought and then I'm so curious and how you're buying these companies for zero down and then what you're doing. Like how, like what is kind of the sequence of events?

Mattie O'Reilly: Yeah, so usually, you know, you kind of, I look at emerging neighborhoods first and I think that's, you know, I kind of, I don't, I've been offered, okay. Dozens of places in the north loop and lower town Saint Paul and Linen hills. And it's, it's, when I look at that, I kind of, I see a lesser opportunity of making a huge difference in a neighborhood. I'm basically adding to a strong mix of things. I'm not afraid to compete and I'm not afraid of finding points of differentiation in these neighborhoods. But the Excelsior, when I moved into Excelsior, there were four restaurants total on Water Street. Now there are, I think there are 12. You know, so when I moved on to whatever, when I opened Republic in 2011 on Seven Corners, I would consider this neighborhood. So it'd be the, uh, survived the, basically the effects of like the 35 w bridge collapsed, the Metrodome, you know. Nothing happening on that site for so long that this corner back in the day was the super vibrant corner. Like I think in the eighties, nineties. And then up until basically the Timber Wolves and the Gophers and everyone started, everyone started playing, the Twins started playing it to different stadiums. This corner was hot! Cause there were 200 dates a year that the Metrodome was being used and we're blocks away. So when I, when I entered into that deal, and Republican was the last year of the Metrodome and then it was demolished and there was nothing for five years. So I'm like, I'm looking at this as an opportunity to realign the concept in within the four walls of that space with the people who are, are already parking their cars, who are already sort of occupying that neighborhood. So I, I took a bar that was called Sergeant Preston's, which it was very successful and it was there for 38 years. It was in decline when I got it. It was, I think I put ahem 50,000 bucks into it from day one. I open it three weeks after we closed on the deal and we've quadrupled the sales there because we, we weren't aligning with the sports.

Mattie O'Reilly: We took out all the televisions, we approached it with like we're a block away from the Grad school side of the U of M' so we've got a smart person. We are a little bit ahead of the craft beer, crave, you know, craze in Minnesota. And then we're surrounded by a six theaters that between Wednesday, Thursdays, Friday, Saturday, and sometimes Sunday are filled with people who are paying to go to the theater. So that we're looking at a food first craft beer thing to sort of tie the brand directly, tie the brand into what's happening on the neighborhood that wasn't reliant on the stadium back in the day. If I would open that place in 1985 I would have opened a sports bar there because it made sense. If you, you kind of watched this thing run its course, but you sort of just once again the logically step back say, okay, what? What did it used to be? What you know, what, why was it like that? Identifying the audience and then just basically I use the same, same tables and chairs, the same bar, the same taps, the same kitchen equipment and literally almost within the year quadrupled the sales at that location because, and it was basically just aligning this concept with the people who have already parked their car and or live around there. There weren't, there was no, there were no undergraduate students. Within a mile of there. But this sort of craft beer, I could sort of see the early signs of it catching on. There are a couple of other models and town than I was a big fan of. And I'm like, this, this neighborhood sort of needs something like this. This is the audience that's there. So to use that as the example, that was eight years ago, and like I said, the initial investment there was 50,000.

Ryan Tansom: How are you going in there to like an owner and like I'm curious, I'm like, Ooh, when you're, like some of the negotiations that you had, sounds like what you're doing with the rent and stuff like that. A lot of creative deal structuring is probably stuff that you've picked up over the years. Yup. So what it like what would the terms, conditions, how were you doing it? And I'm like, Whoa, like what were the negotiations like?

Mattie O'Reilly: That one was, uh, it was, it went pretty well. It was on the market. So at once we know what's available. It was on the market for a long time, which actually I think gives thebuyer a little advantage and some leverage. We kind of know once you put something on the market, you sort of know, you probably heard this story too. It's just if already, you know, check your checking out as you know, you're not gonna have it anymore. But the longer that goes, I think the better opportunity there is. And we also had the support of the landlord too, so he, he, uh, sorta helped us negotiate the deal, but it was a seller finance deal at the end of the day, so it kept it super, not a whole lot down.

Mattie O'Reilly: Um, and like I said, we sort of saw the opportunity of like, if we can build sales, which happened, um, I wouldn't say effortlessly, but we did. We got a ton of press, we had a lot of strong relationships and really just made the right moves there to build, you know, sales and get that momentum. And on the best of both worlds. Thatlocation too. It's uh, it's uh, you know, it's a big facility on, near a college campus, on a pretty busy corner and it has this humongous patio. So I thought that was a huge opportunity there where you have people around from September 1st and June 1st because the school and then you also have this draw of this less of the seasonal fluctuation on a college campus because you've got this massive patio. So you've got to draw in the summer when no one's around.

Mattie O'Reilly: So I thought I saw this year round, the sort of sales model without the seasonal fluctuations of like a college. Most college bars are busy between September and May. And then most places like on a lake out in Excelsior busy, you know, in the summer when people are around. So without having to ride out those cash flow, you know, variances, this one was a pretty cool year round opportunity, which, which really gave it some legs on the room, you know.

Ryan Tansom: So you did the seller financing, but like when, when restaurants are are on the market of what kind of multiples and what are the typical valuations like?

Mattie O'Reilly: Yeah, those, it's low compared to other businesses. I think the, the going rate right now is about two and a half times cash flow, which is, it's low. I think cause versus like a service based thing or a tech, you know, it's, it's uh, but there, once again it kind of comes back to the point too. I haven't seen a lot of super desirable and profitable restaurants in, in the inventory available. Like it's a lot of people that are not doing well, they want out and or they might be failing and not really providing accurate numbers. So it's that I think too has been at least people, you know, some people think, I'm think I'm crazy when I sell things at their peak. It's, it's relatively easy because there aren't a lot of models out there that are like in tip top shape performing year after year that could sort of sustain a new owner in any capacity. Because it's, once again, there just, there's not a lot of inventory comparables at, at available at the time. So it's, I know there's going to be a bunch of them every year to look at. I know that I, if I go in with a lot of logic and data and analysis of just like the neighborhood and what's missing in that neighborhood, I can make an impact.

Mattie O'Reilly: If I pick an emerging neighborhood, you're almost the hero instead of just being another part of the mix. You could really enhance, you could more or less so you could help neighborhoods by being better and sort of setting the bar somewhere that everyone sorta takes, takes a look. And you know, if I, for Republic as using that as the example, it's visible and you know, if, if I quadrupled the sales there, there's no doubt that, you know, I made an impact on the neighborhood. But I don't know if I was, um, I wasn't trying to step on toes or anything, but those are people that were going somewhere else. It wasn't all new people driving way out of their way to come there. These are the same people on the neighborhood that we're using and going to the other options there. So if I didn't create some sort of statement there of like this is, this is, you know, the bar and this is where it should be.

Mattie O'Reilly: I don't think in any way it really hurt. Everyone else around me seems to be doing just fine if not better. And I created some visibility to it wouldn't, when we go on a wait, it's people spill into other places, you know? So I think there's really, it's that all all ships rise sort of mentality where I was looking for points of differentiation. So the one thing I couldn't have predicted with that place is that, you know, it's a beer bar, a craft beer bar on a college campus, but 65% of our sales are food, which is just, I, I wouldn't have been able to guess. It's usually quite a bit lower than that. And it's uh, I'm proud of that and it just means that we put this sort of food first message into this place though, was kind of this notorious drinking establishment before. And the food was the opportunity. If more people come here and eat food, they're only going to drink that much more beer. So it's, it was, it was a lot of the beer bar model. Yeah.

Ryan Tansom: Yeah. I usually, I usually drink and then the food comes after I need it.

Mattie O'Reilly: Thank God they have food. Laughter..

Mattie O'Reilly: So, that's a good one. It's a visible one too. And it's,

Ryan Tansom: I used to go there, man, that was a right by our old office. I used to get my sour beer there. It's um, Duchess?

Mattie O'Reilly: Yeah, it's Duchess, yeah, it's a great Belgium beer.

Ryan Tansom: You turned me on to that. I love it. So I'm curious, man, and I'm assuming because I had a lot of, I've, a lot of people are familiar with the broker websites and you know, I'm assuming these things are like going for a few hundred grand or something like that. And so you're going there doing some seller financing. Then when you're, when you said that, you know, that you ended up selling them on the peak. And I don't know if you want to explain how many transactions you've done, but I'm assuming if you maybe give some color on, okay, so if you bought it for whatever the multiple was two and a half, but you know, you're not putting any money down, so it's finally on the cash flow and your growth is financing the purchase. So then you're selling it on the high, is it a bigger multiple? And then are your terms and conditions different as well? So you're getting more cash up front and like explained kind of the, the profitability and the return on the investment that you're getting.

Mattie O'Reilly: For sure. They've all been a little unique. Um, I have taken just er, you know, I've sold a seven, seven places now, so, but um, the extremes of all of those were, you know yeah, do once again with the, with the approach of at least buying low selling high, which is, but when I say, when I say sell high to it's, it's not, there are three of those deals that I, that I financed because I was so confident the brand would keep performing. So I do, you know, I did five year financing on two of them and it, I feel so good about that. I don't, I hesitate because of the, the foundation I created in the brand, you know what, yeah, points of my life, like when each of my kids was born when I started school is, is if I had a revenue stream coming in from somewhere else and I could kind of identify these points of these things hitting a curve. It's, you know, I've been able to want the one, I sold one place for almost 40 times more than I paid. So that, that was called, I called. They're not always like that. I've had, you know, dump and within a year sold a place for, you know, 14 I own it for 14 months. It was, you know, easily six figures plus financing back to me. So it depends on how long I owned it versus what I acquired it for. Some of them were just incredibly good deals that I just couldn't say no to. And then a few of them were, you know, this, uh, basically just, just sign a lease. And it's yours, you know, they were, they were just empty. So I basically went in and quote of paint, new menu staff it. And so it's really hard. I did put some, I contributed some, you know, capital and startup into, into some of these projects.

Mattie O'Reilly: So, but as far as the multiples, I'm not always, you know, concerned about that being the strict formula as it is really good time. Yeah. So they've all been, they've all been a little bit different on paper and they, like I said, I've got some extremes in there that were, you know, I'd see all within my favor, but it's, it's uh, either it dependent, it depends on who the buyer was. Um, it really depends on the, you know, their situation and what they were looking for out of the deal. So I think it's, I, I always go into those with an open mind about I'm here, this is what I've done, this is the history of this place and this will continue to succeed and I'm willing to go to bat for you on that. Where I'm still friends with everyone. I sold a restaurant too, so, and I still stay in touch.

Mattie O'Reilly: I promise them if you have anything up, if you have calls, if you have something come up, like I'm a phone call away because I need and want you to succeed because this is still part of what I created and what I was a part of it. I don't need to cling onto it and so I'm super old and can't handle it anymore because I have made a living off of people waiting too long to sell restaurants. Like everything I've ever bought at some other point in time was worth way more than I paid. And everything I've looked at that I passed on at still at some other point in time had a value that was way higher than what they put it on the market before. So that's, that's the, just the eyeopener for me is the pride and the ego and the factors of just like I, I've been wanting to do since I was a teenager.

Mattie O'Reilly: It's almost irrelevant if you're using logic and just the business and ethics of just like, okay I could identify a owner occupant, you know, and sort of like an owner operator situation. They think they're getting a good deal and getting a good deal because of its performance and I'm staying on board to make sure that it continues to succeed. So there's a no lose situation in here unless something drastic happens which it might or it could, but it hasn't happened to me because of the thoughtfulness I put into who I'm selling it to. So that's another part of it too where they're just like anybody, anyone will take a check from anyone just to get out 'cause they're so frustrated. My part of the other arm of this consulting thing that I'm working on after school is done is to really help people just enter into this process of like you, you're sitting on something that's probably like how you, what you said, it's more valuable than you think and I can get you there.

Mattie O'Reilly: Like I, I can have you take the steps. It's not going to happen overnight, but I could coach you in the direction of like, all right, let's get this thing on the rails and get it back into, you know, sort of a profitable nature to give you the opportunity to maximize if you really want out it, you just, you can't just put it on the market, you're not prepared. It's, it's someone like me would come along and just, you know, not intentionally, but I would just come along at the right time where I waited long enough to get the best deal.

Ryan Tansom: It's like the same thing with the house, right? I mean, and that's where there's so much, um, parallels between housing and businesses, right? We're like, you're, the whole point of an inspection is you don't want to pay for something that's broken, right?

Mattie O'Reilly: Right.

Ryan Tansom: If it's all fixed up, you will pay more. And so there is an equal exchange of value. I think there's a ton of, you know, bruised egos and such is when there's, you know, there's, there's false notions of what and false expectations of what people should actually get for what they have.

Mattie O'Reilly: Right. And a lot of people get in over their head. They want their money back. And that one, that one's, I put 500 grand into this place. Well you show zero profit and you have a bunch of tables and chairs that are, you know, a dime on the dollar. So it's, it's, those are tough conversations and I usually try to avoid them, but you have no idea how many situations I've been. I've walked through, ahem, an available business and the person selling it is, it is, is, wants to retire with this. They managed it for 10, 20, 30, 40 years sometimes and they're looking for the top dollar and they've let it go. And it's like you just have to be able to identify that point in time where you, you actually have something tangibly, you know, backed by numbers and data to sell. And that's, that's what, uh, at least the promise I made to myself is to just not cling on too long. It was like one of my favorite athletes, Minnesota Viking, Robert Smith, when he retired, after he led the league in rushing and want to pro ball, you know, he was a pro bowl. Everyone's like, why, why, why you're in the peak of your career. It was the most brilliant thing I've ever seen. It was, he was healthy and he left on a high note and he, and he spun his career and the other, you know, into other things where it's like that athlete that stays the five years too long is just like, they, their tendency to get hurt or they're, or they're,

Ryan Tansom: They're a joke!

Mattie O'Reilly: I guess. Well, yeah, I'm uh, didn't want to, I wanted to be, tried to be a little more diplomatic, but,

Ryan Tansom: All I can think about is Favre, right, where he's like doing razor commercials and playing for his mortal enemy, the Vikings, right.

Mattie O'Reilly: Right, It was just like, it was, it was one of those things that stuck out to me is just like, you know what, it's, it's a brilliant approach. Like it just, he's, uh, he's at the top of his game. Let's let everybody remember what that was. And for me, I always use that, and I'm not all that even into sports, but I just remember that as this, as this almost like a case study of like what to do to pivot, to have options. And that's kind of this, uh, you know, people always ask me why I've opened 11 businesses in 16 years for myself. Why am I getting my MBA right now? It's because I see the next 10 years looking differently than my previous 10. I don't want to do what I do for the rest of my life. I don't want to be 80 years old and sitting in one of my places trying to, you know, figure out how that's going to be my retirement plan for my family.

Mattie O'Reilly: Like I promised myself that I would, I wouldn't overstay my welcome when it came down to relevancy and, and just my, my time, you know, in this, in this industry, I mean, it same goes for musicians. You know, people make fun of the Rolling Stones of continuing to tour and stuff, but it's like they're, I mean they're, they actually, I wouldn't use them as the example. They're still…

Ryan Tansom: I saw Adam Sandler's coming to one of the small casinos. so I'm like, there you go buddy.

Mattie O'Reilly: No be really thoughtful and humble and conscious of like there's this, I think there's a window of time for me personally to do this. And then another, another thing, I guess I had a lot of people don't know and I appreciate the time to be able to talk about it, is this, uh, the, the concepts I create too are, they're, uh, they're very reactive to the space that I see.

Mattie O'Reilly: So I never really build a model out until I walked through an available space. Why I don't design something that I have any personal attachment to. I am actually just building out the model reactively to the needs of the neighborhood or community or street. So if you can be that thoughtful, but it's not like I'm, I've been sitting on our craft beer burger bar model since I was a teenager saying, this is my lifelong dream. I just need a space and I'm on a rocket. I don't care who my neighbors are. I don't care what town it's in, I don't care if anyone is ready for it. Those are when that, that situation, you are setting yourself up to have your dream get crushed. When I walk into a space, I'm just like, Hey, I don't even know what it's going to be. I just want to see it and I want to see the condition of things and I want to see what kitchen equipment's there. So I know how to draft the first menu. When I start drafting, you know, sketching out the logos and conceptual design, I don't know what it's going to be until I walked through the space. And I think that reactive approach gives me an advantage because I, this is an odd, none of these restaurants were like a lifelong dream of mine. They were just what I would consider a really good alignment for that neighborhood and what was missing from that neighborhood. So if you could make points of differentiation like that, you, you've got an advantage because you're not, you're not going to get compared, like Bar Brigade as my little French tavern in Saint Paul, there's nothing like it around me. There's no French restaurant within three miles of that place. So there's no fear comparison. It was like I walked in, I'm like, man, there's an Italian place across the street, there's a Deli, there's a burger bar, there's a pizza place.

Mattie O'Reilly: Uh, you know, there's all these things. I'm like, well, here's what they're missing. And that's why, that's why people love it. And that's why people go, it's, it's, there's, there's no point of comparison anyone can make to what Wild Boar Borgen-brown should cost or tastes like. Like it's, we drafted a menu around being unique and its, so I utilize the really good use of space and a lot, most of the same furniture, the same exact kitchen equipment. And we changed a couple of those surfaces, um, tile and wallpaper and paint and, and, uh, but, uh, that whole project that I put $25,000 into it. So it was, you know, and, and, uh, increase those sales.

Ryan Tansom: How do you determine, Mattie, when it's time. So how do you determine when it's time, when it, when his time and then explain your process of selling and how you go about doing it.

Mattie O'Reilly: Yeah, for me though too, er selfishly, I'll, I'll freely admit that there, you know, I, I, when my first kid was born, I was just like, I just want to work less. And I really see this one opportunity of being an amazing dad as I'm literally going to get one chance at this. I had already opened five businesses by that time. So I'm like, Hey, this pace, I could open 50 businesses in my life, but I have this one shot of being a great Dad, though at every, I have two kids. And at each point that they were born, or as soon thereafter I was like, well, I wanna, I want to have more time and more flexibility. So I would basically just try to identify which place of mine was good, was good timing for me to move on from. And it was, so, it was almost react that was almost reactive to it.

Mattie O'Reilly: None of them were ever hit the market not being profitable, not being queued up for a new operator to come in and, and make some adaptive changes that help their success. They're all, all the places that I've sold are still open. There's still thriving, if not busier than when I own them. And I'm still friends with them all. So it's like, we have a great exit plan when it comes down to this too, is just that alignment of ownership. And when I, when I got up to seven restaurants this year, this last year, it's, it's, uh, you know, I don't, I don't have any business partners. I don't have any investors. So it's also unique in this business to sort of be ah, you know, Han Solo on this deal. So I was like, uh, it's, uh, it's, uh, it gets overwhelming that, you know, things change beyond my control.

Mattie O'Reilly: Like this labor market we're in right now is, is, has a set of challenges for my industry that there is a shortage of cooks and available, um, help. And, uh, and the places I just sold were all seasonal, I guess it was, uh, my wife is a professor. My kids are nine and six, so they have summers off. So I had four extremely summer heavy seasonal businesses that I was just like, well, you know what, to be the best dad I can be, I need summers off more or less. So I would like if that's, so when we identified the buyer for, um, that those businesses, it was, it was actually just more that they're really cool, you know, took things that were either empty or, um, needed, needed new alignment in a concept or a new operator. A couple of them were food trucks, which has been a great experience. Those were nothing but fun, profitable, you know, agree. I owned three food trucks for, uh, five years and sort of, and, but they're all so summer reliant. And so I, I can't, I can't say anything other than selfishly that they were, I have, you know, three other businesses that are doing great and, and uh, and I've got a licensing agreement at the airport that really is er, with Republic that just, you know, it's pretty hands off, but it's a nine year lease out there and I look at the, kinda like the bigger picture of like, Hey, I'm getting my MBA and finishing in May. I've got a sweet family that I love and I've got tons of things I could do next if I had a little more head-space and a little more time. So the idea that I could sell something, spin it into another business or two is always the change. You know, change being the constant for me always sort of invigorated my entrepreneurial spirit and just got me motivated to see what else is out there.

Ryan Tansom: Did you get sucked into the real estate in these deals?

Mattie O'Reilly: It's the one, I wouldn't even call it a regret, but if I'd say what I know now versus what I, how I would've approached it differently is I would have really made ah, an attempt to lease two of the two of the buildings. I probably would have made a run at purchasing them. There was also this point in my life too that with the idea of me being a landlord versus me being a creative force was, it was, it was somewhat limiting at this kind of pivotal point in my life. Like if I would have started down that road pre kid, I probably would've, I would've jumped on it. It would have been fine. I would've been, I would've been happy with that decision. There are also just days of my life, you know, before I had kids that are, you know, I worked a lot at like a lot of entrepreneurs do and a lot of restaurant people do and now I kind of, I don't want to brag about it, but I have a structure.

Mattie O'Reilly: I'm not, I've clarified the difference between ownership and employment. I don't manage anything for myself. I don't work, I'm not overworked. I take a pretty, you know, limited day side, you know, weekday schedule. I basically work, you know, 10 to three Monday through Friday for myself and you know, focus on the things that I need to focus on and I'm, I'm employing and empowering people to who are, you know, ready to learn and really want to, it was me 20 years ago, basically his who I'm, who I'm helping in a really positive culture and environment, sort of sharing, you know, my experience with them from a pretty passive way on the floor. So I, I, uh, I don't get roped into too many shifts anymore unless it's an extreme. I had a few days last summer that I, with the seven businesses up and running and all of them being bands and food truck dates and they're like, who can work today? It's like, you know, just kind of panic.

Mattie O'Reilly: You sort of like, I'll do it. And then my wife would laugh. She was like, you're, you're bartending where? Like, I can't, oh, it was, it was pretty, it was pretty fun. But it was, it was fun to jump back into. And it was like, almost like nature. I'd done, I had done every position in the restaurant business or working for myself and waited tables and bartended in bus tables and wash dishes and managed, and, you know, it's, I'd been a, I'm not a big dude, but I'd been a bouncer and a host I like. So it's like,

Ryan Tansom: A bouncer at your own place. Have you ever done that?

Mattie O'Reilly: No. Oh. And maybe kind of ones, one Zombie pub crawl on seven corners. I did have to, we did have to be there and man, it was crazy. And it was uh, a maybe the busiest single day I've ever had. Republic was one of those days. We basically, you know, I turned into a glorified security because of just, it's just madness and chaos. So you kinda just keep those instincts kick right back in some sort of preventative, you know, door control. So, but yeah, it's uh, it's, uh, it's been a great, it's been a great run.

Ryan Tansom: Mattie, describe to the audience what you're doing now and what's the best way to get in touch with ya?

Mattie O'Reilly: So right now I, for my final project for the MBA as well as for my own personal benefit. So I've done about 10 years worth of sort of pro bono consulting. I love helping other people and it's, and it's like I was doing it pro bono because then I didn't really want to launch that business while I was building my own businesses. Cause I'd be basically be helping my competition. And I thought I gave a real strange perception outside looking in is why this guy helped me. But I'm, I'm overly inspired by other people's stories. So my final project for the MBA as well as what I hope to launch at some point this summer is this, um, coaching and consulting company. And it's ah, it's coming from a very good place. My mission is to reduce the failure rate in restaurants and I can do it. And it's ah, I've helped a lot of people. Basically, I've saved a lot of people from making huge mistakes. I could, uh, help a lot of investors not get into trouble. Some deals. I just getting a glimpse. There was a lot there. I'm working with, uh, a really cool data analytics, um, software startup out of Chicago that just launched a product on how they're going to, uh, basically give people the information that they should have at their fingertips. But I'd be an extra layer of that providing solutions to that information.

Mattie O'Reilly: So it's kind of three armed approach of just like, it's more or less, it's uh, it's kind of a, a really good natured, um, sort of snapshot of the sort of culmination of my experience in diverse sort of experience within the industry, but really leaning on this, um, data driven solution. You know, cause I think a lot of people just don't know their numbers once they have the numbers, they don't know what to do with them to make adaptive change. So I think I've, I've got a really sort of humble approach to helping people if I, if I were to do anything differently, I always thought I was going to be a teacher or a coach. And I think I just, it comes from the base where now I have this 24 years of knowledge. I've got this sort of foundation of this, um, this MBA experience, which has been nothing but positive and sort of the structure to how I'm going to spin it into the future is just, it's, uh, I'm, I'm really excited about it.

Mattie O'Reilly: It's a working on all the fine tuning and details and website, and that stuff, but it's not quite there. I want to finish strong, but with school and there were, so we're done in May and then I'd really just, uh, I'm, I'm not wanting to let the grass grow around my feet, if you know what I mean. So I'd seen some soon thereafter, the summer I'd be taking on accounts and it's, it, it's also very, very unique. I don't see a lot of people approaching restaurant consulting for the most part is a pretty front loaded, you know, someone help someone open and then they walk away when the doors open and these things fall apart almost instantly. Where mine is more of this really like just ongoing, affordable, approachable, kind of extra set of eyes on numbers and fluctuations within those numbers to help people make these adjustments before they become drastic.

Mattie O'Reilly: So I'm coming at it from a more of like I don't want you to give me a huge check to help you launch a place. I want you to give me a super small check every month so you don't go out of business. Cause I once again, if I go back to the mission, if I can prevent a handful of them from opening and people making mistakes, it helps my industry. If I can help a bunch of good people who are working hard that don't have a grasp on the data and how to use it to their advantage, I want, I want to get a hold of as many people like that as possible because those lists, those when your food cost goes up two points every month and you're not watching it, I want to help people pay attention and really provide the sound advice on how to get it back in line.

Mattie O'Reilly: So I'll be doing that. Um, and then, uh, this summer, the first summer in five years, we have like three or four camping trips with my family and just to get out, we're going to Banff and we're going to boulder and Bruce got, got new, a new tent and all this stuff that it's been really hard for me to do with all the, the seasonal operations that I had. So I'm just like, I'm staring at summer this year as a very different picture, like an actual break. So it's a kind of the luxury of my wife's job and my kids, you know, at the ages they are as is. We could really take advantage of this, um, those three months. So that's, uh, that's happening. And then, um, handful of projects have come my way. I'm sort of looking at them like pretty passively at the moment, but they're, you know, what to say, I'm done.

Mattie O'Reilly: I think that'd be almost foolish. You know, I love the three places I have Delicata Pizza, underrated, cool little neighborhood pizza joint in the Coalmine neighborhood. And then Barbara Gate is this little accessible French tavern in Macroland neighborhood. And then I've got that a Republic kind of just firing on all cylinders and then there's the airport, you know, model just helps, you know, support some of the, some of the things that are happening. And then, you know, it's just, I'll take on as many, uh, coaching and consulting accounts to summer is I can handle because I truly am inspired by just hearing other people's stories of their startups and their concepts. The, uh, a few consulting accounts I have right now are, uh, just are almost giving me the confidence that I am. I know I can help a lot more people other than just myself.

Mattie O'Reilly: And it's ah, it doesn't take a lot of time. It won't take a lot of their money for me to just, you know, get em, you know, from a potentially going under or getting frustrated where they make bad decisions. So it's, it's, uh, that's my goal and my hope is I can really make a difference on the industry as a whole. And I'm not talking about just Minnesota, like this data, this theater company too. They're looking a lot bigger than beyond just the state. It's a, with the access and, um, cloud based technology and sort of the, the, the era we're in right now. It's like, I see this is getting a snapshot of someone's business by the numbers first is, is pretty easy for me to just, you know, in a few minutes I can identify problems within that I can start to identify solutions too.

Mattie O'Reilly: So it's, it's, uh, I'm, I'm looking forward to just getting, getting in um, a few more businesses to be able to just provide advice and help. So, and that's, I guess the best way of getting a hold of me. Just hit me up on LinkedIn right now. And then from there I'll be able to communicate. Um, when the website launches the summer. I'm on how, I'm, how, I'm going to pivot that after.

Ryan Tansom: I'll have the links in the show notes too for the listeners.

Speaker 3: Yeah. That's awesome man.

Ryan Tansom: Thank you so much for coming on the show Mattie. I Had a blast man. This is awesome.

Speaker 3: Yes. No, my pleasure. Thanks for, thanks for inviting me. It's really fun to talk about some of this stuff and really liking your show it's, I've, I've listened to some episodes and it's, it's a helping people at least, you know, a frame, some things that they might not have thought of and just given a lot of good. Give it some context. Yes. Perfect. Thank you very much.

Ryan Tansom: Thanks for sticking in there. I hope you enjoyed the episode with Mattie. Uh, I dunno about you, but I definitely have thought about going out and starting a restaurant after listening to that episode and chatting with him. But that being said, if you are interested in the growth and exit planning accelerator, the 12 month program that I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast, reach out to [email protected]. Otherwise, go onto our website. There's a bunch of information about the accelerator on the website. And with that being said, I will see you next week.

Share This Article

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Related Articles

Go back to top