Life After Business

Buying and Selling Restaurants: How to Make a Profitable Business and Change an Industry

Have you ever thought about opening a restaurant? Most entrepreneurs can say yes. However, there are a lot of headaches and unseen layers to the hospitality industry that leads to a high failure rate. My guest is Matty O’Reilly and he has made a career of buying restaurants and revitalizing them. Matty is passionate about helping restaurants survive and decreasing the failure rate we see today. 

We discuss some of the reasons why restaurants fail and how Matty has been able to dodge that bullet. He has been buying, managing, and selling restaurants for sixteen years and learned every sector of the restaurant business. He is a smart business owner who really knows his industry inside and out. He is currently pursuing his MBA and has plans to launch a consulting service to entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry.

What you will learn:

  • Matty’s background in the restaurant business and ten years in management.
  • Why he chose to the hospitality industry for a career.
  • How banks are contributing to the failure rate of restaurants.
  • Matty’s first experience with his own restaurant and how he made it work.
  • Why it is better to purchase an existing restaurant.
  • Matty’s approach to revitalizing his restaurants.
  • What he looks for in new purchase and how he deals with the sellers.
  • How ego can work against a seller.
  • Why Matty is getting his MBA.
  • The benefits of a reactive business model.
  • How Matty decides if it is time to sell a business.
  • Why he never got into the real estate side of the industry.
  • What Matty is doing now and his plans for the future.


Early on in this episode, I make a couple of announcements. One is a book I will release with Jim Carlisle, called Ripcord How to Grow and Exit Your Company, that should be out soon. Also, I mention an accelerator program with GEXP Collaborative. If you are interested in the accelerator program, then you can reach out to me at We also have a page on the website with more information.

Links and Resources:

GEXP Collaborative
GEXP Accelerator Program
Matty O’Reilly on LinkedIn

About Matty:

Matty O’Reilly is an entrepreneur who has been working in the restaurant business for 16+ years. He worked his way up through every role in a restaurant and began buying his own restaurants in 2010.

He currently owns Delicata Pizza in St. Paul, Republic in Minneapolis, and Bar Brigade in St. Paul. He was also nominated for the Twin Cities Business Magazine 100 People to Know in 2019.

Matty has sold seven restaurants to date and hopes to launch a consulting firm for struggling restaurant owners. He is currently pursuing his MBA and looks forward to a new phase in his career.

Brought to you by Ryan Tansom of Life After Business