Leading Twin Cities restaurateur Matty O'Reilly is leveraging his 25 years of experience to offer restaurants a recipe to thrive with his new consulting company, Banner Year Advisors.
O'Reilly has opened more than 20 restaurants for himself (including Republic and Bar Brigade) and others, from a food truck to sports bars, a pizza place, a craft beer bar, a coffee shop, a wine bar and a live-music venue.
Not all succeeded, O'Reilly said, but that makes him a better consultant.
"Everything I learned was from when I screwed up," O'Reilly said. "How I pivoted, how I implemented change is why we're here today."
O'Reilly's co-founders in Banner Year are Jason Campana, a small-business and leadership coach and executive in a software-as-a-service company, and Joe Kandravi, a corporate hospitality sales executive. The three got to know each other over the last two years while completing the Executive MBA program at the University St. Thomas' Opus College of Business.
Banner Year uses a data-driven process, analyzing financial statements, point-of-sales information and organizational structure to create a menu of action items — conceptual, financial or digital — to help a restaurant operate more profitably or more efficiently, O'Reilly said.
The model emulates O'Reilly's approach to his operations, capitalizing on his innate skills in math to break down financials as well as his creativity in developing restaurant concepts, names, logos and menus. Applying his method informally to help other restaurants has earned O'Reilly the nickname "restaurant whisperer."
With 10 clients, Banner Year's co-founders have discussed hiring additional advisers.
"We have more work than we can handle at the moment with no sales initiatives, just based on my reputation and my ability to affordably help operators get things on a good track," O'Reilly said.
To prioritize Banner Year, which launched in September, O'Reilly had downsized his operations, going from seven restaurants to three.
Q: How do you differ from restaurant consultants?
A: There are more people in the space of helping people open than there are in helping people stay open. We are working with existing restaurants so we have data, we have financials and I can come up with clear decisions and goals for these companies to make. I know people that have dropped $50,000 on a consultant to help them open. Our annual rate is basically a third of that. We could prove that any dollar they spend with us they will find in savings or growth every month to justify our rate.
Q: What is your growth potential?
A: I think that we could handle growing quite large. If we got to 300 clients at our monthly recurring rate it gets super, super interesting. When you have zero overhead it gets pretty interesting. We could work from anywhere. With 99% of the clients and the work that we do, we don't have to be on site.
Q: Would Banner Year's approach work for other businesses?
A: Banner Year is industry agnostic. We're starting with the restaurant business because we feel that that industry needs the most help. There are more people who have never done it before or maybe people who worked as a chef or a manager but they've never done both. I help people make decisions on what they should be working on instead of defaulting to their strengths.
Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.