Brian O’Brien, 43, attended UNC Charlotte while working as a server at Morton’s: The Steakhouse. After earning a degree in business, O’Brien managed Morton’s restaurants in Charlotte, Miami, New Orleans and Washington D.C. for 12 years.
During his time as a manager, he noticed that he could get wine, food and beer delivered to the restaurant, but not liquor.
O’Brien realized he could improve the way restaurants operate so he opened ABC Delivery of NC. Since 2007, he has been delivering liquor, food and specialty items to restaurants, bars and country clubs in the Charlotte area.
We asked O’Brien a few questions about starting a business in Charlotte in the latest installment of the C5 Entrepreneur Series.
Why is Charlotte a good place to start a business?
There is a lot of business in Charlotte. There is an educated population who knows what they want and are willing to pay for a quality product or service, especially if it adds value to their life. In Charlotte, if you can provide a product or a service that makes someone’s day simpler, smarter, easier or more enjoyable, then there is a business or a consumer that will pay it.
— Adam Altman (@AdamAltmanLaw) September 30, 2015
My business is serving other businesses. I recognized an opportunity to provide a service that allows businesses to devote time and resources on managing other parts of their business. It has taken effort and a lot of hard work to get it where it is now.
Who has been your biggest influence?
My family. Growing up as number 9 of 10 kids, and seeing my mother’s work ethic after my Dad died; we all did what was necessary. There was a lot of sacrifice and hard work all around, but it was all about doing the right thing for the family or for one of the siblings. It was always the older ones looking after the younger ones. I didn’t realize how much learning and teaching about life was actually taking place. And we were competitive against each other. But we managed to have a lot of fun, too.
I learned from my brothers and sisters about work long before I ever got there. I heard the positives and negatives about going to college, serving in the military and working for someone else.
How do you begin each day?
At 5:30 a.m., check the computer and phone for delivery requests that could have happened overnight. Dictate the routes for the staff, grab bottle of water, Cliff Bars and on the road by 7 a.m.
What do you see in your future?
Expanding. Charlotte is experiencing such growth right now. I need more staff and another truck.
Where do you go in Charlotte when you need to chill?
From April until September, I play Gaelic football. During season, we go to Tyber Creek and Connolly’s. In my neighborhood, I go to Jack Beagles, Dog Bar and Cabo Fish Taco.
Photos: Vanessa Infanzon; Charlotte GAA