Joseph O’Reilly

Joseph is Southern born and was raised in Central Otago. He has a Bachelor Degree of Physical Education and also a diploma in teaching. Joseph’s work experience has been varied. He has been a PE teacher with more than 8 years’ experience. He started up his own event management and corporate training company in New Zealand called MotivAction in 1996 which he and his business partner owned for eight years before selling the business as a going concern. 

Joseph has also owned, operated, designed and overseen the building of a number of Bar/Restaurants over 20 years. His introduction to the Bar/Restaurant industry started in 1998 when he and two others purchased the iconic Cardrona Hotel on the Crown Range road near Wanaka. 

In 2001 Joseph presented a marketing proposal to Lion Breweries to open a southern style Cardrona bar in Auckland. After several discussions this proposition was successful and the decision was made to collaborate two iconic brands, Cardona and Speight’s – and the Cardrona Speight’s Ale House opened in July 2002.

Joseph was behind another successful marketing pitch in 2005 for a second Speight’s Ale House in Auckland the Albany Speight’s Ale house which opened in February 2005.

Also In 2007 Joseph and his then partner prepared a proposal to DB Breweries for two new contemporary bar concepts at the highly profiled Westfield shopping Centre development in Albany, on Auckland’s North Shore. Reservoir Bar and Bistro a Heineken Star Draught Bar, and the Premiere Lounge Bar, opened with stage two of the Albany Westfield Mall development in November 2007.

As a part of the original procurement of the Albany Toyota site and in order to meet with council planning requirements the adjoining American style café business had to be purchased. Approximately 18 months later in 2007 this café was stripped, refurbished and rebranded. The Cardona group opened their third Auckland bar – O’Reilly’s Irish Bar.

Joseph was hands on and involved in the implementation, design, planning and management of all of these outlet developments. His involvement included but not limited to:

  • Lease negotiation with the respective landlords

  • Dealing with councilors, builders, and planners, to ensure the resource and building consents, public health, and liquor licenses were approved

  • Budgetary planning and financial control in association with the  building contractor and architectural draftsman / project manager

  • Design concepts, venue layout and operational features in collaboration with the respective Breweries

  • Overseeing the startup of each operation including marketing the opening, systems implementation, recruiting and training staff and initiating contracts with all of the necessary trade suppliers


Once the establishment opened Joseph remained hands on overseeing the operating of the businesses. This role encompassed:

  • Leading and directing the work of direct reports, including food and beverage, front house and contracted staff       

  • Overseeing all facets of the operation, marketing, recruiting and training, customer service and implementing and monitoring financial budgets.

  • Leading from the front ensuring high personal and professional standards were always evident

  • Ensuring the efficient and effective operation of all sites within budgets, guidelines, policies and procedures

  • Protection of the assets of the business and the building, liaising with the landlord and or Body Corp representative

  • Marketing and promoting the business development

  • Ensuring maximum customer satisfaction

  • Managing the relationship between the pub and its customers, guests, employees, community and industry

  • Leading and managing a team, focusing on providing excellent customer service.

Over the 20 years Joseph’s on premise business partners and relative shareholdings in the respective outlets changed. However one thing remained constant and that is the business relationship and friendship between Joseph and Kevin Ross. Kevin was the builder responsible for every new pub development and refurbishment that Joseph has been involved over the 20 year period.