Meet Restaurant Real Estate Expert Gary Chou


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To his credit, Gary Chou has earned an impressive list of academic and professional achievements. But the path he followed to become a top commercial real estate broker is far from typical.

Chou graduated Summa Cum Laude from UCLA with a B.S. in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics. He was more than a year into dental school and a masters in oral biology when he realized the business side of a dental practice was a lot more appealing than the actual dentistry. He took a sabbatical from dental school and never went back. 

Instead, he landed a job at the national real estate brokerage firm Colliers International in 2012. Even as a newcomer to commercial real estate, it didn’t take him long to learn the ropes and prove that he could excel. He became a senior leader of the firm’s top retail brokerage team in Los Angeles. He also was one of five recipients of the company’s Next Gen Award, an honor earned by the firm’s top young brokers nationwide.

In 2015, he left Colliers to become one of the founders of Los Angeles-based Matthews Real Estate Investment Services, where he currently serves as SVP and senior director of the single-tenant net leased business. He and his team specialize in advisory consulting and the disposition and acquisition of single-tenant, net-leased properties nationwide. Chou has consistently ranked as a top broker with the firm for the past three years, and he also serves as the director of Matthews’ Restaurant Practice Group. 

“I do think that clients find my background and where I came from quite intriguing,” says Chou. He brings an intellectual and methodical approach to conducting sale-leasebacks for retail and restaurant properties, while also taking a genuine interest in his clients, their story and success. “I want to hear how I can help and what I can do to strategically plan for a sale, or whatever we’re doing, to get them to where they want to go,” he says. 

His advice to clients is to do their homework and clearly identify objectives. There are different approaches and different nuances to structuring leases to get the desired results in a sale-leaseback transaction. So, it’s important for an operator to outline goals, such as minimizing rent payments, maximizing the sale price or negotiating a right of first refusal. “People have different priorities, and there is no right or wrong, it is just a matter of understanding what your goals are,” says Chou. For more information, contact him at
(310) 919-5827 or gary.chou@matthews.com.

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