Blue Orbit’s national hospitality consulting team provides immediate insights and lasting solutions to restaurateurs, real-estate developers, and hotel and restaurant groups to cultivate and execute new concepts and menus, revitalize and reposition underperforming restaurants, and manage operations to streamline processes, unify culture, and drive profits.
Blue Orbit provides hands-on partnership and unparalleled industry insight to create new concepts from the ground up and evolve ideas into maturity. Our work together helps ensure an airtight business plan, a menu attuned to your target audience, a successful launch from day one, and on-target profits over that crucial first year. We can also quickly and expertly diagnose what’s holding restaurants back from their potential and implement new ways of thinking, doing, and measuring results— from menu design to marketplace positioning— to get you back in the black in no time.
Blue Orbit’s proven management practice performs the heavy lifting for you, creating the systems and structures your company needs to build a cohesive culture, run smoothly and efficiently, and reap the rewards that come from having the right people working together within the right system. Led by Ray Camillo and Michael Maxwell, who each have more than 30 years of wide-ranging experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry, Blue Orbit helps you succeed by telling the hard truths, illuminating untapped opportunities, and creating the roadmap from good to great.
We’re a group that listens first, tailors our approach to your needs, and delivers a step-wise, iterative process that invites participation rather than dictates directives. In the end, we help launch your organization into a first-class operation, impressing investors, creating concepts, refining menus, motivating managers, and attracting the right customers along the way.
MEET THE BLUE ORBIT TEAM
RAY CAMILLO Founder & CEO
Ray Camillo is the Founder and CEO of Blue Orbit Restaurant Consulting with over three decades of hospitality operations experience and 16 years of senior leadership experience in the hotel, restaurant, restaurant consulting, and gourmet food retail sectors.
Over his career, Ray has held significant hands-on operating and leadership positions, from his early years as a cook and dishwasher, through positions as sous chef, beverage manager, general manager, and vice president. Mixing, shaping, and baking all of this together allows him to help clients create and grow concepts that resonate and drop money to the bottom line like it’s hot.
Restaurants are fun – fun to visit, fun to work in, fun to teach in, fun to talk about, and fun to create. But they can also be dangerous investments, terrible work environments, and breeding grounds for poor work habits and behaviors. Ray started Blue Orbit to share what has learned about creating concepts that work… and fixing concepts that are not practicing sound fundamentals. He is careful about who he works with and only brings aboard individuals that share or complement his passions. To him, Blue Orbit is a personal crusade to resurrect respect for those who choose to work in the hospitality industry as well as to disprove the sentiment that restaurants are dangerous investments.
Ray graduated with his MBA from Emory University with a concentration in finance and strategy but not before graduating from both The Culinary Institute of America’s culinary arts program and James Madison University’s Hotel Restaurant Management program. He loves “the business” and went into it on purpose. Working for companies like The Greenbrier Hotel, The Ritz Carlton, Peasant Restaurants, Clyde’s Restaurant Group, Liberty House Restaurants, and eatZi’s Market & Bakery, Ray has gathered some of the industry’s best practices and evolved them in ways as unique as each client’s business. Ray believes there are easier ways to make money than consulting… but the thrill of working closely with restaurants is too great a reward to bother with anything else.
MICHAEL MAXWELL Partner – VP of Operations
Michael Maxwell joined Blue Orbit as a Partner in 2014 and has worked with Ray Camillo on various projects and in other businesses since 1994. Michael has over 36 years of hospitality operations and senior management level experience at some of America’s most celebrated and successful restaurant companies.
Michael graduated from Southern Polytechnic State University in 1981 with a degree in Industrial Engineering. His passion for restaurants flourished while working with Peasant Restaurants where he helped grow their Mick’s expansion chain by perfecting the opening process. Michael used his skills and knowledge of restaurant openings to lead multiple opening teams acting as training director for Chevy’s fresh mex.
Michael’s fun and fresh approach to restaurant operations served him well over his career as he worked with companies like Concentrics, The Fifth Group, Rio Bravo/Chevy’s, Cinebistro, Metrotainment, Rare Hospitality, Legal Sea Foods, and eatZi’s Market & Bakery, holding positions as District Manager, Director of Training, Operating Partner and General Manager. He has opened over 40 restaurants and implemented countless training and continuing education programs.
We begin and end each project by listening and collaborating with you to get you where you want to go. No two projects are alike and we pride ourselves on our ability to customize solutions that let you show off your creativity while grounding you with solid business fundamentals. Our team mixes, shapes and bakes your ideas into something that is fundamentally solid and viable. We enjoy what we do and we love making new friends along the way.
As a Culinary Institute of America alum, Dave began his career at Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, parent company for Atlanta’s top restaurants for over 30 years. From there he made a name for himself at Atlanta’s acclaimed Horseradish Grill. When you meet Dave, you’ll immediately be drawn to his humility and selflessness. He never discusses his achievements…at least not without significant prodding. He has been a fixture at the James Beard House and James Beard Foundation for decades, appearing as a guest chef, being named “Rising Star of the 21st Century”, and helping drive the JBF Programs and Scholarships in their annual Sunday Super South event. He has donated his time and skills to the American Liver Foundation and Project Open Hand, and he has showcased his talents at Bon Appetit’s “invite only” Culinary & Wine Focus event. Holland America Cruses named him one of their “Celebrity Chefs” and he is regularly featured in magazines like Southern Living, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and Delta Sky. Dave has even appeared on the Today Show. However, if you ask Dave what award matters most, he’ll tell you it’s the joy he gets from crafting a meal well loved.
The bulk of Graham’s career has been on the culinary side of some of the most respected restaurant companies in the country. Since graduating from the New England Culinary Institute in the early 1900s, hj was the Corporate Executive Chef for Thompson Hospitality and Alexandria Restaurant Partners, overseeing the development and management of kitchen operations for more than 60 units over 24 concepts. Graham has also been an Executive chef for companies like Lettuce Entertain You, Peasant Restaurants, Founding Farmers, and McCormick & Schmick’s. He even learned the procurement and education sides of foodservice as Corporate Chef for Sysco and as an Adjunct Professor for the culinary program at Stratford University. Through all of that, Graham remains a humble servant of the clients he works with ..and even plays a mean guitar!
After graduating with a BBA in Management and Retail from Hood College, Allison Miller launched her career as a corporate buyer for mid-Atlantic department store giants Woodward & Lothrop and John Wanamaker’s. She has managed multi-million dollar buying budgets and sharpened her financial management and procedural skills, currently serving as the solid foundation of Blue Orbit.
Allison has an incredible eye for retail and passion for structure, developed through her work with the prestigious retail operations at The Greenbrier Resort and Rich’s / Lazarus / Goldsmith department stores. Allison currently helps create systems, define merchandising strategies, and develop back office protocols.
Carley graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a degree in Digital Art. As Blue Orbit’s Creative Director, she builds beautiful concept books, compelling menu layouts, and polished deliverables that transform ideas into results. Her eye for digital and print design also extend to online media and digital marketing strategies, both internal and external. Perhaps Carley’s most valuable assets are her infectious laugh and positive spirit which brighten every room she enters.
Steve Mousourakis is the owner of bighouse graphix, a designer and creative consultant with with more than two decades in strategic marketing, advertising and design. With a solid understanding in marketing objectives, branding principles and the strategies needed to build strong brands and achieve results he is skilled at translating market insights and trends into focused creative strategies. Steve oversees and inspires every project with energy, intellect, and attention to detail. From the days of brown Macs, metal printing plates and Netscape Navigator, he has grown bighouse graphix into a relevant, leading-edge creative print, web and communications group that clients rely on. He makes the complex seem simple, leads with enthusiasm and has a strong eye for details. When not thinking about design, or stressing over the proper sans serif font, you can find him traveling with his wife and 13 year old son.
As a recent graduate of Roanoke College and a Master of Arts candidate at Georgetown University, Liv is no stranger to social media and online branding. She handles Blue Orbit’s online footprint including our bi-weekly newsletter, Instagram posts, and Pinterest boards. She also helps our clients create their own in-house, grassroots social media marketing campaigns.
Calling Eric Simpkins a bartender is like calling Thomas Keller a cook. We consider Eric an educator, restaurateur, chef and mixology expert. While honing his craft at the prestigious Pegu Club, he trained at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. The knowledge and expertise in New York inspired him to move back the South to share his passion for the “immaculate cocktail”, making him one of the top pioneers in creating today’s thriving craft bar culture.
Eric has overseen many trendsetting bar programs including Trois and Drinkshop and was named a 2007 Rising Star Bar Chef by StarChefs. He was also selected by The Beverage Network as one of their 2008 Ten Trendsetting Mixologists to Watch. His cocktails gain local and national recognition from competitions, including the 2013 Vinos de Sherry Cocktail Competition and the inaugural 2014 Kodawari Shochu Cocktail Competition. His cocktails have been featured in publications like Food & Wine, Imbibe, Southern Living, The Tasting Panel, and the LA Times.
Max’s blend of hospitality and trend-worthy creativity has been treating patrons (and followers) in San Francisco since 2011. He has quickly climbed the Bay Area’s mountain of notable bars and restaurants, from high-volume service at destinations such as Rye and 15 Romolo, to food-driven craft cocktails at The Alembic, to managing the team at the legendary music-hall-turned-supper-club, Cafe du Nord. Since 2017 Max has been mixing drinks and making smiles at Trick Dog – undoubtedly one of the most creative, admired, and awarded cocktail bars in the world. When Max is not working on client projects or mixing spectacular drinks, he gives back to the community through fundraisers, seminars, tastings and competitions as the Treasurer of the US Bartenders’ Guild – San Francisco Chapter Council. Max’s love of cocktail and portrait photography has become an indispensable tool for us, while his lively sense of humor and bottomless supply of puns make eyes roll wherever he goes. Max lives in Oakland, CA with his wife Suzi and their two dogs, Maggie and Penny.
Logan Latraverse is a Retail Broker specializing in tenant representation in the state of Georgia. Logan partners with retailers to identify and secure optimal locations to reach customers and drive value for their organization. She has strong knowledge of the commercial real estate market and strategizes with her clients to execute store roll outs in Atlanta. Logan’s expert knowledge of the Atlanta in-town real estate market has made her an invaluable team member. Experience and Accomplishments Prior to joining JLL, Logan was an Associate at SRS Real Estate Partners in Atlanta where she worked on major retail accounts including Exhale, BurgerFi, Shoe Carnival, Salons by JC, and Tropical Smoothie Cafe. She received the Rising Star award at SRS for her early success and commitment to her clients. Logan started with JLL as part of a tenant representation team to help grow the retail business in Atlanta.
WHAT WE DO
We work with you to understand what your concept needs to do for you and then collaborate to create the business of your dreams while ensuring that it delivers your expectation.
We support Landlords by evaluating prospective-tenants, performing in-depth assessments of existing tenants, and providing ongoing consulting services to optimize restauarant operations and profitability during management.
All of the design, management and site selection expertise in the world will not help you if you don’t put food and drinks on your menu that people prefer…and are willing to pay for.
Whether you simply need to start frying your French fries in a different fryer than your Calamari or you need to completely overhaul the brand offering, we’ll get it right and your restaurant will be on the path to profitability in no time.