About Rick Graves

The man, the mission

Business consultant Rick Graves has made it his life’s work to steer companies to success.

“Success is financial,” he says, “but it’s also about helping leaders experience joy in their work. And giving managers, even the ones bewildered by millennials, tools they can use to inspire their teams.”

Rick brings a natural curiosity and love of people to his client projects. It translates to compassion, energy and sense of humor, “all essential when you’re implementing change,” he says.

A challenge junkie, he combines a unique set of operational, strategic and collaboration techniques to guide his clients through rough patches. “We assess, then build on what’s right in the company,” says Rick. “I love to solve problems and I love to win.”

A broad spectrum of industries
Rick applies his positive transformation skills for clients in a variety of fields, from hospitality and sports/leisure to jewelry wholesalers.

But his deep commitment to customer service and staff development started in the restaurant field. Rick contributed at every level, from barback, server and manager to director of training and executive in operations and finance. Through it all, he learned that connecting with and treating people well makes everything else fall into line.

Transforming operations and culture
Rick fine-tuned his turnaround chops across 30+ years in the hospitality industry, where training and efficiency are everything. He managed staff instruction, operations and growth at corporate restaurant chains such as Chili’s and Original Roadhouse Grill and helped launch expansions for Café Z and Patxi’s Pizza.

As operations VP at Patxi’s, Rick led operational and financial oversight of all existing units and development of new units. In just four years, his fast-paced approach grew the concept from five to 16 units and increased annual sales from $8 to $40 million. At the same time, the shift he created in the company’s culture resulted in a 70% reduction in management turnover.

At restaurant accounting firm Vine Solutions, Rick coached a diverse portfolio of clients to improve sales and exceed profit expectations. He also educated teams on how to use financial reports, key metrics and action plans to drive long-term positive changes.

On the personal side
Most at home in nature, Rick enjoys cycling and skiing. He practices meditation, Pilates and is an avid nonfiction reader, mainly self-improvement and business trends. He loves living in Marin County with his wife, son and two good dogs.

Learn more
How we work
Cultural / leadership consulting
Operations management
Strategic planning