Reaching 100 Franchise Units in Seven Years

How the First Female Captain of the Chesapeake Bay Grew the Largest Hospitality Recruiting Franchise

 

I’m the founder and CEO of Patrice & Associates, a national recruiting franchise that specializes in the hospitality sector with more than 500 national clients. My company is the gold standard in restaurant recruiting, but getting to this point was no easy feat. I have a pretty unique resume – I was a hotel sales manager, the first woman captain on the Chesapeake, a restaurant owner and caterer, door-to-door manicurist, author of a book and even operated my own pet store raising puppies, parrots and monkeys. My journey hasn’t been all roses and sunshine, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

 

How was that, Honey?

 

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and started being the driver of my career when I began chartering my 34-foot boat as part of an investment tax program. I introduced the idea of chartering boats to others in the community and soon enough, I was running a fleet of 26 chartered power boats, Chesapeake Cruising, giving local tours and eventually became the first woman captain on the Chesapeake Bay. Men at the marinas would make it challenging for me – giving me the most difficult spot to back into and calling me “honey.” I’d show them up and back into the spot perfectly, hollering back, “How was that, honey?”

In addition to smaller charters, I began running a larger corporate charter and launched corporate entertaining on luxury yachts in the Baltimore Inner Harbor. This expanded my business into managing events and catering, and I soon purchased a struggling marina restaurant to offer a catering service specializing in the yachting industry.

 

The Accidental Fax that Opened My Next Chapter

 

When owning charters was no longer turning the profit I desired, I looked to a recruiting firm to help place me and instead they hired me to recruit for them. I used to send faxes between job seekers and companies. One day I accidentally came across a fax noting the several thousand dollars one client paid per recruit. This discovery changed the entire course of my career and led me to start my own talent acquisition firm. There was huge growth potential for national hospitality and restaurant recruitment and I was ready to capture it. As a result, I founded Patrice & Associates in 1989.

 

I Realized I was Giving Away a Business on A Silver Platter

 

At one point, I had grown Patrice & Associates to more than 40 recruiters nationwide who all worked from home. But as time went on and recruiters came and went, I realized I was giving away an instant business on a silver platter when I was training people for free hoping they made money. In addition, the recruiters weren’t engaged or invested in the future of Patrice & Associates and I knew I wasn’t attracting the right people. I needed more business-minded people who wanted two things – to own something and to make more money. Once I realized this, I decided to franchise my business. To make it happen, I had to refinance my house, take out a line of credit, and even fly to Chicago to hire a company to put all the pieces in order. We launched the franchise offering in 2010.

 

The Path to 100 Franchises

 

The 100-unit franchise milestone is a feat that few franchises surprisingly achieve – less than 20 percent of franchises reach that plateau. In the past 10 years alone, fewer than 90 franchises have exceeded 100 units, with 75 percent of them failing between 50-100 units.

Shortly after I began franchising, I hit a point with Patrice & Associates when I wondered if the business would ever get to the next level. The franchise system was growing and sales were increasing, but not at the rate I had anticipated. Though skeptical at first, I decided to hire an outside consultant to help me overcome this road block. That choice was one of the biggest wins for Patrice & Associates.

I hired a business coach, Brian Miller, an industry veteran with 25 years in franchising and 16 years at a leading full-service staffing and recruiting industry franchisor. He took a look at our franchise system and realized the business had been growing with the wrong type of franchisees. I was bringing on people with careers in hotel or restaurant management. And, while we have franchisees with these backgrounds who are successful, he reminded me that the core of recruiting is sales. We quickly altered our ideal franchise candidate and the business took off.

After realizing what we could achieve together, I decided to entice Brian to join Patrice & Associates. The problem: other companies were offering him very high six-figure salaries and, at the time, I couldn’t afford that. By this time I had recruited for more than two decades, but the process of recruiting Brian was almost unbelievable. I had to make him see my dream and show him everything we could accomplish together. I had to prove to him what he could be at Patrice & Associates was better than what the bigger brands were offering him. I worked every bit of magic I could to bring him on and it worked. Since Brian joined Patrice & Associates as our COO and partner, the company has completely changed. He brings a different perspective to the business and transforms the way we think and operate.

 

Reaching 100 Franchise Units in Seven Years

 

The past few years have been a whirlwind. We tripled our revenue in 2016 and awarded a record number of single-unit franchise agreements as well as more than a dozen regional developer contracts. In the first half of 2017, we surpassed the 100-unit franchise milestone and also signed our first Regional Developer in Canada. We expect to award 60 new franchise agreements by the end of the year and have a total of 350-400 franchises in the next five years.

As an entrepreneur, you can’t be afraid to forge ahead when times get challenging. You’re the one driving your dream, and you need to do whatever it takes to make it a reality. Don’t give up.

 

This article was  featured in Enterprising Women – Spotlight.  You can also view this article here on Patrice’s LinkedIn page.

Testimonials – Celebrating Success

Recent Testimonials about our hardworking and dedicated Franchisees and Recruiters:

 

I am writing to express my gratitude for Jenna Bakondy at Patrice & Associates.  I was contacted by Jenna as she found an opportunity that seemed like a good fit for my career.  Jenna was a total professional with high energy from the beginning which is something that I found refreshing and, even told her so!

I sent Jenna a copy of my most current resume and she helped critique my resume and make some changes.  She sees lots of resumes every day and she is more aware of what job prospectors are looking for pre-interview. Within a few days I was contacted by Jenna with ‘Good News!’  She was able to schedule me an interview!

Jenna was very supportive and helpful through the whole process of the interview.  She gave me a lot of great advice and encouragement which is a rare find these days.  I thanked her for her enthusiastic support as it made me feel that much more confident walking into the interview.  After the interview there was a little bit of negotiating which Jenna and her team/supervisors gave me some ideas on and wouldn’t you know it, I got the job!

I thanked Jenna many times as I have been managing in the industry for over 15 years and have rarely come across someone who was truly dedicated to helping someone the way Jenna helped me.  I am happy at my new job and Jenna was right there to follow up with me a couple of weeks after I started, just to make sure everything was going great.  It still is! Thanks Jenna!

  • Jenelle Siwicki – Schaumburg, IL

I have never dealt with a recruiter before, but she is a credit to her industry. Having her in your corner, prepping me and preparing me for each step of the job finding process was invaluable.

Margo Kornfeld was an amazing help. She helped me find my dream job. She was attentive and available to me throughout every step. Her attention to detail and honest critique helped me prepare and present my self in a more advantageous light. She helped me tweak my resume to better highlight my talents, and her interview prep was invaluable. She is genuinely warm and caring and I honestly feel as though I have made a friend for life. Although I hope I never need her again, I’m definitely not going to be losing her number!

  • Victoria Yambala – Bronx, NY

First of all I would like to thank everyone at Patrice and Associates. But a special thanks to Patty Ganner, my recruiter. Patty was an invaluable asset to me in the entire interview process. The information she provided, such as what questions to ask, what questions to be prepared for, including background on the people I’d be meeting, really helped me to be ready for any surprises. She even put info on what to wear!! After six hours of interviews and three hours of assessments it worked. And this was the first place that Patty sent me. Thanks again Patty, I would recommend you to anyone looking for future employment. You truly are a valuable asset to your company.

  • Adrian Olalde – Las Vegas, NV

Vicki Marshall is amazing. She is professional, helpful and easy to talk to. I am making a big move physically as well as in my career and Vicki has made both an enjoyable experience. I am thankful for her guidance and encouragement and would highly recommend her!

  • Erin Mitchell – Bend, OR

Ken Schreifels with Patrice & Associates was wonderful to work with while I was looking for a new restaurant management job.  I had never used a recruiter before and wasn’t sure what to expect.  He was very professional and helpful through the whole process.  Ken stayed in constant contact with me and did everything in his power to help move the process along quickly.  I would highly recommend using Ken to anyone looking for a new career.

  • Rob Lewis – Chattanooga, TN

New Jobs within the Restaurant Industry

Restaurant Industry Continues Adding  New Jobs

 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the restaurant industry has added nearly 26,200 new jobs during the month of April.  Within the past year, the industry has expanded by adding nearly 260,000 new jobs. In an article by Jonathan Maze, Senior Financial Editor of Nation’s Restaurant News, he highlights how the restaurant industry continues to consistently hire and add new jobs:

The employment numbers are the biggest indication of industry growth. Restaurants do not expand if they do not anticipate enough business for them to do so. Operators are clearly confident in their ability to generate sales.

This is potentially good news for the restaurant industry, as same-store sales across restaurants have been  weak for numerous months.

The industry continues to push forward in spite of troubled sales, which is heartening for employees in the restaurant biz.

 

After adding 211,000 jobs last month, the unemployment rate is 4.4 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, meaning that nearly everyone who wants a job has one.

That should drive up wages, and therefore improvements in discretionary income that help sales, which could keep restaurant job growth humming.

As it is now, job seekers can continue to look forward to new opportunities and advancement as job growth progresses within the industry.

The Importance of the Elevator Pitch

The Elevator Pitch: An Important Professional Tool

 

Making a career move can be difficult. One of the most common things job seekers struggle with is finding a way to catch the eye of potential employers. Often times, it can feel almost impossible to stand out among a sea of hundreds of other job seekers all looking to get a leg up on the competition. So what is a job seeker to do?

One great way of getting an edge on the competition is crafting a professional ‘Elevator Pitch.’ An elevator pitch is a 30-second personal sales pitch to help spark the interest of a potential employer or organization. Having an elevator pitch at hand is a great tool for standing out among the crowd. From career fairs to networking events, you can use your elevator pitch to both introduce yourself and reveal how your experience and skills could potentially benefit a potential employer.

Writing an Elevator Pitch:

Writing a great Elevator Pitch

 

 

Regardless of the industry, an elevator pitch is an important professional tool to help job seekers quickly and effectively promote themselves to potential employers. As recruiters, we often times have inside information on what our clients are seeking when hiring management candidates. Therefore, when we work with job seekers, we are dedicated to assisting them identify their own strengths and skills which align with what employers are looking for. Working with a recruiter who specializes in your industry can be a quick and easy step towards crafting an even stronger elevator pitch and fortify your chances of catching the eyes of great employers.

 

 

This article was originally written by Tracey Hamilton and can also be viewed here on her LinkedIn page.