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.

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What Clients Say About Patrice & Associates

  • I just want to say a huge “Thank You!!” to Margo Kornfeld for all she has done.

    I just would like to say that Margo Kornfeld was instrumental in landing my dream job. I did not know what to expect at all. My thoughts were that she is a regular recruiter trying to meet her quota. But was I wrong. She is not. As a matter of fact she will bat for you 300%. That is what she did for me. She gave me the scope regarding information for the interview and what they are looking for. She provided the confidence and belief that this opportunity is for me and how to wow them. And I did! If you are looking for that perfect opportunity, I would recommend Margo Kornfeld. She definitely has you covered.                       Reginald W. Zephyrin I just want to say a huge “Thank You!!” to Margo Kornfeld for all she has done.
  • Thank you very much Tim!

    I started off with Tim Keith through Patrice & Associates one year ago. Tim was a great help preparing me and coaching along my way to joining my new career. Once accepted into the job, I immediately took focus and started to create relationships. I started off as assistant manager making the bare minimum salary at the time and within three months of being there was given a 10% raise. I further went on to become service manager and then bar manager and then assistant general manager in the next six months. In October, I was given the opportunity to follow my progression into general manager and continue with my training with the company. I then took over as general manager at the end of November. One of the fastest employees promoted to general manager in company history. The company really supports and relies on its managers and sees that they do good work and then they promote from within. Best company I’ve ever worked for, not a high stress environment and when they promise you something they actually follow through. Tim, is a wonderful human being and will work day and night for you. I’ll never use another recruiting agency, #1 - because I won’t need one due to that I found the perfect job and #2 - because Tim worked so hard for me to find this job.   Sincerely, Andrew Marsh Thank you very much Tim Keith!
  • Allison Sullivan was truly awesome in assisting me with obtaining my current job.  

    She was a great listener, showed confidence and passion for her job.  I tell my friends she is my "Recruiter Champion".  I will not hesitate to refer my friends and family to her should they need job placement expertise.
     
    Sincerely,
    Melissa Gustave
    Allison Sullivan was truly awesome in assisting me with obtaining my current job
  • Thank you Vicki Marshall!

    I have been uber busy in my new position as Restaurant Manager. Initially, Vicki Marshall set me up with my new employer which would have been a great position. However after many interviews, we came to the conclusion that I would be a better fit for there bigger busier venue. I cannot express effectively how integral Vicki was in finding me the perfect company in the location I was looking for. She informed me of the companies long renown history and core values. She also helped prepare me for my interviews. I am deeply in her debt and cannot recommend her more highly.                    
    Many Thanks!
    Nicholaus A. Hoover
    Thank you Vicki Marshall!
  • Thank you Carol Bullock!

    Where do I begin? From her initial message to me, I could tell that Carol would not be like other recruiters I had worked with. Her energy alone made me look forward to each call with her. Carol’s knowledge and familiarity with the hospitality industry and the brand made her an invaluable resource for me. Regardless of the need, she was readily available to assist me.  I can only imagine how stressful this process would have been without her by my side.     Thank You Carol!   Tanja Davis Thank you Carol Bullock!