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

  • Margo was fantastic!

    Throughout the process, she was able to get and keep me prepared and ready to answer any questions or curveballs that came my way.  I was better prepared during this interview process than I have ever been before.  A normally stressful process was made less so thanks to Margo.  She was the one that initially brought the opportunity to my attention and was there every step of the way to ensure I was successful.
    Thank you,
    Adam Saia
    Margo was fantastic!
  • I would like to say thank you for this great opportunity and helping me with the next mile stone on my career path.

    At first when I received the email I was uncertain that this would work. Upon talking to Michelle I discovered that not only was she really nice, but also quite resourceful. I started the process on a Tuesday and literally one week later I was offered a job on the spot, thanks to all of her assistance. We talked and I was able to be open with her.  She was able to put me in the mindset of my now area manager to go over what to say and do, and what to leave out during the interview. We went over resumes and she showed me how to improve mine so that I stood out. Overall if I ever had to do this again I would gladly work with Michelle but I’m secure in my career path.  Thanks again to Patrice and Associates, and Michelle! Keyona Ellis
  • Duke was always available. There were several times I made unscheduled calls and texts, and he always had time for me. 

    I am grateful to have worked with Duke Witte during my search for employment. When I heard the word recruiter, I immediately put my guard up, but it quickly came down. Duke proved himself immediately as being in my corner, and that he had my best interests at heart. I explained to Duke upfront what’s important to me, my beliefs, and my interests. I was able to speak to Duke openly and comfortably. I’m a very private person, and Duke made me very comfortable by explaining his confidentiality process between prospect and recruiter. It has been awhile since I’ve had to look for work and be interviewed. I requested a mock interview with Duke, and it helped me. I don’t think the most highly of myself at times, and Duke strongly helped me build my confidence. My original resume I created read more as a detailed portfolio and Duke rearranged things in a way that would give me opportunity to speak on my skills and abilities. He explained that the resume is my golden ticket to getting the interview, and the interview is where I sell myself and share the details that I had in my original resume. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Duke during this process, and he is a strong advocate for those needing work. I will be referring him anytime I am able. Elliott Gray Duke was always available. There were several times I made unscheduled calls and texts, and he always had time for me. 
  • Jodi Furraitti at Patrice & Associates is absolutely fabulous!

      I could tell immediately that she loves what she does for her clients and really gets to know them in depth. I had been searching for my next career path for several months and then the Covid-19 debacle happened. No one was hiring. I had posted my resume on Indeed and that’s where Jodi found me. She does her homework and even answered emails, texts and calls both day and night, and even on weekends. The whole process was quick, professional and only took one interview for me to secure a General Manager role at a luxury motorcoach resort. Jodi is a great asset to Patrice & Associates, and with this being my first experience working with a recruiter, I am highly impressed. Well done! Carolyn Masten Jodi Furraitti at Patrice & Associates is absolutely fabulous!
  • I don’t have enough great things to say about Clint Carpenter!

    His continued support and insight have been invaluable.  He hit the ground running by asking the tough questions, managing expectations, and providing the essential motivation needed to get me across the finish line.  Clint Carpenter has the dynamic leadership and mentorship qualities that can transform a candidate‘s potential into reality.  I’m overwhelmingly impressed by his integrity, candor, and tenacity.  He has a genuine compassion and empathy that is unparalleled.  My family and I can’t express the absolute gratitude we have for Clint as he truly changed our lives forever. Thank you! Mitch Johnson I don’t have enough great things to say about Clint Carpenter!