Meet the Matchmaker for the Restaurant Industry

A recruiting firm founder knows a new job can change everything — even for her franchisees.

Back in 1989, after having worked as a pet store owner, a caterer and the first female captain on the Chesapeake Bay, Patrice Rice realized something: Any given restaurant needs five to seven managers, but finding qualified people is often a struggle. Hotels and casinos are plagued by similar staffing issues. So Rice set out to be the missing link. She launched a hospitality and restaurant industry recruiting firm, Patrice & Associates, and developed relationships with large chains like Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Applebee’s and the Cheesecake Factory. The business took off. Every time one of her more than 500 national clients needs a new manager for a new or existing location, Patrice & Associates is tasked with hiring them.

In 2010 she took the next step and turned to franchising, and today there are more than 100 Patrice & Associates franchisees throughout the United States and Canada. Rice travels around the country one week per month to offer support. “We don’t just give franchisees two weeks of training and say, ‘Good luck.’ We talk to them every day for 90 days,” she says. “My mission statement says recruiting isn’t all about money. It’s about helping people.”

Recruiting isn’t the most obvious thing to franchise. What makes this business appealing to franchisees?

“A lot of franchisees are first-time business owners, and it’s scary. There are three things they worry about: cash flow, how their industry is going to be affected by the economy and territory. We’re a unique opportunity — we have a safety net for all three. One, because I ran this business for 20 years before franchising, a lot of chains were already my clients, so I have jobs for franchisees to work on. Two, in America, the food industry is number one for jobs and for growth. And three, in every other franchise, territory is everything; in my model, they have a territory, but they can work the whole country.

Plus, we have very low startup costs, and franchisees can work from home. All you need is a telephone and the internet. There is no inventory to buy, no lease to sign and no employees to hire. I have a franchisee with an RV who travels the country.”

What do you look for in a franchisee?

“You have to have zero phone reluctance — plus sales experience, or sales ability. You have to be proactive. If that’s not the franchisee, then they have to hire a recruiter to be on the phone. This is not buying a job; it’s building a business. When you build a business, you figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are and you surround yourself with people who can shore up those weaknesses.”

Does recruiting have specific challenges?

“It’s constant rejection. You have to be able to handle that. Maybe a candidate isn’t interested in the job you have available, or doesn’t qualify. Or your candidate tells you they’re going to show up for the interview and doesn’t. They might say, “I can pass that drug test,” and they can’t. Franchisees also have to understand that we cannot help everyone find a job. That’s hard. We can help only about 10 percent of the people who send us résumés.

And it’s not about luck; it’s a numbers game. The more people you talk to, the more people go on interviews, the more people get hired, the more people you help and the more money you make.”

What have you learned about company culture and employee fit?

“In a lot of sales positions, you’re always thinking about closing the deal. That’s not what we do. We’re staffing partners for the client companies, but we’re also career coaches for people looking for their next job.

So listen to what they say. Don’t try to talk them into a particular job you have available. Understand what they’re looking for. If you can make a good match, then it all works out. And never forget that you are impacting somebody’s life and the lives of their family.”

This story appears in the June 2017 issue of Entrepreneur

Back

What Clients Say About Patrice & Associates

  • I would like to start off by saying that Mike did a great job. He is very passionate about what he does, and he is very good at it. He stayed in constant contact with me, he made sure i was 100% prepared for the interview process and everything. I don’t usually work with recruiters, but this time i am extremely happy i did. Thank you to Mike, and Patrice & Associates for all the hard work you guys put forth! I will make sure i send more people your way. Thanks again Mike, it was a pleasure working with you!   Sean Williams-Mitchell USMC Veteran Thank you to Mike, and Patrice & Associates for all the hard work you guys put forth!
  • I recently worked with Sherri Balzer in conjunction with a management opportunity with IHOP. She was extremely professional throughout the entire process. In addition, she was very helpful and knowledgeable about the company and interview process. I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a new job opportunity to consider Sherri Balzer for all their needs.   Read Mullin I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a new job opportunity to consider Sherri Balzer for all their needs. 
  • Stephanie Yee is a great part of my journey with California Fish Grill. We came across each other via LinkedIn and started a professional relationship. Not only she told me about the great opportunity with CFG, she also gave me info and reading materials about company and helped me built confidence before my interview. Lorie Santos-Law Assistant. General Manager California Fish Grill Stephanie Yee is a great part of my journey with California Fish Grill.
  • Stephanie reached out to me at a time when I was thinking about looking for a new job but was not quite sure where to begin. From our first call together she was professional and friendly. We talked a lot about my current position, previous jobs and what I was looking for in the future. From our conversations she made a new resume for me that was specific to Susiecakes. Stephanie was always on top things communicating with Susiecakes as well as myself. She was always easy to reach via phone, texts, and emails. Furthermore it really felt like Stephanie was on my side and wanted what was best for me. She listened to my concerns and negotiated on my behalf. In the end I was hired in a position that I think will be beneficial for both myself and Susiecakes. Even after I started my job a work text was accidentally sent to her and she promptly sent it to me. Still looking out for me even after I received the job. I have since referred her to an old coworker and am certain that she will find them a great job as well. I will continue to recommend to Stephanie Yee to only the best culinary professionals that I know. Sincerely, Andrew From our first call together she was professional and friendly.
  • From the initial interview, Helen was very thorough and spent time getting to know my background and experience. She was detailed in her delivery of the opportunity, and confirmed the dates and times for follow up. Her open line of communication made the process easy and enjoyable. From our initial conversation to the signed job offer, Helen shared in my excitement! I am so grateful to her, and Patrice and Associates for fitting me with this amazing opportunity. Christina Russillo I am so grateful to Helen and Patrice and Associates for fitting me with this amazing opportunity. 
Skip to toolbar