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

  • Darryl Jackson makes you his priority! 

    I would say that Darryl Jackson was very professional and helped me in all aspects of my job search.  Darryl took my resume and made it more attractive and appealing, he was also very attentive to my needs and what my expectations were.  What I feel was a key part of the success in our relationship was the constant communication on his part.  Darryl makes it his business to know his client and always speaks to you in a positive manner.  He tries to make you see the good aspects of each individual employer.  In the future if I would need to seek other employment I truly believe I would look for his availability.    

    Thanks,

    Luis C

    Darryl Jackson makes you his priority!
  • Thank you all for everything Bruce Leininger!

    Bruce Leininger is an exceptional and irreplaceable asset to Practice & Associates.  Bruce took the time and really get to know me, my passions and personality.  He understood my wants when it came to my career move .  He took the time to talk to me and build a relationship with me.  Bruce had a lot of patience and was always in communication with me in regards to different opportunities.  I respected and appreciated his advice and input.  I will always be grateful to Bruce, as he listened with all his heart.  I will always remember what Bruce has done for my family and I and I will make sure that everyone I know who wants a career change only talks to Bruce!                  

    Respectfully,

    Sami Simaan

    Thank you all for everything Bruce Leininger!
  • The professionalism and care from Francisco Chevez was simply fantastic! 

    He was so informative, prepped to give me the best help whether it was by phone or video call, it gave me the confidence and readiness to succeed in my interview and land the job I was looking for.  He was in constant communication with me and the employer for the entire process, it truly felt like he cared for my needs the entire time and made sure they were met as well.  I am beyond happy with Francisco Chevez and Patrice & Associates, they will be with you 100% during the process and even after to make sure everything is going well. Phenomenal job and thank you so much!      

    Regards,

    Gerrie

    The professionalism and care from Francisco Chevez was simply fantastic!
  • Chris Bovio has been helpful through and through. 

    He was polite, professional, and fast acting.  He listened to what I was looking for and was impactful in his decision making.  His communication was open and offered a hand at anytime.  He made the job seeking hunt 10x easier and made it a seamless process.  I would recommend Chris and his services to anyone!    

    Jessica Pritz

    Chris Bovio has been helpful through and through. 
  • I am so grateful for Sarah Straniero and her tenacity!

    I appreciate your help Sarah. You have been professional and helped me throughout this process. Thank you for helping me with the GM opportunity.        

    Andre F

    I am so grateful for Sarah Straniero and her tenacity!