Q&A With Ty Clifton

Our team at Franchising USA had a chance to sit down with Ty Clifton, franchisee for Patrice & Associates, the nation’s largest staffing firm in restaurants and hospitality. As a veteran in franchising, we were excited to learn more about his journey to entrepreneurship.

Our questions are in bold. Hope you enjoy reading.

Tell us about your military professional background. 

In 1987, I attended University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) and majored in Hotel & Restaurant Management and I participated in US Army ROTC at Salisbury State University. After my 2nd year of college, I was awarded a two-year ROTC scholarship. In 1991, I received a Bachelor of Science in Hotel & Restaurant Management from UMES, and I received a US Army commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in Field Artillery.

While on active duty in the US Army for 25 years, I served in a variety of leadership positions that include Fire Support Officer in the Republic of Panama, unit commander in the 82nd Airborne Division, Detachment Commander in the 8th in Korea, and Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon. My deployments include: Republic of Kuwait in support of Operation Intrinsic Action (’94), the Kosovo Campaign in Albania and Kosovo (’99), Operation Iraqi Freedom at Camp Taji, Iraq (’07), and Operation Enduring Freedom at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait (’13).

I proudly served our nation and in 2016, I felt that it was time to retire and pursue my dreams of being a successful entrepreneur. So, I officially retired from the US Army in the rank of Colonel in July 2016.

Why did you decide to enter the hospitality recruiting industry? 

I have always had a dream to start my own business in the hospitality industry and that is why I majored in Hotel & Restaurant Management in college.  My initial dream was to have a full service restaurant with a menu inspired by all of the cuisines I have encountered in my travels abroad. So, when I decided to retire from the Army, I knew it was time to pursue my dreams again. Shortly thereafter, I was introduced to Patrice & Associates by a franchise consultant.

What attracted you to the Patrice & Associates franchise opportunity?

I was very impressed with Patrice & Associates’ Hospitality business model, mission statement, and the cohesiveness within the organization. This opportunity is a dream come true for me because it allows me to enter the hospitality industry as an entrepreneur (without the associated costs or risks of opening a restaurant) and it allows me to service a variety of restaurant concepts.  As a franchisee, I get to work in all aspects of the hospitality industry and it allows me to influence and shape our candidates to meet the needs of our hospitality clients.

How are you leveraging your military experience at Patrice & Associates? 

As a leader, I have leveraged my military background and discipline to focus on Patrice & Associates’ mission statement, goals, objectives and daily tasks to be achieved.

What are some benefits of franchising in general? 

I believe the best benefit of franchising is that the business model has already been tested and proven successful by the franchisor. Therefore, success is achievable and the risk of failure has been mitigated and reduced.

What is your advice for veterans looking into franchising?

My advice to veterans would be to find the franchise that fits your passion and drive to be successful.  Also, veterans should maximize all the resources from their service’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP) to help find the right business opportunities and to help you set up your business licenses and practices.  For example, through the Army’s Soldier For Life / Transition Assistance Program (SFL/TAP), I had access to plenty of valuable information. Additionally, the SFL/TAP Financial Advisor at Fort Belvoir, VA helped me with my business plan and she helped me set up my LLC for my business for free. Therefore, as far as advising veterans looking into franchising, I had an excellent experience with the TAP and I highly recommend that veterans take full advantage of these types of programs.

Are there any additional steps to take? 

My advice to veterans that are leaving the service is take full advantage of all of the resources available to you within your services and within your community. I also recommend setting up your BAIL team:  Banker, Accountant, Insurance Agent, and Lawyer.

Another key piece of advice is to begin networking with other business owners within your community because they will help you. For example, go to SBA meetings and attend your local Chamber of Commerce meetings. All in all, these steps will help you plan your plan and work your plan!

Ty Clifton is a franchisee for Patrice & Associates, the preeminent hospitality recruiting service in the U.S. since 1989. Patrice & Associates helps thousands of managerial candidates every year find rewarding jobs in the restaurant and hospitality industry. The company has exclusive recruiting partnerships with some the nation’s largest restaurant chains and hotels to ensure those hospitality venues recruit the top managers in their industry. Currently, there are more than 70 franchise units across dozens of states. Patrice & Associates is growing its franchise base dramatically in the next few years, expecting to add more than 100 franchisees to help fill 1,100 open territories nationwide.


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