Our team at Franchising USA had a chance to sit down with Patrice Rice, founder and CEO of Patrice & Associates, the nation’s largest staffing firm in restaurants and hospitality.
As a fellow woman in franchising, we were excited to learn more about Patrice’s journey to Patrice & Associates and her advice to women looking to open their own franchises.
Our questions are in bold. Hope you enjoy reading!
What is your professional background?
Early on in my career, I began working on boats in the Baltimore Harbor, which eventually inspired me to launch the first powerboat charter fleet on the Chesapeake Bay. Soon after, the investment tax credit that allowed me to write-off my boat as a business disappeared, and gas prices skyrocketed and my powerboat fleet tanked.
I eventually found work with an employment agency, where I managed the office and learned how to recruit. From there, I eventually opened my own staffing business, where I rewrote resumes and taught people how to interview.
Flash forward a few years, and now, I represent major restaurant and hospitality chains such as the Cheesecake Factory, Ruby Tuesday, Panera Bread and California Pizza Kitchen, who consider Patrice & Associates a valued business partner.
When did you begin franchising Patrice & Associates? Why?
I began franchising at the end of 2009 to attract more business-minded, rather than employee-minded, professionals to the business. I knew that the demand for valuable talent within the hospitality industry was on the rise, and franchising was the best way to meet this demand on a national, and soon-to-be-international, scale.
What are the biggest challenges facing women in franchising?
I think a challenge for women in the workforce is finding a healthy work/life balance, especially for those who are stuck within the confines of a rigid, corporate setting. One of the best aspects of franchising is that women are given more independence to make their own schedules, work from home or implement other methods to help them to achieve balance. As a woman-owned business, Patrice & Associates is grateful to have the chance to reward many hard-working women with single and regional developer franchise opportunities so they can have a job they love without sacrificing their freedom.
What are some changes you are noticing in the hospitality staffing industry?
It is certainly an exciting time to be a part of the hospitality industry, especially when you see the rampant growth it is experiencing. As a matter of fact, according to National Restaurant Association, the industry has not stopped growing for the past 25 years. Even through the last recession, growth has been rampant.
The hospitality industry employs over 14 million people and is currently having its sixth consecutive year of growth. It is an industry that promotes diversity, encourages the hiring of women and, it is one of the last standing industries where someone can successfully achieve the American dream.
What is your advice for women looking into franchising?
It is imperative that women take some time to decide on the type of lifestyle they want to have before committing themselves to a franchise. Do they want to work from home? Would they rather drive to an office every day? Do they want a business with other employees, or do they work better independently? Overall, women need to create a vision of their goals, needs and objectives including income, investment and work-life balance perspective.
In addition, when choosing the best franchise to invest in, women need to make sure that the franchise’s mission statement is aligned with their views. Always try to find a franchise where your personal convictions are in alignment with the franchise’s.
And lastly, look for a franchise with the lowest risks and the highest return on investment. There are many franchises out there that are recession-proof and well worth the investment for the long-term. If they start with these questions, they will be in good shape when selecting a business model that compliments their lifestyle.
What are you up to these days?
Our brand is expanding with our Regional Developer program, which is providing Patrice & Associates with more infrastructure and support. We are in growth mode, especially considering the rate at which we are rewarding franchise opportunities nationwide.
In the fourth quarter, we will be approved to franchise in Canada; next, we have plans to open our first locations in the UK and Australia.
Where can we keep up with you on social media?