Re­tired in­vest­ment direc­tor starts busi­ness to help restau­rants find their man­agers

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - BUSINESS - By Brian McCul­lough bm­c­cul­lough@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @wc­dai­ly­lo­cal on Twit­ter

“It’s pure and sim­ple a sales job, which is some­thing I was look­ing for. You talk to restau­rants and to can­di­dates and find out their needs and you match them up. Plus, I trav­eled a lot and ate in a hell of a lot of restau­rants.” — Michael Thomp­son

CON­CORD » A re­tired in­sti­tu­tional in­vest­ment direc­tor is dig­ging into a sec­ond ca­reer. Michael Thomp­son re­cently started a Pa­trice & As­so­ci­ates of­fice from his home in Gar­net Val­ley, south of West Ch­ester. Pa­trice is a hos­pi­tal­ity re­cruit­ing ser­vice that spe­cial­izes in match­ing man­agers with restau­rants.

“It’s pure and sim­ple a sales job, which is some­thing I was look­ing for,” Thomp­son said in ex­plain­ing his de­ci­sion to start the fran­chise. “You talk to restau­rants and to can­di­dates and find out their needs and you match them up. Plus, I trav­eled a lot (as an in­sti­tu­tional in­vest­ment direc­tor) and ate in a hell of a lot of restau­rants.”

Thomp­son, 64, worked for Fidelity, Turner, Ameriprise and Di­a­mond Hill in­vest­ment firms over a 36-year ca­reer. Af­ter in­ves­ti­gat­ing a num­ber of op­por­tu­ni­ties, he spent $68,000 to buy the Pa­trice fran­chise that cov­ers much of south­east­ern Penn­syl­va­nia and north­ern Delaware.

“It was just a good fit,” he said. “I’ve worked in sales since ‘82. More and more restau­rants in Philadel­phia are re­ly­ing heav­ily on re­cruiters to find the best tal­ent.”

The re­cruit­ment agency fo­cuses on man­age­ment only – it doesn’t track down wait-staff for restau­rants.

Po­si­tions he helps fill in­clude chefs, sous-chefs, ex­ec­u­tive chefs, gen­eral man­agers, bar man­agers, ser­vice man­agers and as­sis­tant man­agers – those in salaried po­si­tions.

Cur­rently he is work­ing with two re­gional restau­rant busi­nesses: Chickie’s & Pete’s and Tony Roni’s Pizze­ria. The restau­rants pay Thomp­son for find­ing their tal­ent and he re­ceives fees from other Pa­trice fran­chisees when he helps them find a can­di­date that’s hired for one of their client restau­rants.

“We do a phone screen and a faceto-face in­ter­view and maybe an on-the­job eval­u­a­tion,” Thomp­son ex­plained. “We take time to re­ally vet these can­di­dates. And we don’t take job hop­pers.”

He be­lieves there will be busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties in the fu­ture with the area casi­nos but right now is con­cen­trat­ing on build­ing up his restau­rant busi­ness.

“We end up be­ing an ex­ten­sion of their HR de­part­ments,” Thomp­son said.

Thomp­son said he had con­sid­ered other fran­chises such as Vis­it­ing An­gels and own­ing his own restau­rant, but pre­ferred a sit­u­a­tion that didn’t in­volve a brick-and-mor­tar lo­ca­tion or man­ag­ing em­ploy­ees.

“I de­cided on this for two rea­sons,” Thomp­son said. “First, the restau­rant busi­ness is re­ces­sion-proof. Even in re­ces­sion­ary times peo­ple go out to eat be­cause it’s an in­ex­pen­sive es­cape from the drudgery. Sec­ond, there’s a rel­a­tively high turnover. I’m amazed at the amount of change in the restau­rant busi­ness.”

Pa­trice Rice, CEO and founder of

Pa­trice & As­so­ci­ates, be­gan the hos­pi­tal­ity man­age­ment re­cruit­ing com­pany in 1989 out of her base­ment in Dunkirk, Mary­land.

The $625 bil­lion hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try em­ploys 12 mil­lion peo­ple in the United States. Rice be­gan

fran­chis­ing her hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try re­cruit­ing busi­ness four years ago in the midst of the Great Re­ces­sion. It has con­tin­ued to grow rapidly with more than 55 re­gional fran­chise

of­fices spread across the en­tire na­tion. Pa­trice & As­so­ci­ates cur­rently has more than 600 man­age­rial po­si­tions to fill.

Ma­jor lo­ca­tions in­clude Los An­ge­les, Chicago, At­lanta,

Bos­ton, Hous­ton, Mi­ami, Rich­mond, Bal­ti­more, Philadel­phia, New York City, In­di­anapo­lis, Dal­las, Phoenix, Las Ve­gas, Detroit, Wash­ing­ton D.C., Min­neapo­lis, San An­to­nio,

Den­ver and Seat­tle.


Michael Thomp­son is open­ing a Pa­trice & As­so­ci­ates fran­chise that helps busi­nesses in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try find work­ers.

Michael Thomp­son is open­ing a Pa­trice & As­so­ci­ates fran­chise.

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