SECOND TIME AROUND
Retired investment director starts business to help restaurants find their managers
“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.