From Hospitality Royalty to Franchise Trailblazer: A Franchisee’s Journey to Business Ownership with Patrice & Associates

For former resort president Brian Czarnecki, franchising with Patrice & Associates combines his passion for hospitality and career mentorship while feeding his entrepreneurial desires.

In the world of career pivots, Brian Czarnecki‘s journey stands out as a testament to serendipity and strategic decision-making. Having spent 27 years in the hospitality industry and working his way up to president of Camelback Resort, Czarnecki found himself at a crossroads after orchestrating the resort’s successful acquisition.

As the founder of his own branding and advertising agency in his post-resort life, Czarnecki crossed paths with the chief marketing officer of Lamps Plus — and later Overstock — and his agency was brought on for both brands. Little did he know that this encounter would set the stage for a career shift towards franchising.

With the unpredictable nature of the advertising industry, Czarnecki craved more stability and also desired to reconnect with his passion for hospitality. This led him to pursue business ownership with Patrice & Associates, the 175+ unit franchise that offers recruiting services primarily within the hospitality industry.

For Czarnecki, it’s not only about profits, but also the gratification derived from mentoring individuals and guiding them through the intricacies of the interview process.

1851 Franchise spoke with Czarnecki about his journey into franchising with Patrice & Associates and his plans for the future.


1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

Czarnecki: I was in the hospitality business for 27 years; I ended that part of my career as president of Camelback Resort in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania and helped lead the resort to an acquisition. That opportunity provided me with another opportunity to decide what to do next in life.

Since 2015, I’ve had my own branding and advertising agency: Squirrel Agency. Thanks to serendipity, right after the sale of the resort, I met the chief marketing officer for Lamps Plus, which is the largest lighting company in the country, both as distributor and retail. They brought my agency on. The chief marketing officer left Lamps Plus and became the chief marketing officer for Overstock and she brought my agency with her. That made it clear to me that I was not going to go back into hospitality but, rather, follow the advertising and branding space.

The advertising and branding space ebbs and flows. You have great clients, and they can go away next month. I wanted something that was a bit more stable as far as regular revenue coming in every month.

From there, I started looking into various franchises, and I knew I still had a passion for hospitality and wanted to be connected to it in some way. I also thought about how much I love meeting people, and how I’ve mentored hundreds of people in their careers.

In 2020, I had the opportunity to meet the person who would become my future business partner, Casey Chapman, a nearly 20-year tenured cast member of Disney. Casey worked in leadership roles in hotels and technology, and our values and work ethic align so well. In 2022, Casey and I started Freshwater Hospitality Consulting, helping resorts, hotels and RV parks/campgrounds with operational support at every level. We immediately knew that we needed to add recruiting to our list of services and that led to vetting many recruiting platforms, with us eventually deciding on Patrice & Associates.

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?

Czarnecki: I knew that successful franchises offered a recipe for success, and I liked that. But I also knew that many brick-and-mortar franchises entailed several year commitments of going to the “office” each day, which I didn’t want to do. I knew that the franchise I’d be interested in would offer something I was passionate about, something I could work at and scale myself — effort in, effort out. Recruiting fit the bill. I’ve found Patrice & Associates to be a very scalable business, and I can wake up and do it anywhere, whether I’m home or traveling.

1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?

Czarnecki: I looked into many other franchise opportunities — from sandwiches and restaurants to pack and ship stores — and I knew that I didn’t want to be tied to the daily grind of a brick-and-mortar concept. After vetting Patrice & Associates, it became evident that the company offers great technology and a high profit margin business model for the franchisee. That was important to me because when it comes to the food business, for example, I know what the profit margins are and they’re very lean, and you survive on location and the stability of your employees. I certainly didn’t want that burden.

With this brand, I decide my own destiny. I know the profit margin every month doesn’t change and, as long as I am putting in the effort, I know I will see the results.

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth? 

Czarnecki: With Casey Chapman as a business partner, I’m not alone in this new recruiting venture. It’s great to have a partner that I can banter back and forth with every day and motivate each other.

As for our growth — we’ll probably bring on a recruiter under us after our first year, which will be sometime in June, and we will ramp up from there. I like mentoring people, so bringing someone on and then providing them a good living that enhances their life is important.

1851: What is the one thing about your story you want us to know?

Czarnecki: Having a passion for what I’m doing and mentorship is huge for me. Guiding someone in a new career is the most gratifying thing. Sometimes they call you months later and they say it’s the best move they’ve ever made — and I was the driver of that change.

I still love the hospitality industry and I’ve worked my way up through it, working through basically every job in the resort, and I will work side by side with the entire team — my teams always knew that. With recruiting, I can put all my hospitality, marketing and sales knowledge to work in very exciting ways. From a client side, I look forward to having that opportunity to provide them with amazing candidates that make their business excel. From the candidate side, I am looking forward to getting them a new career path that enhances their life. There’s just nothing more gratifying.

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

Czarnecki: If you’re looking to be unbound from the day-to-day, this is the path. If you have great people skills and love meeting new people, and if you have a glass ceiling of compensation, look into franchising.

ABOUT Patrice & Associates:

Patrice & Associates is a recruiting franchise that helps thousands of managerial and executive level candidates every year find rewarding jobs in the hospitality industry and beyond. With strong brand recognition, a flexible business model and a growing footprint, Patrice & Associates has established itself as a leading franchise opportunity in the staffing industry.

Today, with over 175 units in the U.S. and Canada, Patrice & Associates is the largest hospitality executive search firm in the country.


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