A recipe for franchising success

PFS helps Fire & Rice grow in an intentional, meaningful way

When Paul Schmigdall was stationed in Europe with the U.S. Air Force, he visited the small island of Majorca, off the coast of Spain, where he learned to make paella. The experience inspired him to open Fire & Rice in 2011, bringing authentic paella to Naples, Florida.

“When I first started, franchising wasn’t on my radar. My wife suggested the idea to me,” Schmigdall said. “You only have so many dollars and so much time. Franchising allows you to spread your concept nationally.”

But to do that, Schmigdall needed support from an expert he could trust.

“I looked at 10 different companies in the franchise development realm,” he explained. “Four were willing to meet with me – my idea wasn’t very well-known – but the connection I had with Tom made the difference.”

With a culinary arts degree from Johnson & Wales University and time spent working as a personal chef in Florida, Schmigdall knew the food side of the business. In working with Tom Parks of Premier Franchise Solutions, Schmigdall found someone who knew the franchise sector from several key angles.

“He knew the players in the business, he has connections throughout the industry, he knows franchise development and sales,” Schmigdall said. “We work well together. He’s like my brother now.”

PFS helps Schmigdall target entrepreneurs who are looking to own their own business. “I depend on Tom to help me direct where I place my marketing dollars,” Schmidgall emphasized. “Without Tom’s assistance, we wouldn’t have been able to find and develop our existing franchisees. Because of his dedication, we are looking to onboard three new franchises in 2021.”

As important as the legal and operations side of franchising is, Schmigdall said it’s the relationships that carry the concept forward.

“The franchising community is small, and everyone does try to help each other, but it’s so much easier if you have someone to introduce you,” he said. “Tom knows everybody in the industry. It helps us build trust as we look to grow our brand.”

Schmigdall stressed he also appreciates the patience Premier Franchise Solutions brings to the table, not pushing for expansion that doesn’t fit the business model. Fire & Rice now has three locations.

“We are as selective of our franchisees as we are the ingredients in our food,” he said.

For Schmigdall, franchising is a long-term game. “You plan for controlled growth and you take what the world gives you. I’m a great chef, but franchising isn’t cooking,” he explained. “Having that network of experts to connect with through PFS opens up a whole new world for us.”

Key support from PFS:

  • Premier Franchise Solutions awarded nearly every single franchise in the Fire and Rice System.
  • PFS connected Chef Schmigdall to his attorney and CPA, supporting the business side of the company and creates all marketing content for Fire and Rice
  • Parks helped Fire and Rice through the highs and lows of growing a franchise business, from staying in a Motel 6 while offering support in its early days to sharing space in a Philadelphia hotel with President Obama while building Fire and Rice’s brand.

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