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Living Up to Our Own Standards: A Special Valentine’s Day Message

posted by Tariq Farid February 16, 2012

Certified Happiness. It’s not just a catchy tagline, but rather a very real philosophy that is taken seriously as a corporate goal by all of us here at Edible Arrangements. We hold ourselves to the highest standards, and make superior customer service a priority at all times. That’s why when we don’t completely live up to those standards, there is no one who is more disappointed about it than us. After all, our mission is to WOW you each and every time.

It pleases me greatly to know that our Edible Arrangements franchisees brought happiness to more people this Valentine’s Day than ever before. In locations across America and around the world, they worked tirelessly to fulfill hundreds of thousands of orders on our busiest day of the year, and are eminently proud to service their local communities.

That said, there were also some customers whose orders were either delivered in an untimely fashion, or not delivered at all. And for this, I personally apologize. It may have been a small percentage of you, but as far as I’m concerned, if we successfully fulfill a thousand orders and miss one, then we have fallen short of our mission.

Edible Arrangements Fruit Experts are among the most dedicated and passionate franchisees in the world. As such, they hold themselves accountable when things go wrong—as we all do on the Edible Arrangements team. When standards are not met, we all seek to address the problems promptly and effectively. This is why our franchisees are working around the clock to do just that.

We are already hard at work revamping our operations and formulating strategies to minimize these issues going forward. In short, we are learning from what went wrong this time around.

To all those customers and recipients whose Valentine’s Day was brightened by Edible Arrangements, I thank you for placing your confidence in us, and allowing us to help you share your love. Without you and your support, we would never have been able to build the Edible Arrangements brand in the first place. And if we missed our mark for any of you, do not hesitate to reach out and let us know. Your voices will be heard, and I can assure you that all our owners will do whatever it takes to make it up to you. Because certifying happiness is more than a mission statement—it’s our way of life.

Edible ArrangementsEntrepreneurshipFranchise OpportunitiesFranchising and FranchiseesTechnology

ICFE – Never Stop Learning

posted by Tariq Farid February 14, 2012

I’ve just returned from a two-day special training session sponsored by the Institute of Certified Franchise Executives (ICFE). ICFE held this session right before the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) 52nd Annual Convention so franchise executives could attend both with only one trip away from their businesses. I could not stay for the entire IFA Convention as it conflicted with Valentine’s Day – one of the biggest holidays of the year for Edible Arrangements, but as a Certified Franchise Executive I did not want to miss out on the opportunity to present at one of the ICFE sessions. I was honored to be asked to be a part of the “Managing System Change – Challenges and Opportunities” training session. The session was moderated by Michael Seid, CEO and Managing Partner of MSA Worldwide. Michael has been a huge influence in my life and has helped guide me since the very beginning (I’ll save that story for another blog entry). Other presenters were Kay Ainsley, CFE, Managing Director at MSA Worldwide; John Francis, Strategic Business Advisor at PostNet International Franchise Corporation and Stuart Hershmann, Partner at the law firm of DLA Piper, whose area of expertise is franchise law and who has been Edible Arrangements external franchise attorney, and trusted friend, for many years.

The session focused on the unique challenges of managing change in the context of the franchisor/franchisee relationship and understanding the types of things that drive change: brand innovation, pricing strategies, different classes of franchisee ownership, second generation franchisee ownership, international expansion, mergers and acquisitions, and introducing or eliminating products and services. We also explored case histories with examples of successful and unsuccessful change strategies.

I am particularly interested in the subject of change in business because to me, change is synonymous with growth. A smart company continuously examines its product offerings and operational procedures, and measures what it’s doing against what customers want. If you are not adapting to respond to consumer’s ever-changing appetites, market trends, economic conditions and other factors that directly impact your business, you are not growing. And when you’re not growing, your business is dying. It’s that simple.

ICFE offers a wide range of continuing education programs to franchise executives for professional development. They also offer a certification program that leads to the “Certified Franchise Executive” (CFE) designation. . For more information on becoming a Certified Franchise Executive visit the IFA website.

Technology

Newest Store in UAE: Al Ain

posted by Tariq Farid January 18, 2012

I still get energized every time a new store opens anywhere, but there’s a particular thrill that comes with opening a new store in a whole new area of a country. The excitement of bringing Edible Arrangements to a new set of people to be amazed by our products is so gratifying, and I love knowing that another new business owner will be bringing happiness to these customers for years to come.

On January 18 Grand Opening ceremonies were held celebrating the newest Edible Arrangements store in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. This store is in Al Ain, the fourth largest city in the UAE, which is located on the border with Oman. Our other store in Abu Dhabi is located on the other side of the country in the capital city of Abu Dhabi on the central western coast of the Persian Gulf, so we’re excited to bring the concept to a brand new region of Abu Dhabi.

This newest store is owned by well-known businessman Mohammed Al Khazraji. H.E. Sheikh Salem Bin Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Rakadh Alamir, Member of the Federal National Council, was a guest of honor at the Grand Opening gala. The store is in a fabulous location at the entrance of the new Jumeirah Hotel which is part of the prestigious Al Ain Mall in the heart of Al Kuwaitat district.

I was so impressed when I first met Mohamed – his business background in IT, food service and the international franchise industry, his education, and his commitment to preserving and enriching his culture. And I consider it an honor that part of that enrichment includes Edible Arrangements. Mohammed’s family has owned an Al Ain based local cuisine catering establishment for the past 20 years. A seasoned IT professional and successful entrepreneur, Mohamed takes his responsibilities towards society seriously as an active member of the renowned charitable organization Wataniya, among others. Mohammed wanted to open an Edible Arrangements business enterprise because he felt that our concept would work well in the niche Arab and Expatriate communities. Now that I’ve met some of them and seen their reactions, I totally agree with his assessment! Mohammed is planning to open more branches in other parts of the district in the coming months, and if the reception he has gotten here is an indicator, his other locations will be just as well received.

Technology

Growing His Enterprise

posted by Tariq Farid December 1, 2011

Fred has taken ownership of his second Edible Arrangements store in Mississauga, Ontario in Canada. He opened his first location, also in Mississauga in April of 2010. It was obviously the right choice. In July of 2011, Fred was awarded the “Pineapple Star” award for Canada, one of Edible Arrangements prestigious awarded presented each year at the annual Edible Arrangements Convention. Why did he win this word? Because his passionate about his work -and life. I’ve always believed that if you are passionate in what you do, you will succeed. Fred is the perfect example of a passionate person, as well as an amazing person and franchisee.

While Fred works with fruit now, his background traces to the very soil his products come from! He earned his undergraduate degree in Physical Geography and Geology, and did graduate work-in soil science. Fred then worked in the educational publishing industry, and the not for profit sector working for industry trade associations and community organizations.

When Fred decided to look for franchise opportunities, he did what most researchers do – started on the internet. Fred discovered the Edible Arrangements concepts, and was immediately drawn to the healthy nature of the product, which can be hard to find in a food franchise. He was further attracted by the uniqueness of the concept in the marketplace and the fact that Edible Arrangements has no direct competitors. Fred and his wife, a Registered Nurse, have two children and a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.

Technology

Finding His True Calling -Edible Arrangements

posted by Tariq Farid December 1, 2011

Gurpaul

One of the most frequent answers we get when we ask franchisees and prospective franchisees how they first heard about Edible Arrangements is one of the simplest: they received an arrangement as a gift. And that is the case with Gurpaul, who recently signed an agreement to open stores in Elmhurst and Howard Beach in the borough of Queens, in New York City. Gurpaul is no stranger to franchising: he currently owns five cell phone stores, and has been in the cell phone business since 2000. Prior to that, Gurpaul worked as an inventory specialist for major department stores. When he received his arrangement, he loved the concept, and investigated franchise opportunities. His customer service experience in the cell phone business and inventory skills will serve him well at Edible Arrangements. Superior customer service coupled with our beautiful and delicious products come together to give our customers the total “Edible Arrangements Experience” that is the cornerstone of success for an Edible Arrangements location. Gurpaul is well positioned to use his franchise business background to develop a successful Edible Arrangements business enterprise.