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On the Road with Franchisees

posted by Tariq Farid September 12, 2011

People love to watch the TV show “Undercover Boss” and see how CEOs act when they are out in the field incognito. I could never be a part of that show, because I’m never undercover – I go on the road meeting and visiting with franchisees all the time. It’s one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things about my job! I love to talk with them about how they first heard about Edible Arrangements, and why they decided to buy a franchise. Their stories vary, but they all have a common theme . . . people buy Edible Arrangements franchises because they are passionate about making people happy, and they know they can be successful putting that passion to work for them.

Earlier this year I had the chance to meet one of the youngest franchisees in our system. Right out of college Kristen got a job as a bank teller but she had a dream of one day owning her own business. “One day” came sooner than she expected. Her Dad had received several gifts from Edible Arrangements and began the initial research into the franchise on Kristen’s behalf. Kristen soon learned that a store about an hour from her home was for sale. She took a look, and a week and half later, quit her job, packed up and moved, and began running her Edible Arrangements store.

Kristen admits that when she first bought the business she was a bit “terrified” but she also felt like this was the perfect time in her life to own her own business. This was June of 2009, when many recession-fearing folks were hunkering down, not knowing what the economy held in store. Kristen knew she had what it takes to be successful and went for it! She learned marketing, took accounting courses, and is always looking for new ideas to grow her business.

And she’s moving fast, too! In just two years, Kristen has gone from being a single unit owner to the owner of three stores located in Oakville, Burlington and Milton, Ontario. At first she felt like she was living out of her car, bouncing back and forth from each store to get things done, but she’s quickly become a true enterprise owner. She feels like her employees are “her kids” even though, at 25, she’s hardly a mother hen.

Kristen loves dealing with customers and making arrangements but she really appreciates being in control and charting her own course. She knows she can’t be in three places at once, so she has put great people in each of her stores. She says she’s still a “rookie” in terms of tenure with the system, but she doesn’t feel like one and she makes the big business decisions for her enterprise to prove that she doesn’t manage like one, either.

When I met Kristen a few months back I was stuck by her energy, enthusiasm and drive to get the business to where she wants it to be. She was straightening out the basement on my visit – not an area her customers were ever going to see, but she just wanted everything in order. I was so impressed by that – here was a person who knew that running a business smoothly means everything is in order and operating well, from your products, to your customer service, to the back end of your operation that no one ever sees.

This July I shared Kristen’s story with other franchisees at our annual convention, and honored her work with the President’s Award, the highest award presented annually to a deserving franchisee! And I’ll keep going out on the road meeting and learning about the amazing franchisees in this system – but not undercover!

Manager Courtney, Kristen and Tariq


Dream it, Do it!

posted by Tariq Farid September 12, 2011

How many people in life actually fulfill their dreams? I don’t have a number, but I have an idea that those who do are the ones who don’t just dream about what they want – they take action to get it. A common dream in the business world is the dream of owning your own business, being your own boss and creating an enterprise that gives you the financial and professional rewards you deserve.

And those attainable dreams are the reasons that many entrepreneurs who want their own business are attracted to franchising. It’s the perfect way to own your own enterprise and at the same time reap the many significant benefits of being something bigger. Leveraged marketing dollars, brand recognition, reputation and product reliability are just some of the benefits of buying into a successful franchise. Let me share a typical story from one of our recent additions to the Edible Arrangements family:

Pallavi was impressed with Edible Arrangements when she first experienced the product at a baby shower – beautiful, delicious and fresh. She tucked the experience away and when it was time for her to buy a gift, her positive Edible Arrangements experience came back to her. When her children were in school full time, she starting to think about getting a job, but that dream of owning something of her own was still in the back of her mind. Searching a business website, she came across Edible Arrangements again, and remembered her positive experiences once more. This time, the dream started to take shape. Her father owns several businesses in Pallavi’s hometown and she was confident that that early exposure to blending business and family life would work for her – she understood the commitment and passion that are necessary for a business to succeed. Pallavi’s decision to buy into the Edible Arrangements concept and open her first store in Lafayette, LA was easy for her – she enjoys the product herself, and believes in doing something that promotes healthy lifestyles. And she likes the idea that the products she sells make people happy.

And so, a dream of owning a business comes true. All you need is passion and commitment to your concept. And to stop dreaming and start doing!

Pallovi with her husband Steven


Husband and Wife Open their Sixth Store in Colorado

posted by Tariq Farid September 2, 2011

Husband and wife, Tony and Jennifer, have opened their sixth Edible Arrangements store in Colorado Springs . Tony and Jennifer’s five other stores are located in Arvada, Aurora, Colorado Springs, Denver and Parker, Colorado. They have expanded their enterprise rapidly since opening their first store in the summer of 2006. Family and community are important to Tony and Jennifer and it’s a combination of their focus on customer service and attention to detail that have generated such good will in their area. After noticing a flyer in a local newspaper, the couple decided Edible Arrangements provided an excellent business model and an opportunity that would benefit both their family and community. We are so pleased to be able to share in their success. Please be sure to visit one of their stores soon.


Pledge of Health & Happiness

posted by Tariq Farid August 11, 2011

This week Edible Arrangements is inviting people everywhere to take the “Pledge of Health & Happiness.” This pledge is our way of promoting healthier lifestyles – supporting First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative to fight childhood obesity and the USDA recommendation that one half of a person’s daily food intake consist of fresh fruit and vegetables. To help people understand the importance of healthy eating we are encouraging people to take the pledge to eat a minimum of 8 oz of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. When people take the pledge, we reward them with a free pineapple daisy pop to get them started on increasing their daily fruit intake with a special treat!
Yesterday franchisees and members of the Edible Arrangements corporate team went to New York City to jump start our “pledge week” efforts, and the results were phenomenal! We had street teams handing out information about the pledge, and consumers were responding right away. They went to Edible Arrangements stores to take the pledge and get their free pineapple pop. Our store on Broadway handed out over 4,000 pops before we left at 4 PM . . . and the pledges are still going strong. People can also take the pledge on our Facebook page – we’ll email you a voucher for your free pineapple pop! The pledge count on our Facebook page this morning was over 40,000! It’s great to see so many people pledging to eat more fruits and vegetables as a means to a healthier way of living . . . Join Us!


Inc. Fruit Bouquets in Every Time Zone

posted by Tariq Farid July 18, 2011

By Nicole Carter July 14, 2011

How do you keep a smooth supply chain when you sell perishable goods on an international scale? Edible Arrangements’s co-founder and COO Kamran Farid shares his secret.

(Edible Arrangements’s co-founder and COO Kamran Farid talks about supply chain challenges and solutions as the company continues to expand overseas.)

In 1999, the first Edible Arrangements store, which offered delivery fruit bouquets, opened in East Haven, Connecticut. Today, founders and brothers Tariq and Kamran Farid have an empire over 1,000 stores, spanning 10 countries like Italy, Saudi Arabia, Puerto Rico, and Turkey. But banking their business on perishable fruit bouquets poses unique supply chain challenges as the company continues to expand overseas. Kamran, the company’s COO, recently spoke to‘s Nicole Carter.

When you are considering entering a market overseas, what are the initial steps?
We actually go there, scout out the produce markets and local farms. That’s step one. We try to figure out what they grow, and if that can compliment what we want to sell. When you look at our arrangements, there are five or six basic fruits. If we find the fruits we are looking for, we then look at sizing, pricing, what the yeilds would be (since the box units vary in size from place to place), and then we see if the price model will work.

What happens if a foreign market doesn’t produce one of your desired fruits locally?
We either fly in the item or compliment with a similar local item. Take pineapples—which don’t grow everywhere. The pineapples used in our Dubai or Saudi Arabia stores are usually flown in from somewhere else, like Costa Rica. Also, the best strawberries are usually from right here in the United States. We ship those to a lot of our overseas markets. Our dry goods are also, for the most part, shipped in. We’ve actually just opened a warehouse in Dubai, which helps streamline a lot of the shipping process. If we can’t ship in, we substitute with something similar in color, taste, and texture. We try to find a balance.

What if the locals don’t like the fruits in the traditional arrangements?
This is, of course, something else we consider. What does the local market want? In Saudi Arabia, you’ll see dates in the arrangements, which is a local favorite.

What was the biggest challenge when you guys decided to expand?
Definitely picking the right producers to partner with. We need a partner that is a master in that market, because it’s very important to have someone that can help further develop the brand. We say no to a lot of deals, but I’m okay with that. It’s about quality. Bottomline: If we can’t do an item and do it well, I don’t want to be there.

Which international location has been growing the fastest?
Saudi Arabia is a top market and so is Dubai. There’s a lot of extra income in those markets and, when it comes time to give a unique gift, we do well.

What’s next on the international check list?
Korea. China. We just signed a deal in India, and we will be opening soon. But there’s no longterm list. We are doing this one step at a time, because we want to be good at it.

It seems that there is quite a cross-cultural demand for fruit bouquets!
That’s the beauty of fruit. We can adapt it to whatever holiday or culture because at the end of the day, people like eating fruit.