Well, I’m on my way to the 7th Annual Edible Arrangements Convention in Orlando, Florida. This is my favorite event of the year as it is the one time a majority of our franchisees get together to plan for the future and learn new ideas for Wowing our millions of guests around the world. And for me, I simply enjoy seeing and spending time with our franchisees, including our international master franchisees from China, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Italy and other countries, as their passion and excitement re-energizes me year after year.

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, I believe it is critical for any organization to hold an annual gathering where all its employees, vendors, franchisees (if you are a franchisor like Edible Arrangements) or anyone connected with your business or cause can meet face-to-face in one place. Sure, some may argue that with the technology today including videoconferencing that the need for in-person gatherings has been diminished. However, I have to disagree. I believe that to really connect, or reconnect, with someone you need to look that person in the eye to truly feel engaged. It’s just more personable. Also, you can learn so much more by listening to and bouncing ideas off of a wider variety of people that only an in-person group setting can provide. Don’t get me wrong, videoconferencing has its place and is very useful in day-to-day long distance interactions, but nothing beats the ability to be able to shake someone’s hand, give them a pat on the back and to simply spend some quality time together.

However, it does take a lot of hard work to hold a successful convention or large scale gathering, but it is well worth it. I have to thank our amazing Edible Arrangements staff and franchisees for their dedication in making each convention better than the last, and for spending the time to decide on a meaningful theme for which all of us can rally around and work towards. The theme for our convention this year is ‘Be Our Guest’ because at Edible Arrangements we are committed to treating our customers (our guests), employees, and vendors as you would treat a guest in your home. All businesses need to take a step back to objectively analyze the service it provides, and take a long look into their DNA and culture to figure out what it is and does that is special. Our convention forces all of us, employees and franchisees, to really look into what Edible Arrangements stands for and strives to be. It also enables us to make sure we are doing all we can to Wow our guests every single time and truly welcome them into the wonderful world of Edible Arrangements.

Next week after I return I’ll let you know some of the new initiatives we discussed at the convention, and let you know if we were truly successful in making our franchisees and vendors feel like guests in our homes.

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