• American Dream
  • Edible Arrangements
  • family
  • Hall of Fame
  • IFA
  • Mentors

There have been many high points over the course of my entrepreneurial journey, but I can’t think of any that compare to this past Sunday when I was honored with the International Franchise Association’s Hall of Fame Award.

To receive such an incredible honor was humbling.Not long ago I asked a good friend how he was doing and he said, “better than I deserve.” I thought that was an incredible response, and considering what many people are facing, I feel the same way. I am blessed. My LORD has been very merciful and I can never be thankful enough for His blessings.

Tariq Farid Hall of Fame award

Receiving the Hall of Fame award from Jay Duke and IFA Board Chair Shelly Sun.

As I was preparing for the ceremony, I couldn’t help but think of all those that have supported me and influenced me over the years. There are so many people to thank for helping me along the way. It is due to their kindness and generosity of others that I have been able to fulfill many of my dreams.

First, of course, were my wonderful mother and father and all my brothers and sisters.

As many of you know, I arrived with my family in this country as a young boy and we had very little. At 13, I got my first job at a flower shop thanks to the kindness of a small business owner named Charlie Farricielli. If not for him, I likely would have never have had the urge to become an entrepreneur.

I worked at Burger King when I was 15 because my father worked there for one of the hardest working franchisees I have ever known. Little did I know that this was the start of an amazing franchising journey that would eventually lead me to where I am today.

At 16, I took a job at McDonald’s where I began learning about systems and franchising. It was the best job I ever had, and the experience came in handy years later when I started Edible because a person, who became our very first franchisee, walked in asking if I had considered franchising. I hadn’t, but I knew what he was talking about because of my experience at McDonalds.

Then in 1986, at the age of 17, I opened my first flower shop because my father’s boss was kind enough to give me a $6,000 loan.

In 1999, when we launched Edible, many of you reading this — as well as many who are no longer with us — were there to help me along the way.  Being in Connecticut, I was inspired by Fred DeLuca (may he rest in peace). He was always kind to me and always took time to offer me amazing ideas and advice. Fred was the best mentor I ever had, and I remember him saying “you will do great” – that was all the encouragement I needed!

The power of franchising

One reason I was so honored to receive the Hall of Fame award is that it was from the world’s premier franchising organization. And franchising has allowed me to accomplish more than I ever dreamed possible. The power of franchising cannot be overstated.

Franchising does not care about who you are or where you are from. If you are willing to put in the effort, you can succeed.  Even an immigrant who came to this country at a very young age and could not speak English was able to achieve the American Dream and build a thriving, international business.

That’s the power of franchising.

Franchising allows us to help others realize their dreams and enjoy the prosperity and independence that business ownership provides. There are many, many inspirational stories of men and women who started out with little money or experience and used franchising to become successful entrepreneurs.

That’s the power of franchising.

In today’s crazy world that often seems out of control, franchising offers stability and familiarity to people no matter where they live. Last year I was delighted to find a brand spanking new McDonalds open in the town where I was born – a town which previously did not have any national brands and was off the beaten path.

There were lines out the door and I could see that every other business around was trying to capture some of that magic and to catch up to the high standards offered at McDonald’s. Franchises take America to the people, no matter where they are. It is a beacon of hope, a carrier of dreams and a foundation of stability.

That’s the power of franchising.

Franchising offers an incredible introduction to the workforce for many young men and women. For many, the first job is at a franchise where they learn business and management skills. They learn the value of customer service. They learn the importance of being on time and of having responsibility. Franchising has launched the careers of countless numbers of successful people by giving them the skills they need in this world. That’s what it did for me.

That’s the power of franchising.

Those of us involved in franchising have an obligation to continue to protect the virtues that have made franchising an indispensable part of society and people’s lives around the world. And we must continue seeking ways to encourage people to work together, to welcome others who may act or look different than they do, to have hope, and to dream.

Special “Thank You’s”

Finally, I want to specifically thank a few people who led me on my path to where I am today.

I want to thank our amazing franchisees who invested their lives and their future with us, and our incredible team members. Without them there would never be an “Edible.” They are the most incredible people and most of them have been busy this week spreading love for Valentine’s Day.

A special thanks to my friend and franchise attorney, Oracle Stuart Hershman, and for that matter everyone at DLA PIPER . I met Stuart when I had only few franchise stores and I am lucky I met him. He has made me a better franchise partner and his support and counsel has been invaluable during the most difficult of times. For 20 years the word most spoken in our company has been, “Ask Stuart.” I thank him for his guidance.

Of course, I can’t forget those whom sacrifice the most when we entrepreneurs get passionate about our business. I want to thank my sweet daughters and my boys for their sacrifice. I thank them for always loving me more than I deserve. My oldest daughter is working with me now and I have known no greater joy and I look forward to passing the baton to her one day.

And finally, there is the most important person in my life, my wife Asma. She is my rock. I could not have done any of this without her. She is the most brilliant person I know and if it was not for her partnership, none of this would have happened. She keeps me on track and has made me better every day.

My journey has been such a blessing and yesterday’s honor was a most beautiful addition to an incredible journey. But I could never have done it myself, so Thank You again to all those that have been there along the way.

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