Edible Arrangements

Edible Arrangements® Announces Partnership With geoVue

posted by Tariq Farid August 4, 2010

WALLINGFORD, CT — 08/03/10 — Edible Arrangements®, the pioneer and leader in hand-sculpted, fresh-fruit arrangements, has partnered with geoVue, a leading provider of site selection, market optimization and sales forecasting solutions for retailers and restaurants. Edible Arrangements® will use geoVue’s iPLAN software to determine the best markets and locations for future expansion of Edible Arrangements® stores.

“With geoVue’s advanced technology, we are better able to support our franchisees by providing them valuable information to aid in their new development decisions,” said Tariq Farid, Founder and CEO, Edible Arrangements®, Inc. “We are now better equipped to forecast what markets and trade areas to target in order to maximize the business opportunities for our franchisees. This new resource will assist in enabling us to reach our goal of 1,000 units by the end of 2010.”

As part of the company’s aggressive growth strategy, Edible Arrangements® is seeking to add several new development agreements in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, and other areas of the United States, while expanding its presence to India, Brazil, Mexico, Spain and Canada.

“We are excited to partner with Edible Arrangements® to help aid in the company’s strategic growth plans, and we look forward to playing a part in their continued success,” said Jim Stone, President and Founder, geoVue. “The right easy-to-use analytical tools will assist them in effective future development decisions.”

Since its inception, Edible Arrangements® has earned countless accolades from the franchise industry, including its ranking as first in its category by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Annual “Franchise 500” Ranking for the past five consecutive years and the winner of the ICSC’s 2010 Hot Retailer Award. In addition, the company has also ranked for six consecutive years in Inc. Magazine’s top 5,000 fastest growing privately-held companies.

Individuals seeking to own and operate an individual Edible Arrangements® franchise should possess a minimum liquidity of $60,000 and the ability to invest approximately $147,000 -$261,000. Multi-unit store development plans, international master franchisee licenses and financing options are also available for qualified applicants. For more information for franchise opportunities call 888.727.4258.

About Edible Arrangements®

Edible Arrangements® International, Inc. is the leading purveyor of delicious, high quality, artistically designed, fresh fruit arrangements that are practical and healthy gifts. Founded in 1999 in East Haven, CT by Tariq Farid, Edible Arrangements® has over 965 locations operating or opening soon worldwide. Edible Arrangements® is rapidly expanding across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Italy, Turkey and Hong Kong. Customers may order arrangements by telephone at 1-877-DO-FRUIT, at one of the company’s retail stores, or on-line at http://www.ediblearrangements.com.

All franchise offerings are made only by Franchise Disclosure Document.

Edible Arrangements

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) ‘Brands’ Hotest Retailer

posted by Tariq Farid June 4, 2010

BusinessWire – The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) has announced the winner of its 2010 “Hot Retailer” award, which recognizes innovative retail concepts that are driving consumers into shopping centers around the world. Based on a survey of ICSC’s worldwide members, Edible Arrangements was chosen as one of the “hottest” concepts and Edible Arrangements have received the award during ICSC’s Global Retail Real Estate Convention, RECon, on Tuesday, May 25, 2010, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“ICSC is pleased to announce and award its ‘Hot Retailer Award’ to retailers that have worked hard to create products and services that drive customers to shopping centers around the world,” said Michael P. Kercheval, ICSC’s president and CEO. “These retailers create exciting and interesting shopping experiences that contribute to the success of the shopping centers that have them as tenants. ICSC is pleased to add these five retailers to our annual list of ‘Hot Retailers’ and spotlight them during RECon,” Kercheval added.
This year’s Hottest Retailer is:Edible Arrangements®

Edible Arrangements® has a fresh fruit bouquet to make any occasion special – from birthdays, anniversaries and congratulations to business events and client gifts. Bouquets are made fresh with premium fruit arranged in a variety of stunning displays. Customers can visit one of the chain’s 940 stores worldwide, order online or via phone. Each bouquet can be complemented with chocolate dipped fruit including dipped strawberries, dipped pineapple daisies, dipped banana slices, dipped Granny Smith apple wedges and more! Make every occasion special with Edible Arrangements(R).

As the pioneer and leader in hand-sculpted, fresh-fruit arrangements, Edible Arrangements experienced strong growth in 2009 with the opening of 74 new stores and franchise agreements for more than 85 locations in the U.S. and internationally. In addition, development agreements have been signed with new and existing franchisees for the opening of more than 85 stores in the U.S., Rome, Hong Kong and Turkey. For more information, visit http://www.ediblearrangements.com .

Edible Arrangements

Edible Arrangements Relishes Rosy Outlook

posted by Tariq Farid April 22, 2010

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — What do you do when you’re a purveyor known for pricey, if unique, gifts during a recession? You spend more on advertising — and debunk brand myths.
Leveraging a combination of a national campaign, a unified franchisee strategy and a revised message that caters to consumers’ recessionary concerns, Edible Arrangements International is seeing traction in the area that matters most: sales.

The fresh-fruit-arrangement delivery service earlier this year launched a national campaign, only its second in 10 years, titled “Pass It On.” It promotes the edible bouquets as surprisingly affordable gifts suitable year-round, not just in holiday seasons. Hot Dish Advertising, Minneapolis, handled creative, while Mediacom handled media buying.

The privately held company boasts tripled consumer brand awareness since its debut national campaign in 2008. Helming ad efforts is VP-Marketing Stephen Thomas. Mr. Thomas is a veteran of Burger King, where he served as a marketing director for a multi-unit franchisee, and Subway, where he served as manager-marketing planning and analysis and was part of the marketing team that launched the nutritional campaign featuring “Seven Subs Under 6 Grams of Fat.” He joined Edible Arrangements in 2007 as VP-strategic alliances, overseeing partnerships with entertainment companies such as Disney and Nickelodeon.

Moving into his current role later that same year, he reports to Tariq Farid, CEO, and oversees consumer research, strategic alliances, storefront image, web development, the customer order center, product development, field marketing, advertising development, and media planning and execution. Mr. Thomas won’t disclose the company’s annual marketing budget, but says it has increased each year since 2007, and that “sales have been positive.” In a recent interview with Ad Age, he discussed why consumer feedback is so vital and why price-cutting hasn’t been necessary.

Ad Age: Why launch a national campaign again, and why now?

Mr. Thomas: It’s the evolution of our campaign. This was the year we made significant change creatively in the advertising, but really, it’s designed against the same strategy, which is to increase our customer base and grow sales.
We spent the last couple years trying to educate folks on who we are and what we do. That was 2008’s message, what I like to call emotional education, then last year we evolved that into more of a promotional-type education. We follow the gift-category purchase cycles. Holidays are peak periods for us. So this year has been about, how do we take the insights we’ve gleaned to grow our business base? To acquire customers from the huge gift category requires that we’re in front of consumers educating them on why Edible Arrangements is really a good choice in light of the other options.

Ad Age: What’s your overarching marketing philosophy?

Mr. Thomas: You need to talk to consumers a lot and in a few different ways, regardless of what industry you’re in. You need to keep a pulse on what the levers are. At Edible Arrangements, we know the strengths our product has — it offers the beauty of flowers, but you can actually eat it; we know we score high on freshness and health and quality — [so the question is] how do I bring that to people in a way that convinces them to try it? Those insights come from the customer, in many cases.

Ad Age: Have you had to cut prices in the recession?

Mr. Thomas: We have not discounted but instead we have educated customers that our products are every bit as affordable as flower arrangements, [for example]. It removes the perceived cost barrier because a lot of users didn’t realize we had lower-cost items.
You cannot only eat [our product], you can count on it to be delicious and fresh every time, so that was inherent value we had to make sure we were getting across to consumers, as well.

Ad Age: What media did you use in the campaign?

Mr. Thomas: TV, print and online, primarily. This year for the first time we incorporated a new target and a new medium, which was radio. Our typical target is women age 25-54. And those are primarily the people we speak to most of the year. However, there have been times that our research has shown that they’re not doing a majority of the purchasing. So this year for the first time we targeted men pre-Valentine’s Day. The flight broke Jan. 27 and we came off on Feb. 10.

We advertised on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. Fortunately for us, all of the pre-Super Bowl hype fell right in the middle of everything, and we used that to our advantage to educate men on Edible Arrangements. Twenty-five percent of incremental orders were attributed to the Valentine’s Day male-targeted media plan in some way.

Ad Age: What consumer research informed your efforts with the campaign, both in terms of creative and media strategy?

Mr. Thomas: We do focus groups a couple times a year and we try to move around the country to get the brand in front of users and non-users. We talk to non-users about why they don’t buy from us, so it helps us, in many cases, uncover perceived obstacles. There was a perception that we were more expensive than we really are. We have our ongoing tracking study; we talk to about 2,400 consumers a year. It helps us measure the market, the overall gift category, both direct and indirect competitors.

Ad Age: To what extent was social media employed in the campaign and general marketing efforts?

Mr. Thomas: We’ve only recently started to leverage what we feel are the benefits of it. It’s an important way to stay connected to our customers. Facebook has been most successful for us. We do use Twitter also and we have a MySpace page, but we use Facebook the most to connect. We’ll ask questions, we’ll post surveys.

In October we launched a Facebook application to grow our user base and market to them. We hit the number in less than four days. Our fan base is at 183,000 at this point. We drove the Facebook customers into our system with a free giveaway, then we gave them another incentive to come back.

Ad Age:Why did you become an upfront advertiser for the 2009 and 2010 TV seasons?

Mr. Thomas: Efficiencies. We did move into the upfront market at the right time given television costs. We wanted to take advantage of Group M’s significant pool of money to buy television. (Media agency Mediacom is part of Group M.)
We were putting more into TV at a time when others were cutting back, and we just came along at the right time with more dollars than ever before when prices were lower, and that helps you establish favorable base rates for future buys.

Ad Age:In the midst of this recession, what demands are being placed on you, specifically, and what are you doing to deliver on those expectations?

Mr. Thomas:I’m responsible for driving traffic that results in growing revenue profitably for our franchisees — all the time. That means we’re always working to beat comp sales from the same week last year. Ultimately, to be successful under this kind of pressure you need to use the best resources you can, which means surrounding yourself with talented and smart staff and agency people who are dedicated and insightful. It also means finding the right mix between data and instinct. So while we may not be winning Clios, if my franchisees’ sales are growing and we’re building our brand successfully, that’s really accomplishing a much more important goal.

Edible Arrangements

Edible Arrangements Launches First National Television Campaign Targeting Men

posted by Tariq Farid January 28, 2010

Fresh Fruit Retail Leader Launches 2010 National Advertising Campaign With Exclusive on ESPN

WALLINGFORD, CT–(Marketwire – 01/27/10) – Edible Arrangements, the pioneer and leader in hand-sculpted, fresh-fruit arrangements, announced today the launch of its 2010 national advertising campaign on January 27, 2010 on ESPN and ESPN2. The campaign marks the first time Edible Arrangements has targeted men with its national television advertising. The integrated marketing effort will also include national print, online and radio advertising promoting its products for Valentine’s Day.

The campaign entitled “Upstaged” features a man getting ready for his girlfriend to arrive for a romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day. A red, heart-shaped box of chocolate sits on the coffee table, with a smooth-talking voice emanating from the box declaring that it’s “showtime.” When the girlfriend enters she spots her gift on the table and breaks into a huge smile. Then the camera pans to reveal the object of her excitement — an Edible Arrangements’ Berry Chocolate Bouquet. The dejected heart-shaped box of chocolate realizes he has competition from a new “ultimate wingman” — Edible Arrangements.

By using humor and storytelling in its new campaign, the program adds depth to Edible Arrangements’ previous television spots that focused primarily on educating consumers on its brand and products. Since its original campaign aired in 2008, Edible Arrangements has seen its advertising and brand awareness triple among consumers.

“The ‘Upstaged’ campaign supports Edible Arrangements’ focus on customer acquisition in 2010 by targeting simple gift choices consumers make during key holidays like Valentine’s Day,” said Stephen Thomas, Vice President of Marketing for Edible Arrangements. “Our campaign execution is respectfully comparative, while communicating Edible Arrangements as a fresher, more unique gift option for consumers.”

The “Upstaged” TV ads will debut on ESPN and ESPN2 during NCAA and NBA basketball programming, as well as during the NFL Pro Bowl and pre- and post-Super Bowl coverage during SportsCenter. Additional advertising will run on espn.com, ESPN Radio, Westwood One and in ESPN The Magazine. MediaCom, the brand’s media buying agency, chose ESPN since the network can effectively reach its new strategic target audience through multiple mediums, representing an ideal environment to deliver the brand’s message in TV, radio, online and print.

“Upstaged” will be followed by a second national TV, print and online campaign launching in late February called “Pass It On.” These branding spots illustrate how an Edible Arrangements’ bouquet can create transferrable happiness by showing people celebrating special moments in their lives with its fresh-fruit arrangements. The product is passed from one occasion to the next as people find new reasons to share happiness with their loved ones through a bouquet. The campaign will feature various non-major holiday occasions such as birthdays, get well or anniversaries and the tag line — Happiness is always in season. This campaign will air on national TV, print and online.

“The ‘Pass It On’ initiative addresses Edible Arrangements’ effort to build greater frequency among our current customer base,” said Thomas. “By showcasing how Edible Arrangements can be shared during special occasions and not just holidays, we’re confident consumers will begin to think of our fresh-fruit arrangements more often in 2010.”

The advertising campaign was created by Hot Dish Advertising. The television spots were directed by Kenny Morrison.

About Edible Arrangements

Edible Arrangements International, Inc. is the leading purveyor of delicious, high quality, artistically designed fresh fruit arrangements that are a practical and healthy gift delivering happiness no matter the season. Founded in 1999 in East Haven, Conn. by Tariq Farid, Edible Arrangements earned the 48th spot on Entrepreneur’s 2009 Franchise 500 ranking. Edible Arrangements has more than 900 operating locations worldwide and is rapidly expanding with franchises across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Italy, Qatar, Turkey, Hong Kong and throughout the United Arab Emirates. Customers may order arrangements by telephone 1-877-DO-FRUIT, at one of the company’s retail stores, or online at EdibleArrangements.com.

Edible Arrangements

The Boss-Bouquets That Bear Fruit

posted by Tariq Farid November 9, 2009

I WAS born in Pakistan and came to the United States in 1981, when I was 11. My grandfather owned a farm in Pakistan and we had been fairly well-to-do. We started at the bottom when we came here. My father found a job as a machinist during the day and worked at McDonald’s and Burger King at night.

All five of my siblings pitched in. I delivered newspapers to 300 houses. Instead of putting the paper into the mailbox, I’d deliver it to the door. I got great tips. When I was 13, a flower shop hired me to water the flowers. Soon I was taking care of orders. By 16, I had learned a lot.

One day my father found a flower shop for sale in the paper. The owner wanted $6,000. My dad asked me if I could run the shop, and I said sure. We got a cash advance and a loan from a friend. I thought I’d negotiate, and asked the owner what terms he was offering. He looked at me as if to say, “What can this kid possibly know?”

We opened a week before Easter and earned about $50 a day. I stayed open until 7 p.m., seven days a week, because few other flower shops did. I thought $350 a week was wonderful. Soon, sales doubled, and I was shocked. Five years later, we had three shops and were making close to $1 million a year. I said we needed to make more, about $5,000 a day. My mother asked me if I remembered when I was making $50 a day and she suggested that I relax. I told her that it never really ends, and that I could achieve that goal.

It was a lot of work. I didn’t really have a social life. We stayed open on holidays. On my way to high school, I’d drop off my mother at the shop. She spoke no English, so I told her what to do to supervise the two employees. After school I’d make flower arrangements and deliver them myself until I could hire a driver.

I attended college part-time, but I started weighing the benefit against what I was making. I decided to put off school, and I never finished. I was so young when I started a career that I blindly jumped into it.

Edible Arrangements®, which I started in 1999 with my brother, Kamran, goes back to our roots. In Pakistan, my father always brought home tons of fruit for us. When we started the company, we created basic fruit arrangements that included fresh pineapple, strawberries, cantaloupe and more, and later added extras like chocolate and cinnamon toppings.

We got 30 orders the first day. We had learned from our flower stores, so this time did everything right. A stranger asked about opening a store, which gave us the idea to franchise them. I knew nothing about the franchise industry, so I contacted an association for the names of experts and found Michael Seid. He gave great advice.

I’ve started several other companies. One is FrutationTM by Edible Arrangements®, which includes salads and fruit drinks. They’re sold in Edible Arrangements® stores and stand-alone stores. I also started Netsolace®, which provides software for the franchise industry. Another, BerryDirect, offers containers, vases and other products to our Edible Arrangements® franchisees and other companies. I just started the Farid Capital Corporation, a financing company that helps franchisees buy equipment.

When I was starting out, I used to give my mother $50 a week. When I wanted to buy a building for our second Edible Arrangements® location, I needed $40,000 more than I had. My mother had saved the money I gave her over the years and handed it back to me. She asked only that I do something in her name someday and give her $20,000 for my sister’s wedding.

When my mother passed away in 2000, I started a foundation in her memory. The organization built a hospital in Pakistan for needy people and an Islamic school in the United States.

As told to Patricia R. Olsen.