Three months ago I made a return visit to Beijing after being away for eight years. As soon as I stepped off the plane I was amazed at the difference. I remembered many of the sights I saw along the way, but they were not recognizable. Everything in view was much more developed, sophisticated and modern – I could have been in any city in the US or Europe! Before I even reached my hotel, I was convinced that Edible Arrangements had to expand into China. I visited two more times since then, and have been diligently working towards the goal of bringing Edible Arrangements to China.
We are honored to be coming to Beijing, to one of the best locations in the city. I am convinced that the success we have achieved in this venture so far is directly connected to the great people we’ve met, and to the people we expect to serve here – our first franchisee and the initial consumers who will show their confidence in our brand by becoming Edible Arrangements customers.
I feel blessed to be able to partner with our China Master and GOD wiling we look forward to working together to WOW every consumer in beautiful Beijing and all of China.
Edible Arrangements has been recognizable for its fresh fruit creations since its inception in 1999. Now, the brand is adding a layer with the launch of a quick-service concept called Edible To Go.
Edible To Go was officially introduced in February and features a “grab and go” menu including fruit salads, “Fruithies” (fresh fruit smoothies), FruSundaes, chocolate dipped fruit, parfaits, and natural, freshly-squeezed fruit beverages.
As its sister brand centers on special occasion fruit bouquets often ordered ahead of time (walk-in orders have recently been accepted), Edible To Go is a quick and simple extension of that business and was inspired by a confluence of trends, including an increased demand for healthier food and faster service.
“Consumers are on the go all the time, and they want healthy alternatives when it comes to reaching for a snack or a beverage,” said CEO Tariq Farid. “Unlike other (chains) that would have to introduce fresh fruit to their menus, fruit is the staple of our business. We wanted a menu for grab-and-go items to complement our line of arrangements.”
Adding convenience to speed, the company has focused on opening the cobranded stores at malls and other high-visibility, high-foot traffic areas. These nontraditional locations also generate increased interest in the brands.
“As we grew and evolved our product line, we knew that attracting customers to our actual storefronts was important so they could see our products, sample them and have an amazing shopping experience with us,” Farid said. “These high traffic areas are perfect for the new concept.”
The two brands have different marketing strategies and logos. However, they (for now) coexist under the same roof and pull from each other’s strengths – Edible To Go benefits from its parent company’s brand power, while Edible Arrangements is starting to see new business.
“Being in the quick-serve business has taught us more about providing better, faster service to our Edible Arrangements customers and allowed us to reach new customers,” Farid said. “Our existing customers expect premium quality fruit, so leveraging our fruit expertise into the quick-service concept was a natural progression for our business.”
Such progression came after extensive testing by the research and development team, which experimented with a range of products for the QSR market and eventually decided on all-natural items that don’t stray too far from the original Edible Arrangements concept.
“We settled on the current product line because it stays true to our fresh fruit heritage, yet still offers an exciting variety of snacks and beverages,” Farid said.
Edible Arrangements’ growth led to new concept’s launch
The timing for Edible To Go’s launch was influenced in large part to Edible Arrangements’ overall growth. The company recently turned in its most successful Mother’s Day week to date and recorded another double-digit increase in systemwide sales compared to the same period last year.
Such accomplishments have also provided momentum for an aggressive expansion – the company plans on opening 150 new locations by the end of 2011, and another 200 locations in 2012. These new units will be a cross between standalone Edible Arrangements and those that are co-branded with the To Go concept.
Edible Arrangements began franchising in 2001 and now includes nearly 1,000 locations in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Italy, Turkey, Hong Kong and Jordan.
The new Edible To Go is already offered in the Middle East with “great success,” according to Farid, and is set to grow in Asia and South America.
“Right now, we have great momentum with numerous new store openings on the horizon and are looking to use this success to continue to build the brands,” said Farid. “People all over the world celebrate with food and fresh fruit is a universal language. The Edible Arrangements and Edible To Go concepts are complementary and work beautifully together.”