• franchisees
  • franchising
  • growth
  • inspiration
  • success

The next few days are among my favorite each year. The annual Edible Arrangements® convention begins today in Nashville, Tenn., and for the next four days I will be surrounded by some of the most inspiring business people I know — our franchisees.

While the event is designed to celebrate our successes and provide a preview of things to come, I always find that the true value comes from the one-on-one time I am able to spend with franchisees who make the annual trip from locations across the United States and around the world. I love hearing their stories, their ideas, their hopes and sharing in their enthusiasm. Many of their stories are truly inspirational and remind me why it is that we do what we do.

The location for this year’s event is quite fitting. For decades, thousands have traveled to Nashville to pursue their dreams. At Edible Arrangements, we are in the business of making dreams come true as well — for our franchisees and our customers.

The annual convention also serves as an opportunity to take a moment to look back over the past year and ahead to the next.

The past year has been one of dramatic growth and evolution for all of us at Edible Arrangements. Not only have we significantly expanded our presence in markets around the world, but we have also focused internally on putting the pieces in place necessary to grow the brand at an even more aggressive pace.

The leadership team has been restructured and enhanced by recruiting experienced business and retail professionals with extraordinary records of success. This means that I now am able to focus more on developing growth strategies for all the Edible Brands.

Already, these changes are beginning to show results, from innovative products to creative new store formats to streamlined operational systems to new vendor partnerships.

One of the great opportunities is in the area of technology, which will be a focus of mine over the next year as we expand our capabilities in this area.

This is an incredibly exciting time for Edible Arrangements, as we embark on an era that promises new avenues for growth. In many ways, 15 years later we are re-inventing the Edible Arrangements brand. That’s the reason we chose “The Future Is Fresh” as this year’s convention theme.

As I think about the many opportunities that are in front of us today, I have the same feeling of excitement I experienced when I opened the doors to the very first Edible Arrangements store. At the time I never imagined the success we would experience, but I did have a dream. And this weekend, in a city known for making dreams come true, I look forward to celebrating our accomplishments with our franchisees and dreaming big about a future filled with fresh new opportunities.


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  • entrepreneurs
  • Expansion
  • franchising
  • growth
  • risk
  • technology

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Reva Enzminger, one of the most successful franchisees in the Edible Arrangements system. Reva is a former “Franchisee of the Year” who operates four stores in the Austin, Texas, area and another in Corpus Christi. In that first blog, she shared her insight into securing financing as a new business owner.

Now she shares more insight, this time on how she expanded her businesses and continues to grow them.

The key, she says, is getting out of the store.

“I’m a much better owner when I’m not in the store,” she said with a laugh. “I learned very quickly that if you are working 10 to 12 hours a day in your store, it’s going to be impossible to get out and network and promote your business. And that is one of the most critical functions of a small business owner.”

The secret to freeing yourself, she discovered, is having the right infrastructure in place.

“You have to have systems and processes that work,” she said. “You have to be confident that your team is consistently producing quality products. It all comes back to making sure employees are trained.”

Anyone who has ever owned a small business knows that is often easier said than done. And Reva found that out first hand.

When Edible Arrangements introduced a computerized training program to replace the old manual system a few years ago, Reva was not on board.

“I fought it hard,” she remembered. “I was still heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of the store and it was hard to see how investing in an expensive computer would make us more efficient. But my business was growing and my only other options were to hire someone to train the staff or risk sending out bad products.”

It didn’t happen right away, but it wasn’t long before Reva began to understand the value of her investment.

“It wasn’t until I began having to spend more and more time outside of the store that I really began to appreciate it,” she said. “Now I get it. It is absolutely one of the best things I ever did. It has created more consistency across all the stores than would have been possible otherwise.”

In fact, Reva says that this consistency through technology is allowing her to take the next step in her expansion plans. Those plans include moving beyond the Austin area and, perhaps, eventually outside of Texas. Reva recently purchased a franchise in Corpus Christi, which is a three-hour drive from her home base.

“Since you can get almost anywhere in three hours, either by driving or flying, I’m using this as a test case,” she says. “If I can operate a successful business three hours away in Corpus Christi, then I know I can open a franchise anywhere.”

The lesson, as Reva discovered, is that thinking like an owner often requires getting away from the day-to-day and taking a broader look at your operations.

“Sometimes embracing new things right up front is hard, especially when you have to spend your hard-earned money and you are not sure if it will be worth the investment,” she said. “But once I stepped outside the stores and looked at the results from a larger perspective, I realized this was freeing me to truly operate as an owner.”

As I have written before, one of the great advantages of operating a franchise system is that I have access to an endless wealth of business knowledge among the hundreds of Edible Arrangements franchisees such as Reva, who are willing to share their experiences. I always learn something new from them and I will share more of their ideas and experiences in upcoming blogs.

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  • franchising
  • growth
  • innovation
  • The Street

In this lively interview with Jill Malandrino of The Street, I discuss the importance of ongoing innovation and how we grew to 1,200 retail centers with sales of $500 million in just 15 years. We also talk about what has worked for Edible Arrangements®, customer feedback and what we are focusing on going forward. See the complete Tariq Farid interview here.


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