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IFA’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award is presented to an individual who is currently building a successful business venture, demonstrates innovative management skills in a franchise that hasbeen in operation at least three years and is active in their community.
The pioneer and leader in hand-sculpted, fresh fruit arrangements, Edible Arrangements, under the direction of Tariq Farid, has grown to more than 870 stores in 48 states and five countries, including Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. Farid has demonstrated a commitment to offering his franchise partners unparalleled technology, national brand recognition, and training/support, resulting in a 97 percent customer retention rate.
In my exclusive interview with Tariq, I got to know him a little, and he’s a driven entrepreneur….
The Franchise King: Congratulations on being named Entrepreneur Of The Year! You started Edible Arrangements by first designing the computer systems, doing the training manuals, and putting together a profitability tracking and supply chain management process. That doesn’t sound like a very common way to franchise a business. What made you decide to do it that way, and how did it help you launch the brand?
Tariq: I believe it is important to lead by example and in business, example means that you have to develop and maintain a successful concept and can prove to no one else but yourself it can work. Designing the computer systems, doing the training manuals, and putting together a profitability tracking and supply chain management process are essential to success, especially for those who may not understand the intricacy of your concept.
The Franchise King: Your franchise concept requires a retail storefront, some employees, and inventory. The upper end of the investment range is around $300k. Because of our financial crisis, potential franchise owners have lost a good portion of their savings. Have you been finding that less people are inquiring about your concept, because of the initial investment needed to open an Edible Arrangements operation?
Tariq: I don’t think less people are inquiring because the investment range is between 147,530-307-980 it is more the time and the confidence in the market. Depending on the area, we are opening stores considerably on the lower end because of certain services due to our growth. Especially real estate, we are able to open locations in premiums areas.
The Franchise King: Looking back on your success, is there anything you wish you would have done differently, or better, that people thinking about franchising their own concepts can learn from?
Tariq: Honestly no, There is a maturity and process you have to go through which will make you better. Everyone has to pay the price for success.
The Franchise King: Can you describe the feeling the moment your name was announced as Entrepreneur Of The year, at The International Franchise Association’s Convention?
Tariq: At first it was a total surprise and I never expected it. I never thought in my wildest dreams of receiving such an honor considering the great personalities and leaders within the franchise industry. It is still hard for me to believe this, but I am very honored and humbled to receive this award.
The Franchise King: Your franchise has over 800 stores. How many would you like to have operating in the next several years?
Tariq: As an entrepreneur there is never enough, but if we can maintain what we have done over the last eight years I would be very satisfied.
The Franchise King: Are you considering adding any new products or services to your already successful lineup?
Tariq: Yes. Our success is due to great products and services. We will continue to add additional products to the lineup such as: DippedFruit.com, this will excel Edible Arrangements to a whole new level.
Thank you for sharing your story, Tariq! Is anyone inspired now?