Twenty-one years after it was founded, Edible has more than 1,100 locations and has been ranked as a top franchise by Entrepreneur and Inc. magazines.
Even amid the pandemic, same-store sales grew 61 percent in April and are up 8.7 percent year-to-date. The company experienced its most successful Mother’s Day ever.
Founder Tariq Farid attributes the company’s success—and his own, for that matter—to humble beginnings and a helping hand.
At 13, his first job was at a flower shop, where he learned the business from owner Charlie Farricielli. A few years later, Farid began working at McDonald’s and witnessed franchising firsthand. Then at the age of 17, he received a $6,000 loan from his father’s boss to purchase a local flower shop. After a couple of years, he oversaw four stores. Later down the line, the first Edible store opened in 1999 and franchising began in 2001.
Fast forward to 2020, Farid wants to give other aspiring business owners an opportunity to join the Edible team even if they don’t have the financial means to do so, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fresh fruit arrangement brand is launching a “Managed-To-Own” program in which candidates will pay a $30,000 initial fee and undergo an extensive, 90-day training program before taking over an Edible location.
“There’s more people like me out there that are just hard workers that may not financially have the wherewithal. So we’d loved to back them,” Farid says. “It worked really well for me, and it worked for many of our franchisees. We did this in 2008, we did this at the beginning of franchising, and it worked phenomenally. And we’re thinking, now is the right time. At the same time, we have locations we need to open up and areas we need to service. So why not put it in the hands of people that are someone like me. And I think they’ll replicate great results.”
As Farid notes, Edible has helped budding entrepreneurs before, like in the early and late 2000s when there were economic downturns. But those instances were on an individual basis, with interest coming from workers inside the company.
This program is continuous, specific, and sophisticated.
Between now and next year, Farid expects about 30 candidates to be in the program. The process, which he describes as selective, will focus on quality, not quantity.
“They don’t have to worry about all those things that in the beginning a franchise owner has to worry about,” Farid says. “In the beginning, it’s tough when you’re starting a new store. We’ll help them through that. … Thirty would be a phenomenal success, but that would depend on selecting the right candidate and everything.”
The training program will include several areas of business, including the elements of entrepreneurship. To Farid, this means teaching candidates about all the traps and issues that will make them want to quit. As his brother used to tell him, “don’t give up because you’re almost at the tail of catching something.”
Much time will be spent on how to leverage technology to connect with customers, which is significant considering a majority of guests are placing orders through digital channels. Other lessons will cover finances, such as how to read P&L and find opportunities to improve and invest in the community. Candidates will also learn to live by Edible’s mission of promise, product, placement, people, and purpose.
From past experience, Farid says that on the aggressive side, some candidates are ready to be independent after 90 days. But usually it takes around six months, and no more than nine months to a year.
“So about 90 days of rigorous, and then six months of hand holding, making sure everything is good,” Farid says. “That’s why I said, there are people that in 90 days, just ace it. They do amazing and we’re telling them, ‘You’re good to go, run with it!’ And there are others that need more time, so that would be six months.”
Farid explains that Edible’s attraction is derived from its success through times of economic distress.
When Edible began franchising, the economy wasn’t great and there were questions as to how the product would perform given that it’s a luxury and not a necessity. But the business did well, and Farid says it’s because of the value.
He describes Edible as a recession-proof brand that’s resilient, adaptable, and proactive. This helped the chain experience its best years and biggest growth during the Great Recession.
“When most people aren’t wanting to sell stores, I want to sell stores. It’s a great business opportunity, and I’m only as successful as my franchisees,” Farid says. “If they make money, I make money. … As long as we are willing to go out and serve our customers in times of difficulty, our customers reward us. It works, and it works really, really well.”
“It’s a brand that’s been around for 20 years,” he adds. “It has the resilience and it’s proven. We have 93 percent brand awareness. People know us. I like to say we’re America’s favorite gifting brand.”