The entrepreneur behind Edible Arrangements is constantly challenging himself to move the brand forward.
Tariq Farid, the founder and CEO of Edible Arrangements, has always had an incredibly strong entrepreneurial drive.
After immigrating to West Haven, Connecticut from Pakistan and becoming a U.S. citizen, Farid started looking for ways to break into the world of business. He got his first taste of the industry—along with franchising—as a teenager working at a local McDonald’s. However, it didn’t take him long to launch a concept of his own.
With the help of a $5,000 loan from his parents and family friends, Farid purchased a flower shop in his neighborhood when he was just 17 years old. It became clear right away that he was meant to be in business for himself—within two years of taking over the shop, he expanded his reach as an entrepreneur by operating four highly successful stores. But it was a few years later in 1999 that Farid created a concept that would change the course of his entire career: Edible Arrangements.
Inspired by Americans’ growing consumption of fresh fruit, demand in the specialty foods market and a society that was willing to spend money on gifts, Farid realized that he had the unique opportunity to create a concept that tapped into those three segments of the population. To say that his risk paid off would be an understatement—since launching its first franchise location in 2001, the brand has grown to be made up of more than 1,300 stores across the globe.
Building a brand to that point of worldwide success is no easy feat. But Farid says that for him, it has come down to staying focused on his end goal and always taking into consideration what customers and franchisees are looking for.
“I’ve found that it has always been more beneficial to focus on the end results and what you’re trying to achieve. If the goal of the business is the same at every level, then perception is a great benchmark to look at afterwards and see how you did,” said Farid. “I like to take a step back and make sure we’re hitting goals and focusing on our customers and franchisees before thinking about how we’re being perceived.”
As Edible Arrangements continues to expand and welcome more franchisees into its system, Farid makes it a top priority to help set the brand’s local owners up for success. He takes a hands-on approach to being the leader behind a large company—Farid’s goal is ultimately to guide franchisees the same way that his mentors helped him get his businesses off the ground.
“We’re all human and we all go through moments of doubt, and I’m proudest when I have the opportunity to coach someone and inspire them the way my mentors inspired me,” Farid said. “It’s especially rewarding and a great source of pride to see a franchisee make it through those first few months when they are really questioning whether they are going to be able to do it, and then being there with them years later when they are getting ready to open their fourth or fifth location and working on growth plans for the future.”
Farid’s success as an entrepreneur hasn’t stopped with Edible Arrangements—he founded a computer software distributor for the franchising industry, Netsolace, Inc., and acquired software provider Emaximation, which he then rebranded to be Naranga. Farid also launched the Tariq Farid Foundation as a way to support charitable causes around the world.
It’s that drive to be involved in multiple businesses and organizations that continues to make Farid an impactful leader and CEO.
“I believe I’m at my best as a leader when I am constantly challenging myself and not getting comfortable with where we are as a company. I love to re-ignite the entrepreneurial flame by finding new challenges to tackle. Innovation is what really keeps me going and on the edge,” said Farid. “Overall, I think the key to being a great leader is never getting comfortable and staying away from negativity, especially in business. There is enough negativity in other areas of life without having a negative attitude about your business. That’s why I always try to stay inspired and looking ahead to new opportunities and challenges.”
Going forward, Farid plans to continue growing Edible Arrangements by opening up locations in communities all over the world. And in order to make that expansion successful, he’s going to continue leading by looking at his business from multiple points of view.
“Look at things from the point of view of those you serve. If you’re serving franchisees, try your best to look at things from their point of view. I constantly remind our team that it’s really all about the people we serve,” said Farid. “Also, it is key to not just be in it to chase money. If you’re just doing it for money, it won’t work. If you’re doing something that you’re passionate about and you really love, then you’ll find success and money will follow.”