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Edible Arrangements CEO Tariq Farid Comments on Franchisee Lawsuit: “I Never Expected It to Turn Out This Way”

by Franchise Chatter on September 27, 2011

in Franchise News, Fruit Bouquet Franchise



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(Ambrosio’s note:  I received an email yesterday morning from my point of contact for Edible Arrangements to inform me that, for the first time, CEO Tariq Farid addressed the recent lawsuit against the company on his blog.  This is the same franchisee lawsuit that I reported on over 2 months ago.  I’ve always believed that there are at least two sides to every story and I want my blog to be a forum where all sides are intelligently and calmly discussed.  I asked for — and received — permission to highlight a few statements made by Tariq that addresses the issues I raised in my previous blog post.)

Edible Arrangements CEO Tariq Farid on Having to Make Unpopular Decisions

Tariq Farid, Founder and CEO of Edible Arrangements

Tariq Farid, Founder and CEO of Edible Arrangements

“To help ensure the sustainability of the brand and the livelihoods of hundreds of franchisees in this challenging economic climate, some difficult, and I admit, unpopular decisions had to be made.  I refer to unpopular decisions because, as a result of these decisions, certain unsubstantiated accusations and misrepresentations have been made over the past year in the media.  These misrepresentations question our company’s integrity and business practices or allege a violation of contractual rights and legal obligations.  These allegations have no merit and therefore need to be addressed and refuted.”

Edible Arrangements CEO Tariq Farid Cites the Reasons for Implementing a 2% Fee on All EAConnect Orders

“EAConnect is the name we use to describe the centralized order processing and related services we’ve been providing to franchisees for years.  Among other things, EAConnect delivers orders to each and every franchisee via our national Customer Call Center, our consumer websites and our advanced internal inter-franchise process, which allows stores to seamlessly send orders from one store to any other store in the system.  Our direct to consumer e-marketing attracts customers to our popular consumer websites, Ediblearrangements.com in the US and Ediblearrangements.ca in Canada. Online promotions and special offers convert browsers into buyers.  Our franchisees can devote a majority of their time generating local business and building relationships in their communities while the corporate office, through EAConnect, delivers approximately half their business to their stores from our custom ecommerce program.”

“As the system continues to grow, our costs for delivering these technological innovations to  franchisees and delivering an amazing experience for our customers are also increasing.    To support this growth, we will soon implement a 2% fee on all EAConnect orders.  This fee, which we have the right to assess, is very modest considering the amount of services to franchisees it will help fund and the revenue EAConnect generates for our franchisees.”



Edible Arrangements CEO Tariq Farid Explains the Systemwide Mandate to Extend Store Hours and Days of OperationEdible Arrangements Franchise Product Photo

“We recently addressed what we considered to be one of the weaknesses in our system – taking a page from the playbook I had used back in my floral days when we did well by being open when our competitors were not.  We extended weekday hours until 7:00pm, so our customers could pick up our products on their way home for an evening meeting or gift.  And we opened on Sundays, when people entertain guests and celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other specials occasions.  Remember, the customer is king and we need to be there at their convenience — not our own.  By now being open 7 days a week, we are meeting the expectations of our customers, attracting new customers and further differentiating our brand from the competition.  This decision wasn’t enthusiastically embraced by all our franchisees.  But the reality was our operating hours were not customer friendly, and that made us vulnerable to losing customers to competitors.”

Edible Arrangements CEO Tariq Farid Explains the Move to Sell Directly to Consumers via Dippedfruit.com

Edible Arrangments Photo by nikkirosety“As a franchisor, we must always strive to make our customers’ lives a little easier by ensuring our product is available to them and our ordering process is as easy as possible. Since our internet business keeps growing, we were able to extend our reach into areas where we don’t yet have stores by using a new consumer website and a shipping program.  With DippedFruit.com, we can now ship chocolate dipped fruit to customers who want a delicious fresh fruit product but don’t live near enough to one of our stores for van delivery.  DippedFruit.com supports our franchisees — it does not compete against them.  Customers who are specifically searching for  dipped fruit with various toppings who place an order with Dipped Fruit.com are automatically serviced by an Edible Arrangements franchisee if one services the area.  If not, the order is fulfilled and shipped by a franchisee-owned Edible Arrangements shipping center.”

Edible Arrangements CEO Tariq Farid Justifies the Fee Split for Call Center Orders

“Our corporate clients tend to send large quantities of bouquets and boxed chocolate dipped fruit during the holidays or for special occasions, and they often send them to employees or clients all over the country.  These orders are often fulfilled by many different stores in our system.  To facilitate these corporate orders we created a program through our Call Center so corporate clients can quickly and easily order and pay for their purchases.  Once orders are sent to the applicable franchise locations to fulfill and deliver the products, the same exact fee split that applies to all inter-franchise orders is assessed, even though the corporate office incurs considerable expense for advertising to corporate accounts and the additional labor needed to handle the increased call volume.”



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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzi C September 27, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Interesting. I’m very curious to learn how the decision to extend store hours across the board is working for Edible Arrangements and its franchisees.

Reply

Ambrosio September 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Hi Suzi, thanks for dropping by! Very curious about that too. Transitions are usually challenging, so I can understand why the franchisees are upset. But Tariq’s explanations are reasonable as well. Hope it works out for all of them in the end.

Reply

Frank J October 4, 2011 at 8:20 pm

He feed you some fluff, one of the missing pieces is that Muslim store owners can have Friday off, but Christians can’t have Sunday off, his 7 days a week only applies to Christians.

With all the other mandatory changes, from fruit suppliers, to having to buy servers from him, to having to buy special skewers just from him, the true goal may be to buy back the stores for pennies on the dollar.

Reply

Ambrosio October 4, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Hi Frank,

Thank you for your comment! I welcome both sides of the story, so you are welcome to share your experience and opinions on my blog. Hopefully, someone from Edible Arrangements is monitoring this and then respond to all reasonable comments. Thanks for visiting.

Ambrosio

Reply

Rebecca October 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm

I’m hoping as well that Edible Arrangements is monitoring this and would like to respond to both Frank and Suzi’s comments. Those are both reasonable comments that desire a reasonable, realistic, and honest answer…key word- honest.

Reply

Ambrosio October 5, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Hi Rebecca,

Thank you for your comment! I’m almost certain that some representing Edible Arrangements is monitoring the blog, just not sure if we’ll get an official response (sure hope we do!). I would love for the blog to be a forum for discussion, and maybe play a small part in getting both sides to find some common ground.

Ambrosio

Reply

Tom October 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I would like to know if may if the CEO’s quote “I never expected it to turn out this way” is referring to that he never thought that trying alienate us franchisees against one another wouldn’t work. Also, if our allegations are so misleading and false, why have two judges ruled that we can proceed with the lawsuit? We have proof. The facts are all that matter. The best thing about this is that this is going to change and pave the way for franchisees to finally be heard. We have a real problem in the United States with franchises taking advantage of people.

Reply

Ambrosio October 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Hi Tom,

Thank you for your comment. I would like to extend an open invitation to you, your fellow franchisees, or your franchisee association to specifically address the points raised by CEO Tariq Farid on his blog. I know there’s another side to the story that we have not heard, and it would really help prospective franchisees understand the issues from both sides so that they can make an informed decision. All the best.

Ambrosio

Reply

Jimmy arrangement November 5, 2011 at 6:48 am

I love the choices that you have made with edible arrangements! You are doing the right stuff just never get rid of the arrangements on a stick that look like flowers! Those are my favorite.

Reply

Law Student April 19, 2012 at 7:31 pm

We’re doing a 90 minute mock mediation regarding this case next Tuesday in my Mediation class. I “represent” Tariq Farid. Should be interesting.

Reply

Ambrosio April 19, 2012 at 8:00 pm

That sounds really interesting. I wonder if the two sides can come to some kind of settlement in your mock mediation. Let us know how it goes. Good luck!

Best regards,

Ambrosio

Reply

George May 8, 2017 at 1:29 pm

HI everyone
I’m looking to buy existing Edible Arrangements store I was wondering if you still have the same problem or not if anyone of the fellow franchisees can let me know or email me georgeflorida1976@gmail.com

Reply

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