As good as chocolate-dipped fruits taste, they aren't the only ingredient in a successful franchise.
As the founder and CEO of Edible Arrangements, isn't just an expert when it comes to fresh fruits -- he is also a genius in coming up with fresh ideas for franchising. It's no wonder that he's grown Edible Arrangements from one modest shop into an immensely popular global phenomenon.
I sat down with him recently for a live "Business Brilliant" interview with to talk about his entrepreneurial journey and to see if I could discover the secrets to his overwhelming success as the owner of one of the sweetest franchises around. It was a great discussion, and he shared with me three great insights when it comes to rocking the franchise game:
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1. It's all in the attitude.
Why is Edible Arrangements so great at attracting franchisees? Because the company culture is built upon being business people. “We have entrepreneurs that buy our business every single day. And they have no experience,” says Tariq. “If you're not good at business, how are you going to make them successful? When a prospect walks into my office, they have to feel that people are building businesses here. Everybody has to talk that way and walk that way. That's how you sell franchises.”
2. Always be training.
A lot of businesses don't bother with ongoing training or offer refresher courses only once in a while. That isn't the way that Edible Arrangements does it. “The mistake we made in the beginning was that we would only train once in a while and we would leave the training to the franchisee,” Tariq remembers. “What ends up happening is that the stew you cook in starts to define you.”
In order to keep their employees' skills on the cutting-edge, Edible Arrangements installed training terminals in all of their location. “I like to call them Inspire terminals because you have to inspire people,” Tariq says.
The terminals feature step-by-step instructions in easily digestible segments, making them a breeze to follow. “We bring people back to the corporate location once a year, to re-energize them. We don’t bring them back to train them because you can’t train in an hour. We bring them back to say, “Hey, let’s show you where we’re going in the next five years.” Just to kind of excite them to stay in the business.”
3. Stay connected.
Inspired by Apple, Edible Arrangements opened a corporate store that allows both corporate employees and franchisees to explore and understand the Edible Arrangements experience. “We built a corporate store because my people slowly were disconnecting from what’s actually happening at the stores,” Tariq explains. “Now, every single day when they walk in, they walk through the store.”
The company regularly invites franchisees to come experience the corporate store and pays for the hotel stays. This is especially important when a business wants to roll out a new feature in all of their locations, such as when Edible Arrangements decided to start offering smoothies. At this point, Tariq says, the goal is to wow them. “If they go, 'Wow,' then they’re willing to... put in the smoothie concept. You don’t want them to put in smoothies just because you forced them. You want them to put it in because they think it’s the best smoothie in the world.”
By keeping the franchisees engaged and enthusiastic, Edible Arrangements makes sure the relationship stays naturally sweet (just like those amazing smoothies.)
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