In this Salute to American Success, we’re taking a look at Edible Arrangements, a company specializing in fruit bouquets and chocolate-dipped fruit. The business traces its roots back to 1985, when a then-16-year-old, first-generation American Tariq Farid bought a flower shop. In 1999, he opened the first Edible Arrangements store in Connecticut.
Shortly after opening Edible’s first location, Farid was approached to begin franchising the business. In 2001, the first franchise store opened in Massachusetts.
“It wasn’t Tariq’s original idea to franchise,” said Edible Arrangements President Rob Price.
By 2006, the company had 500 franchise locations. Today, Edible Arrangements has more than 1,200 stores in the U.S. and in 12 other countries.
Each year, the company sees its most sales coming during Mother’s Day and día de la Madres in Mexico, beating out Valentine’s Day and Christmas. It also sells its fruit-based products on an everyday basis and looks to “expand every day consumption.” The company is starting to work its way into other markets as well, with some stores featuring smoothies and other treats, according to Price.
“We have a very diverse portfolio,” said Price. “The two weeks leading up to Mother’s Day will be the biggest in the company’s history. Larger arrangements are more popular for the holiday, since families will share. For Valentine’s Day, it’s really one to one.”
At the heart of Edible Arrangements’ growth strategy is the customer.
“Our biggest growth is within the core,” said Price. “Every transaction involves two customers--the buyer and recipient. We launched a loyalty program last year and target email marketing.”
Fruit prices are a major part of the business, and can impact “franchisees and customer profitability.”
“We get fruit from a network of distributors who meet our specifications,” said Price. “They need to meet the supply chain and frequency of delivery requirements. We’ve seen a fairly stable environment for fruit in the last year… we haven’t really seen a rise in prices.”
Edible Arrangements also keeps a close eye on cocoa, especially with the increase in demand in the international market.
“There are definitely some stresses in the cocoa market internationally,” said Price. “The countries of origin are responding to the increase in demand. The emergence of Cuba will make producers of commodities step up their game.”
In 2014, Price says the company took in over $500 million in revenue. This year, he plans to increase business into more international locations.
“We see a lot of headroom for growth,” said Price. “We have a nice footprint in the Middle East and Asia, but are very limited in Western Europe. We also need to work on expanding more into South America.”
Despite more people jumping on the healthy eating bandwagon, Edible Arrangements has been able to keep up with the changing times.
“Our product is trend-right,” said Price. “It’s healthy at the core, indulgence at the fringe. We blend two different kinds of sweet between fruits and chocolates. So far, we have outpaced growth anticipated by our competitors. We’re off to a great start so far and are exceeding expectations.”
Strawberries continue to be the company’s biggest seller, since they can be used as both simply a fruit and a treat, when covered in chocolate. This Mother’s Day, the company is introducing a new product, which focuses mainly on the red berry.
“Strawberries are our go-to, since they are beautiful in form and color,” said Price. “On their own, they are a meaty fruit. A chocolate covered strawberry is what tends to be pulled away from the arrangement first. There’s nothing better than a strawberry drenched in real chocolate.”