An outstanding example and supporter of American entrepreneurialism, Tariq Farid is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Edible Arrangements International, the pioneer and worldwide leader in high quality, artistically designed fresh fruit arrangements. Tariq is responsible for setting the company’s strategic direction and licensing new franchises across the United States and internationally. Edible Arrangements is headquartered in Wallingford, CT, and will mark its 17th year in 2016.
Tariq was born in Pakistan in 1969 and immigrated to the United States when he was 11. He grew up in West Haven, CT, and became a U.S. citizen in 1986.
As a teenager, Tariq worked in a local McDonald's for several years, and it was there he learned the power of business systemization. His own entrepreneurial experience began in the late 1980s when, at age 17, he used a $5,000 loan from his parents and family friends to purchase a local flower shop. Within two years, Tariq was operating four highly successful stores.
He launched the first Edible Arrangements® store in 1999 in East Haven, CT. He was inspired by the convergence of three trends: Americans' growing consumption of fresh fruit, the robust growth in the specialty foods market, and the increasing amount of money Americans were spending on gifts.
The first Edible Arrangements® franchised location opened in 2001 in Waltham, MA. The company has since grown to more than 1,200 stores worldwide, and Tariq’s personal support for franchisees has been a hallmark of the Edible Arrangements® success story. He regularly spends time in the stores to stay connected with owners and guests, and to understand the unique challenges each store faces in an ever changing marketplace.
Edible Arrangements has been recognized as an industry leader since its inception. The company has ranked first in its category in Entrepreneur magazine’s annual “Franchise 500” for the past nine years and also places regularly in Entrepreneur’s Top 50 of “Fastest-Growing Franchises” and “America’s Top Global Franchises.” Edible Arrangements® was named one of the Top 5 businesses in Connecticut by Inc. magazine’s first Hire Power Awards in 2012 and also ranked in Inc.’s Top 5,000 fastest growing privately-held companies for eight consecutive years.
The same year Edible Arrangements® opened its first franchise, Tariq founded Netsolace, Inc., a computer software distributor for the franchise industry. A self-taught computer whiz, he designed all the computer systems Edible Arrangements® franchisees use in their day-to-day operations, including order processing, training manuals, production and profitability tracking, and supply chain management. In 2014, Tariq acquired software provider Emaximation and rebranded the company as Naranga, which provides a wide range of technology solutions designed to help franchise companies market themselves and manage their operations.
Tariq was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the International Franchise Association (IFA) in 2009. More recently, he was elected to the IFA Board of Directors, which he will join in February 2016. Tariq has been designated a Certified Franchise Executive by the Board of Governors of the Institute of Franchise Executives. He was instated into the Connecticut Immigrant Heritage Hall of Fame in 2015. And in April 2016, Tariq will be inducted into the Junior Achievement of Southwest New England’s Business Hall of Fame.
In 2013, Tariq established the Tariq Farid Foundation as a way to support causes both at home and around the world. The Foundation’s contributions total almost $1 million annually, and have benefited dozens of programs, including hospitals, schools, homeless shelters, food pantries, and organizations addressing childhood cancer, assisting refugees, and promoting leadership opportunities for youth. Tariq also started the Edible Cares® Fund, which provides financial assistance to Edible Arrangements® store employees in times of extreme need.
Read the official Tariq Farid Blog