Immigrant Entrepreneur Hall of Fame: Tariq Farid
Year came to U.S.: 1981
Education: High School
Headquarters: Wallingford, CT
2010 revenue: $21.4 million (Edible Arrangements)
Worldwide employment: 94 (Edible Arrangements)
- Tariq Farid started his first successful business at age 17.
- Farid’s most famous business, Edible Arrangements, was named by both Inc. and Forbes.com as a top franchise in 2011.
Tariq Farid was born in Pakistan and immigrated to the United States at age 11. Although the Farids had been an upper-middle class farming family in Pakistan, they started at the bottom in the U.S. His father worked as a machinist during the day and at fast food restaurants at night. As a teenager, Tariq worked for a flower shop and at McDonalds.
His entrepreneurial experience began in 1986, when, at age 17, he used a $5,000 loan from his parents to purchase a flower shop. Farid would make flower arrangements and deliver them after school. Within two years, he was operating four highly successful stores.
Farid learned the power of business systemization at McDonalds, and with only a high school education he developed a computer system for running the business. In 1991, he formed a new business called Northeast Systems Group to sell the software to other shops. The company was purchased by Teleflora in 1997.
Farid was inspired by his experience in the floral industry to open a new kind of store that offered fresh fruit cut to look like bouquets of flowers. In 1999, he launched Edible Arrangements with his brother. They got 30 orders the first day and turned a profit the first year. The revenue doubled the second year. They created the franchise when they were approached by someone wanting to open an Edible Arrangements store.
Today, there are more than 1,100 Edible Arrangement stores throughout the world offering fresh cut fruit arrangements, salads and chocolate dipped fruit. Edible Arrangements was on Inc.’s list of 10 Promising Franchises for 2011 and Forbes.com’s Top Franchises for the Money in 2011. Farid launched several related businesses that provide services to franchisees, such as Netsolace to provide software and Farid Capital to finance equipment.
Farid became a U.S. citizen in 1986. To honor his late mother he developed the Salma K. Farid Academy, a non-profit learning and community center, and the Farid Foundation to provide for those in need. He says of his success, “I pinch myself every day.”