July 13, 2009 // Franchising.com // WALLINGFORD, CT – Edible Arrangements, the pioneer and leader in hand-sculpted, fresh fruit arrangements, announced today the signing of two Master Franchisee agreements in Rome, Italy and Hong Kong. With these recent agreements, Edible Arrangements is now available to consumers in eight countries outside of the United States and Puerto Rico.
VPF International Ltd. will operate as the Rome Master Franchisee and plans to develop a total of five locations in Rome with at least one planned to open later this year. VPF is led by Fausto Petruzziello, M.D., who was born and raised in Rome and currently resides in Connecticut. Petruzziello has built a team of professionals both in the U.S. and Italy to ensure Edible Arrangements can succeed abroad.
The Hong Kong Master Franchisee is D.T. Hong Kong Ltd. and will be led by Sanja Dujic, who currently resides in Hong Kong. Dujic plans to develop six stores in the city with the first location to open in the fourth quarter.
"We are excited to introduce Edible Arrangements to consumers in Rome and Hong Kong and welcome Sanja and Fausto into our system," said Tariq Farid, CEO and Founder, Edible Arrangements, Inc. "We see great promise in these cities and know our new master franchisees will be great ambassadors for the brand."
Currently, Edible Arrangements has 900 locations with the goal to reach 1,000 units by 2010. These recent signings are part of an aggressive growth strategy that includes expanding in existing markets and countries while continuing Edible Arrangements domestic growth in California, Texas, Arizona, Florida, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Philadelphia and New York. In addition to finding qualified new franchisees, the company's growth strategy includes growing its existing franchise base into enterprise multi-unit operators.
"Since receiving my first Edible Arrangements basket 10 years ago, I've been enamored with such an original idea and been a frequent customer," said Petruzziello. "Since leaving Rome in 1995, I've always wanted to launch a new, ground-breaking business in my native country and after speaking with the Farid brothers, I knew the Italian culture would respond positively to this unique business. We're very excited to introduce Italians to Edible Arrangements."
Recently the recipient of two Entrepreneur of the Year awards, International Franchise Association and Ernst & Yong in Metro New York, Farid developed and launched Edible Arrangements in 1999 in East Haven, CT, after many years in the floral industry. He learned early that corporate support can make the difference between a struggling or thriving franchise. It is for this reason that Edible Arrangements offers its franchisees comprehensive corporate and onsite level training, unparalleled technology, national brand recognition and extensive support.
The company's proprietary technology platform and point-of-sale system is the critical backbone of each Edible Arrangements' store, where franchisees have 24/7 access to its industry leading on-line support system. Technology also assists in the development of the proprietary tools used to design arrangements, which enhances the product's look and increases profit margins. The company has developed a fully integrated national marketing program focusing on television, magazine and online advertising.
"After hearing about Edible Arrangements from friends in the U.S., I knew immediately Hong Kongers would love the concept since we have tradition here of appreciating fine food and gifts," said Dujic. "My business background in trade exporting and importing and production has prepared me well to succeed in introducing such a terrific product here in Hong Kong."
Since its inception, Edible Arrangements has earned countless accolades from the industry, including its ranking as first in its category by Entrepreneur Magazine's Annual "Franchise 500" Ranking in 2007, 2008, 2009, as well as one of the magazine's "HOT 100" franchises in 2008. In addition, the company has ranked for three consecutive years in Inc. Magazine's top 5,000 fastest growing privately-held companies and AllBusiness.com ranked Edible Arrangements as 23rd in overall growth and 65th in system size due to a doubling of units since 2006.
Individuals seeking to own and operate an individual Edible Arrangements' franchise should posses a minimum liquidity of $50,000 and the ability to invest approximately $154,920 - $298,005. Multi-unit store networks and international master franchisee licenses are also available for qualified applicants. Financing options are available to qualified applicants.
Edible Arrangements International, Inc., is the leading purveyor of delicious, high quality, artistically designed, fresh fruit arrangements that are a practical and healthy gift. Founded in 1999 in East Haven, CT. by Tariq Farid, Edible Arrangements earned the 27th spot on Entrepreneur Magazine's "2008 Hot 100 List of Fastest-Growing Businesses in America." With nearly 900 operating locations worldwide, Edible Arrangements is rapidly expanding across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Italy, Hong Kong and throughout the United Arab Emirates.