A Pakistani-American Shares His Success Story

Tariq Farid is the founder and CEO of Edible Arrangements, a successful international franchise business that specializes in delivering gifts of beautifully arranged bouquets of edibles like fruits and candy on holidays and various other special occasions.

Currently in its 11th year of operation, the company boasts 883 franchise locations in the United States, the United Kingdom and Kuwait. The company earned $300 million in revenue last year, according to published reports.

Born near Sahiwal in Pakistan, Tariq Farid has founded several other companies. One is Frutation by Edible Arrangements, which includes salads and fruit drinks. They’re sold in Edible Arrangements stores and stand-alone stores. He also created Netsolace, which provides software for the franchise industry. Another, BerryDirect, offers containers, vases and other products to our Edible Arrangements franchisees and other companies. His latest start-up is Farid Capital Corporation, a financing company that helps franchisees buy equipment.

The key to Farid's success, he says, has come from paying attention to often overlooked details such as the website, order tracking and follow-up customer service, the logo and branding, and employee training.

The economy may need more entrepreneurs like Farid - according to the International Franchise Association, every $1 million lent to franchise small businesses creates 34 jobs and $3.6 million in annual economic output, cited Reuters.

Here is Farid in his own words describing his journey:

I WAS born in Pakistan and came to the United States in 1981, when I was 11. My grandfather owned a farm in Pakistan and we had been fairly well-to-do. We started at the bottom when we came here. My father found a job as a machinist during the day and worked at McDonald’s and Burger King at night.

All five of my siblings pitched in. I delivered newspapers to 300 houses. Instead of putting the paper into the mailbox, I’d deliver it to the door. I got great tips. When I was 13, a flower shop hired me to water the flowers. Soon I was taking care of orders. By 16, I had learned a lot.

One day my father found a flower shop for sale in the paper. The owner wanted $6,000. My dad asked me if I could run the shop, and I said sure. We got a cash advance and a loan from a friend. I thought I’d negotiate, and asked the owner what terms he was offering. He looked at me as if to say, “What can this kid possibly know?”

We opened a week before Easter and earned about $50 a day. I stayed open until 7 p.m., seven days a week, because few other flower shops did. I thought $350 a week was wonderful. Soon, sales doubled, and I was shocked. Five years later, we had three shops and were making close to $1 million a year. I said we needed to make more, about $5,000 a day. My mother asked me if I remembered when I was making $50 a day and she suggested that I relax. I told her that it never really ends, and that I could achieve that goal.

It was a lot of work. I didn’t really have a social life. We stayed open on holidays. On my way to high school, I’d drop off my mother at the shop. She spoke no English, so I told her what to do to supervise the two employees. After school I’d make flower arrangements and deliver them myself until I could hire a driver.

I attended college part-time, but I started weighing the benefit against what I was making. I decided to put off school, and I never finished. I was so young when I started a career that I blindly jumped into it.

Edible Arrangements, which I started in 1999 with my brother, Kamran, goes back to our roots. In Pakistan, my father always brought home tons of fruit for us. When we started the company, we created basic fruit arrangements that included fresh pineapple, strawberries, cantaloupe and more, and later added extras like chocolate and cinnamon toppings.

We got 30 orders the first day. We had learned from our flower stores, so this time did everything right. A stranger asked about opening a store, which gave us the idea to franchise them. I knew nothing about the franchise industry, so I contacted an association for the names of experts and found Michael Seid. He gave great advice.

I’ve started several other companies. One is Frutation by Edible Arrangements, which includes salads and fruit drinks. They’re sold in Edible Arrangements stores and stand-alone stores. I also started Netsolace, which provides software for the franchise industry. Another, BerryDirect, offers containers, vases and other products to our Edible Arrangements franchisees and other companies. I just started the Farid Capital Corporation, a financing company that helps franchisees buy equipment.

When I was starting out, I used to give my mother $50 a week. When I wanted to buy a building for our second Edible Arrangements location, I needed $40,000 more than I had. My mother had saved the money I gave her over the years and handed it back to me. She asked only that I do something in her name someday and give her $20,000 for my sister’s wedding.

When my mother passed away in 2000, I started a foundation in her memory. The organization built a hospital in Pakistan for needy people and an Islamic school in the United States.


Published in New York Times as told to Patricia R. Olsen.

Here's a video clip of Edible's media coverage:



Related Links:

Pakistani Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley

Entrepreneurs Survive Turmoil in Pakistan

Pakistan's Foreign Visitors Pleasantly Surprised

Start-ups Drive a Boom in Pakistan

Pakistan's Multi-billion Dollar IT Industry

Pakistan's Telecom Boom

Musharraf's Economic Legacy

Pakistan's International Rankings

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Dr. Teepu Siddique, a Pakistani-American doctor and professor, has identified an ALS causing gene, according to a report in Science journal:

Research that has discovered a new gene whose mutations cause 5 percent of inherited cases of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is part of a national study led by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The study reported in Science today (Feb. 27) points to a common cellular deficiency in the fatal neurological disorder, said Teepu Siddique, MD, Les Turner ALS Foundation/Herbert C. Wenske Foundation Professor in the Davee Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurological Sciences and Department of Cell and Molecular Biology and director of the Division of Neuromuscular Medicine at the Feinberg School.

The new research is part of a national collaboration directed by Dr. Siddique, the principal investigator for the “Genetics of ALS” project funded at Feinberg by the National Institutes of Health.

Earlier research by Siddique and colleagues extended the genetic knowledge of familial (inherited) ALS by identifying the first and second ALS genes (the SOD1 gene in 1993 and the ALSIN gene in 2001), in addition to identifying loci on chromosomes 9, 15, 16, and X.

The study published today discovered aFUS/TLS gene mutations in ALS families collected through efforts of the NIH-funded multi-center project and included among others a large Italian family previously studied by Drs. Siddique and Cortelli.

ALS affects the motor neurons in the central nervous system. As motor neurons die, the brain’s ability to send signals to the body’s muscles is compromised. This leads to loss of voluntary muscle movement, paralysis, and eventually death from respiratory failure. The cause of most cases of ALS is not known.

“The purpose of this national study is to understand what triggers the death of motor neurons in order to find new cellular models of ALS, with the ultimate goal of advancing research that leads to a treatment for this fatal disease,” Dr. Siddique said. “Approximately 10 percent of ALS cases are inherited.”

“The discovery of this gene mutation shows new kinds of molecular defects that damage motor neurons and it implicates defective pathways previously identified in other genetic forms of ALS,” said Dr. Siddique.

The new findings were reported in Science by the University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of three institutions that collaborate with Dr. Siddique on the national study. Other authors from the consortium include M.A. Pericak-Vance (University of Miami) and Jonathan Haines (Vanderbilt University). Robert H. Brown Jr., MD, chair and professor of neurology at University of Massachusetts Medical School, was senior investigator of the study and lead author of the Science paper.

In addition to funding from the NIH, Siddique’s ALS research is supported by the Les Turner ALS Foundation, Vena E. Schaff ALS Research Fund, Harold Post Research Professorship, Herbert and Florence C. Wenske Foundation, Ralph and Marian Falk Medical Research Trust, The David C. Asselin MD Memorial Fund, Les Turner ALS Foundation/Herbert C. Wenske Foundation Professorship, Help America Foundation, and the ALS Therapy Alliance, Inc.


http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/news/past-years/2009/2009K-February/als.html
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistanis have less favorable attitude towards entrepreneurship than the people living in other countries under similar economic conditions, according to a report by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) released here on Saturday.

GEM is an international research consortium, which measures entrepreneurial activity of individuals in 59 countries.

The GEM report on Pakistan for 2010, which was sponsored in the country by the Centre for Entrepreneurial Development of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), divides 59 countries into three categories: Factor-driven economies, efficiency-driven economies and innovation-driven economies. Pakistan falls into the category of factor-driven economies.

Explaining the objectives of the research, Centre for Entrepreneurial Development Associate Director Dr Shahid Qureshi said it measured entrepreneurial attitudes, activity and aspirations through in-depth review of individual entrepreneurial characteristics of the adult (18-64) population in all parts of the country.

“It also lists factors that affect the level of entrepreneurial activity in society besides making suggestions to promote entrepreneurship,” Qureshi said.

According to the report, the new business ownership rate, which is the percentage of owner-managers of a business that is three to 42 months old, is 2.7% in Pakistan. It is ‘considerably less’ than the average rate for factor-driven economies (11.8%).

The established business ownership rate in Pakistan is 4.7%, according to the study, which is less than the average rate for factor-driven economies (12.6%).

The report’s key measure of entrepreneurship in a society is total early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA) rate, which is the sum of the nascent entrepreneurship rate and the new business-manager rate. According to the study, the TEA rate for Pakistan is 9.08%, which is lower than the average TEA rate for the factor-driven economies (11.7%).

The report says that early-stage entrepreneurs and business managers in Pakistan have low aspirations to grow as compared to most GEM participating countries. Besides, the report says that 27.73% of the total working-age population, including those who are entrepreneurially active, was of the view that fear of failure would prevent them from starting a business. However, the fear of failure in Pakistani population is less than the average of the factor-driven economies.

Speaking on the occasion, IBA Director and Dean Dr Ishrat Husain said the cost of IBA’s affiliation with Babson College of the United States was $1 million a year. “Despite all financial constraints, we’re not going to give up the affiliation.” Husain said that out of the national workforce of 50 million people, the large-scale manufacturing sector employed only one million people. He said a majority of the 49 million people was employed by the agricultural sector and small and medium-size enterprises.

Addressing the ceremony, Sindh Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said he dropped out of IBA after taking one semester many years ago. In contrast to the findings of the report, which emphasised the importance of entrepreneurship education, Shah said it was more about the urge within oneself. “Don’t count on others. Follow your gut feeling and do what you want,” he said.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/311603/global-entrepreneurship-monitor-pakistanis-less-enthusiastic-about-entrepreneurship/
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistani-#American Entrepreneur Shoukat Dhanani Runs One of #US's Largest Private Businesses #fastfood via @forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/amyfeldman/2016/08/28/entrepreneur-shoukat-dhanani-runs-one-of-americas-largest-private-businesses-very-very-quietly/#12bd2b8d47aa …

Shoukat Dhanani, 60, isn’t the type of entrepreneur who courts publicity, but his company, Dhanani Group, has gotten too big to ignore.

Dhanani Group is the largest franchisee in the Popeyes system, as well as a giant Burger King franchisee, making it the nation’s third-largest restaurant franchisee, with 2015 revenues of $871 million, according to trade publication Franchise Times. But those numbers capture only a piece of the group’s businesses, which include convenience stores and gas delivery, as well as the franchised restaurants. In a recent conversation, Dhanani told me that “if you add everything up, it would be over $2 billion” – an amount that would likely qualify Sugar Land, Tex.-based Dhanani Group for FORBES’ list of America’s Largest Private Companies.

Dhanani’s story is a classic tale of entrepreneurship, and how a hard-working family can build a giant, and highly succcessful, business without venture capital or private equity money. The group today includes 130 convenience stores in the Houston area, 502 Burger Kings and 170 Popeyes. It remains 100% family owned and operated. “We always believed in staying low-key and under the radar,” says Dhanani. “That’s what our dad taught us.”

Dhanani’s father, Hassan Ali Dhanani, who died earlier this year, was a born businessman and the family’s guiding force. Back in Pakistan, Dhanani recalls, his father started working at age 13, rolling cigarettes by hand and packing them for sale. “He could smell the money everywhere,” says Dhanani, who immigrated to the U.S. to attend college. “He saw opportunities and he guided us. He taught us business.”

The business, which dates to 1976, began with convenience stores. Dhanani moved into restaurant franchising in 1994, with Burger King. “In those days, co-branding fast food and convenience stores was just being talked about, and I thought it was a great idea,” Dhanani says. He opened what he believes was the first one. “It was just a corner dedicated to Burger King,” he recalls.

Over the past few years, as restaurant franchisees have gotten bigger and bigger (for our magazine story on America’s largest restaurant franchisee, see here), Dhanani’s operation has grown exponentially. In early-2010, he figures, the group had only 40 Burger Kings, but then they started making acquisitions. “We had a lot of cash. The economy was good. And it was a great time to buy out troubled franchisees,” he says. By 2012, the group had roughly doubled in size.

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