Tariq Farid, an entrepreneur who is the owner and CEO of Edible Arrangements International Inc was in 2009 recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year by the International Franchise Association. He was born near Lahore, in 1969, the oldest of six children of Ghulam and Salma Farid. His father migrated to the United States in the 1970s, working in Connecticut as a machinist. Tariq Farid arrived in the United States with the rest of the family in 1981, when he was 11 years old. As a teenager, Tariq mowed lawns and worked in a McDonald’s restaurant. In 1986, when he was 17, the family bought and began operating a flower shop in East Haven, Connecticut. While working in the family business, which expanded to additional locations, Tariq developed a computerized point of sale system for floral shops, and struck out on his own in 1991 in a business selling computer systems to flower retailers.
By 1993, the computer enterprise grew into the computer software distributor Netsolace. In 1999, he and his brothers partnered to open the first Edible Arrangements store in Hamden Connecticut. The business specializes in fresh fruit arrangements, melding the concept of fruit baskets with design inspired by the floral business. After designing the computer systems, training manuals, production and profitability tracking and supply chain management process, they began franchising the concept in 2001. As president and CEO, Farid has grown the company to more than 1,000 stores serving locations in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Italy, Hong Kong, India, and Jordan. In March 2008 the company was reported to have revenues of $195 million.
In 2006, Farid also launched the franchise concept Fruitation by Edible Arrangements out of his desire to provide consumers an “on-the-go” option. In 2010, Edible Arrangements faced dissatisfaction from some of its franchisees. In January 2010, more than 270 franchisees presented Farid with individual letters expressing opposition to corporate policies and practices that they considered to be harmful to their individual franchised businesses. The franchisees formed an association known as "EA Independent Franchisees Association, LLC", or "EAIFA" and hired an attorney to represent them in possible litigation.
On September 20, 2010 the group filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of 170 franchisees, alleging that several changes the company made in its franchise agreements were unfair or violated contractual obligations to the franchisees. Edible Arrangements International responded to inquiries about the lawsuit by saying that they strongly disagreed with the accusations and would vigorously defend the complaint. The company subsequently initiated a motion in the courts to dismiss the case, but this attempt was denied by a District of Connecticut judge on July 19, 2011 and the franchisees were granted authority to pursue the case on all claims.
Farid is founder, together with his brothers, of the Salma K. Farid Academy, an Islamic school in Hamden, Connecticut that opened in October 2008. It is named in honour of Farid's mother, who died in 2005. Farid has also sought to establish a mosque in Wallingford, Connecticut to honour his mother, but failed to get town zoning approval for his proposal, which was strongly opposed by area residents. He is also a member of Deen Inc. New Haven, which aims to revitalize the inner-city neighbourhood.
In 2009 Tariq was recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year by the International Franchise Association. IN 2009 Tariq was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. He spoke at the 3rd Leadership Summit held by the council for the advancement of Muslim Professionals and at the Small Business Summit held by The New York Times.