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Everything I Need to Know I Learned at McDonald's: CEO

Sunday, 8 Jul 2012 | 7:08 PM ET
Source: Edible Arrangements

What’s the best training for a CEO?

“[McDonald’s] was the best job I ever had,” Tariq Farid, founder and CEO of Edible Arrangements, told CNBC's Squawk Box. “I started working at McDonald’s at 15. It’s a phenomenal concept, sticking kids in the kitchen, teaching them systems, that this goes before this. I loved the system, and going through it, you really wanted to compete.”

Farid, whose company's 1,100 franchises are in the U.S. in 50 other countries, took what he learned about systems, training and customer service, and open a flower business at the age of 17. In the process of looking for new concepts and ways to gain more customers, he came up with edible flowers fashioned from fruit.

“I saw that people wanted the ‘wow’ factor, he said. And while it took a little while for the concept to catch on, by 1999, his Edible Arrangements concept opened in East Haven, Conn., and he began franchising the concept.

And those systems he learned so long ago at McDonalds are the foundation of Edible Arrangements’ success, and what prevents people from taking his concept for their own. “There's a lot that goes into it the product,” he said. “Every franchisee gets training. For us, the most important part [of a franchisee’s success] is consistency.”

Edible Opportunity in Fruit Arrangements
Edible Arrangements International CEO Tariq Farid discusses the challenges and success of growing his edible fruit company to more than 1,100 stores.

Farid said that the company will continue to expand domestically with franchises. “We have a long way to go in the U.S. We have great brand momentum. The most exciting thing for me is when a franchisee starts with a single store and now has five or six.”

As for that first job, if it was good enough for Dad, it will be good enough for his kids.

“I don't care how big we get or how rich we get, my kids will go through that and they will work,” said Farid. “They’ll work at a McDonald’s, at a fast-food [restaurant] to learn because [McDonald’s] has really defined great systems and it works for them and they're very successful.”

It sounds like if they want to follow in their father’s footsteps, they’ll have to start at the beginning.

Email us at SmallBiz@cnbc.com and follow us on Twitter @SmallBizCNBC.

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