As the gift industry continues to boom, confidentiality appears to be one approach for maintaining a competitive edge at the Fresh Fruit Bouquet Company. With the U.S. novelty gift industry divided in three segments, the marketplace thrives. pocketing t $17 billion dollar in revenue.
Novelty gifts, which include edible fruit baskets, account for 30 percent of the market share, followed by special occasions (12 percent) and gift-ware (vases, fruit bouquet containers) taking in 5 percent of the sector’s share.
The Fresh Fruit Bouquet Company qualifies potential investors based on several factors. Starting with a distinctive application process, entrepreneurs looking for information pertaining to the company have to subscribe to a number of terms. (Source: Fresh Fruit Bouquet, Application Agreement, http://www.ffbc.com/franchising/apply.asp, Assessed 9-07-12)
Given the competitive nature of the edible gift basket franchise industry the Fresh Fruit Bouquet company (FFBC) maintains its marketing, profits and intellectual properties sales information. Curious investors have to attest that:
FFBC application reads: “Applicant represents that he/she is not at this time, and has not at any time in the past, been involved directly or indirectly in any fruit or gourmet gift business, either as owner, contractor, employee, or in any other capacity…”
The prospective Fresh fruit Bouquet Company franchisee has to complete an application. Upon requesting information and exploring ownership, applicants must agree to a credit check.
While FFBC requires its investors to uphold its confidentiality disclosure, the fruit bouquet company inquires personal details about its applicants. Prospective franchisees have to provide financial details such as net worth and liquid assets. The application even asks whether the owner has ever had a bankruptcy, a previous felony conviction or been the owner of another business. And even though the application process includes privacy terms and a credit check, applicants are not under any obligation to purchase a franchise.
What is your opinion? Do you think that a fruit basket company has the right to require its applicant investors to maintain it confidentiality?