Nothing is Sweet about Candy Bouquet!

From an alleged former franchisee: If Candy Bouquet International has been around since 1989, why don't they have a standardized POS (point of sale) system for their franchisees?

They claim to spend millions on building their brand - but did you know that the name "Candy Bouquet" can be used by anyone! The trademark office denied their claim to the name  - not once but twice! The only trademarks they own are their logo and a few slogans! The millions they spend is on selling more franchises seeing how the average life of a franchise is only estimated at 2.5 years! The attrition rate is also estimated at 60-70%! So many of the franchisees listed on the candybouquet.com locator are homebased businesses for which they work a real job because the Candy Bouquets do NOT support themselves!

The franchisees of Candy Bouquet are so despondent with the franchisor that they set up an independent association through the AAFD early last year! (Congrats on the AAFD awards!)The franchisees I've talked to complained of carpal tunnel and numerous other physical issues from making the bouquets due to repetive motion. The equipment referred to in the offering circular does less than 2% of the work and the rest is manual labor - hence the issues previously mentioned.

The only franchisees surviving the failing trend are those who have so diversified their stores as to NOT be dependent on the actual candy bouquets they were led to believe would carry their stores! Speaking of stores, did you know that there is no fixed model for a candy bouquet store? Go into any store, none are the same - so much for branding!

Candy Bouquet collects a monthly association fee which is a guaranteed revenue stream. Since so many franchisees struggle, a royalty wouldn't be profitable, so they offer a fixed fee. And not such a low cost franchise, none of the stores I spoke with were ever able to operate within the expenses indicated on the site. In fact, most owners are unable to pay themselves a salary or are able to afford employees! 

Oh lets not forget the noncompete clause - no candy stores, floral shops and gifts stores. The franchisees claim they were never taught ANYTHING as to how to operate a floral shop or gift store. As far as candy stores are concerned, you don't need to buy a franchise for that - you can do it on your own. As for Candy Bouquet, my advice? Buy a video! 


From the CEO of the franchisor:  Everything is Sweet about Candy Bouquet

Ms. Margaret McEntire, the chief executive officer of Candy Bouquet, Inc., contacted me and asked that I help her post a comment. It can be read in its entirety below. - Mr. Blue MauMau, moderator

I would like to thank all of you for your comments, negative and positive with regards to  Candy Bouquet.  The extraordinary thing about our country is that is that we do have freedom of speech.  On the internet, though, it can go unmonitored and can get out of hand and there is no delete button for statements put in an incorrect light. Candy Bouquet’s  independent franchisee association has a channel to mediate disputes with individuals and groups of franchisees and so does the International Franchise Association , which I am a board member.

I do think of the terrible example on youtube.com with the worker of a franchise company, that snorts some lettuce and then places it in the customer’s food.  What a terrible thing that made the entire  franchise company suffer because of the actions of a few.

I will promise to always try my best and have our employees do their best for you as well.  We have fulfilled all of the list of things that were asked of us here at Candy Bouquet International.  We have a good relationship with Bob Purvin and the AAFD.  If any franchisee has a problem with CBI or any issues,  I would hope that they would call CBI  and also make the Advisory Council aware of them.  We only work for you.

As a board member of the International Franchise Association, I have also learned from other franchisors that if there are ever any problems with the system, you embrace your franchisees and get them fixed as soon as possible.

I appreciate the opportunity to have this note put up. Thank you Mr. Blue Mau Mau!

Margaret McEntire
[Founder of] Candy Bouquet International, Inc.

Oh well....

Good for you MHO!

This has been a major problem for many years. Franchisees have spoken up, but have lacked the organization that is forceful enough to make CBI change. The ACBF is organized, but do not have the financial strength to do much.

Yes, dates were added to a few products, but the FDA has been changing date requirements. I highly doubt CBI had anything to do with the dates on the products. My money is on the FDA.

MM has found a money tree and it is in franchisees. The only way to make CBI listen is with money. If you are looking into buying a franchise or extending your contract...DON'T. If you own a franchise, only buy what your contract says you have to buy. Remember this economy is horrible. I wouldn't want to have to pay MM instead of a mortgage payment.

I do believe this blog is getting to MM. I bet she reads it every day. Speak up. Let her know. You do have the freedom of speech.

on October 7th, 2008

Hi

This post caught my eye because it mentions losing your home and claiming bankruptcy. I am a former Candy Bouquet franchisee and I lost my entire savings in trying to make my business work. I have filed personal and business bankruptcy and I lost my home as a result. I am now living with the fact that I am broke after being suckered into buying into a failing idea. I have been put on anxiety medication and have been treated for an increased heart rate. I am only 23 years old. If you are thinking of buying into this frachise, DON'T. It ruined my life.

on November 3rd, 2008

Re: Hi

Sorry to hear about all of your problems. The only positive is that you are 23, and have a lot of time to make it up. Many more are a lot closer to retirement, and lost their retirement money.

on November 6th, 2008

Re: Re: Hi

Well, I am glad to see that I am not in this boat by myself. Since I am only 23, I have returned to college and I guess am blessed that this happened to me at young age. I've never looked at it from that perspective and I do feel sorry for the people who spent their retirement on something that they were led to believe was going to benefit them. I guess the only thing that is hard for me is that my husband and I were blessed to own our own home and have a large savings at such a young age. We lost our savings and our home because of Candy Bouquet's dishonesty. It's like we took a giant step backwards. I mean we're renting again. And what has made it even more frustrating is that I see from Candy Bouquet's website that they now tell people that Candy Bouquet only does well as a home based business or as an addition to an already existing store. I opened as a store front selling Candy Bouquets exclusively. Its not fair that they knowingly did not tell me that my store would not make it and they do tell people that now. Its not fair that they neglected to tell me this on purpose just because they wanted my money. The Candy Bouquet staff seemed so nice when the whole time they were stabbing me in the back. My husband and I thought that we were doing something good for our family by investing our money in a business and I hate that it backfired on us. It's just that it would have been easier to deal with if I had lost it in a legitimate business attempt and not to someone who is only interested in selling franchises and not building a brand. Since we are so young, I know that we will recover one day and I hope that everyone else who has lost so much through this franchise as we have will have the chance to recover also.

on November 14th, 2008

candy bouquet franchise

Sorry about your franchising experience with Candy Bouquet. I have been seriously considering buying a franchise but not anymore. I was under the impression that the owner was a christian and seeking to help those like herself earn income while at home. I've read everything I could find on this franchise and must admit that the contract wasn't what I could bind myself to. Then I came across this site and the stories are horrible. I can't believe I even considered this franchise without further background check. This has been an eye opener for sure and I'm so sorry about your situation.

on November 7th, 2008

Re: candy bouquet franchise

What is really unfortunate is that this 23 year olds' situation is rampant within the franchise. IF you aren't already bankrupt, get out before you have to file. In my case I used up all my retirement savings and maxed out credit cards that are still getting paid off. Some Christian MM turned out to be. Sometimes it is a real good sign when someone is thumping their Bible too loud and and likening themsleves to Mother Theresa........run the other way!!!!!!

on November 7th, 2008

Former Franchisee

We are former Candy Bouquet Franchisee owners.

We invested in Candy Bouquet not knowing what we were getting ourselves into, after 3 years we knew we had to make the decision of getting deeper into debt or walking away with dignity. We chose the later, so do we regret having spent 3 years trying to build this business?, we would have to say no, because at the time this is what we truely wanted to be doing and we enjoyed it very much. We just did not have the finanical strength to keep going without going futher in debt.

Yes, there are many things that we could have done different, had we known. The economy was already slowing down when we decided to end our journey with CBI, so we feel we made a good decision by choosing the later. We do not feel like losers or quitters, because we know we gave it our best. We gained more knowledge along the way and had the opportunity of meeting some wonderful folks that were taking this journey with us.

Believe me it wasn't easy for us to say Goodbye, we invested a lot of money, time and effort and what we believed was a wonderful journey. We had to file bankruptcy to protect our personal assets from creditors, could this have be avoided, yes, if we had known how to run our business differently like many of you have learned to do.

As some of you are probably facing this decision yourselves right now rest assured if you choose to end this journey you are not losers. Don't allow this to stop you from making the decision that the best decision is ending this journey. It may not be easy for you, but believe me you will survive, we have. We have picked ourselves up and have moved on, has it been easy? no, but it has been easier than trying to hang on to something that no mater what you try, you know in your heart that it is time to move on.

For those of you that have the means of hanging in there, we commend you very much. You have taken the steps to be heard, so that there can be changes made for the benefit of the Franchisee and Franchisor relationship one day soon!

For those of you that may be new to this franchise, reach out to those that have been around for while and learn from them. We reached out a little to late for us, but we are where we need to be today and we have no regrets. We would like to send our best wishes to each and one of you. The holiday are approaching and make a mental note to yourselves that you will not be participants in this so called recession, get creative and you will have a prosperous holiday this season!

God Bless, you are all in our prayers and make it a prosperous journey!

on October 12th, 2008

Thank you...

For sharing your story. Hope more come forward to share the good and bad.

Been doing a lot of reading on Leadership in order to enhance my future career after Candy Bouquet - glad I'm still somewhat young!

In my opinion, what we are dealing with in this franchise is Pseudo-transformational type leader. The ones who say trust me and after we sign on only to learn they cannot be trusted. They seek power and positions even at the expense of their followers achievements (us franchisees). It is really interesting reading and scary at the same time. Add the word Narcissistic in the front of the above type of leader and it is even worse. Just think of Machiavelli (good reading too).

The only justice in the end, this type of leadership style will end up resulting in the demise of the organization.

Okay - back to reading!

on October 13th, 2008

Re: Franchisor not protecting the Brand?

What a shame Candy Bouquet did not partner with FTD, PROFlowers, Teleflora, etc. Not only would the franchisees be busy all year long but Candy Bouquet would probably have sold more franchises too. It would have gotten the product/brand out there to the public and as a result more franchises would be sold. A good wire service is also necessary to be able to meet customers' demands. Customers don't want to be waiting 3-5 days for their bouquets to arrive. They want it there the next day. Since Candy Bouquet does not have a wire service of their own, the large floral companies could have provided it for them.

on October 18th, 2008

Anything for money - right?

Oh - this is good as good as it gets. Candy Bouquet is now pushing franchisees to pay $6000 to put an JC Penny order kiosk in their stores! Revenues earned - estimated at 12% of the sale. When asked for the test market info, it was found to be the idea of a franchisee that the CEO swiped to make her own - only 3, yes 3 weeks after the franchisee contacted CB about permission to put a kiosk in her store!

How are sales tracked, commissions tracked and paid? But wait, the Candy Bouquet stores are expected to house all the crap these people order too! This takes up more floor space and eliminates jcp needs to house the products. Does this make the franchisee responsible for the quality of the product at delivery time? Responsible for returns? Processing credit cards? Handling delivery timeline issues? All very time consuming - but then again most franchisees don't draw a salary anyway, so what's a little more work right?

My question is why in the world would anyone put one of these kiosks in their store, thereby taking up valuable floor space, phone lines and that offers competing gift products when all someone needs to do is go to jcp.com and order online anyway? How many homes do you know of that don't have a pc to do this in the convenience and privacy of their own home dressed in their underwear if they choose? A $6000 computer station is all it seems to be.

Really, I think this is more proof that CBI has lost its focus on what the product truly is and how to brand itself in the marketplace. If they were smart, they would get jcp to put CB order kiosks in THEIR stores to support the franchisees. I wonder who would foot the bill for those kiosks and I'm sure JCP would want more than 12% to take orders!

Call me crazy, but I imagine

on October 30th, 2008

FTD Services

"What a shame Candy Bouquet did not partner with FTD, PROFlowers, Teleflora, etc."

Well said. It's not too late.

on November 13th, 2008

It IS too late ...

to brand something that nearly everyone is now doing. The time to have branded was years ago before everyone and anyone started making and calling their creations candy bouquets. Think about it, for fruit bouquets what comes to mind - Edible Arrangements, for cookie bouquets what comes to mind - Cookies by Design. After 20 years CBI should be the "go to" experts for bouquets, but a lack of true branding by the franchisor has led to the demise of its franchisees. Their lack of effort in brand development rather than franchise sales opened the door to the large companies like FTD that we now must compete against for business.

on November 13th, 2008

Re: CBI

The big difference between CBI, Edible Arrangements and Cookies By Design is that CBI is franchise sales driven and the other two are product sales driven. This franchisor could give a sh*t about the franchisees staying in their lack of system! No model, no system, no business plan, not branded, etc, etc, etc.......we all got suckered and bought snake oil! Read all the articles about this franchisor and you will see that all she cares about is selling franchises. Also, take a good look at her financials in the UFOCs/UFDDs and you will see that she puts nothing back into this franchise. She keeps it cash poor. That speaks volumes about this type of franchisor. Greed! Also, the warehouse sale says it again. No net 30, only cash, credit card or bank withdrawal. Seems to me someones cash flow is hurting. Won't even extend net30 to franchisees in a downturn economy and they are coming up on one of the biggest holidays of the year. Oh but having a sale on products that are already highly priced! What a franchisor :(((( always there to take your credit card.

The candy bouquet product itself is now just a mass market product. You can even buy them at Walmarts during Valentines! They are everywhere. Ours are just more time consuming due to the raw materials that are used. Take a good look at the copycats. They don't use all that cello. Theirs are full of candy, you can not eat the fluff that we are "directed" to use.

My biggest hope is that this franchise dissolves soon to save the existing and future zees from this financial nightmare.

on November 13th, 2008

Not Protecting CBI Brand

Has anyone from corporate addressed the issue of FTD, PROFLOWERS, TELEFLORA, etc. selling candy bouquets? The problem is very real. It seems to me that the market is becoming over staturated with candy bouquets and if corporate doesn't start advertising or do something new and exciting it will eventually cease to exist. You can't keep selling franchises only to have them go out of business a year or two later. That's just bad business and it hurts everyone involved. My sales have plummeted since July. I was selling 20-25 bouquets a week and I'm down to just 5 or 6. It's been so bad that I've had to take a second job just to pay the bills. The grocery store in my town is carrying Candy Blossoms that sell for $19.99 - $29.99. Of course, they are not as nice as ours but they are selling. Every time I go in there they are putting out more. While our bouquets are absolutely beautiful with gourmet candies and chocolates, it seems to me that in this poor economy consumers are looking for an "affordable" bouquet with "favorite" candies. Even the local florist shop has a poster in the window advertising that they now carry candy bouquets. If I owned this franchise I would be very concerned. I would be doing everything possible to keep my franchisees in business. At the end of the day, if the franchisees don't do well, corporate doesn't do well.

on November 11th, 2008

Any suggestions for value products?

Do you think $5 might be a good value price point? Can stores survive on that as a lead in product?

on November 13th, 2008

ACBF

Have you joined the association? If not, email [email protected]

on November 13th, 2008

Re: ACBF

I would join the ACBF in a heart beat if I thought my $200 would go to a good cause. As far as I can see, they've done nothing to benefit me or the other stores in my state. Why isn't the ACBF calling corporate and discussing the branding and promotion of the product? Candybouquet.com should be driving more sales to all of the franchises. Instead it's there to sell franchises. We aren't even provided statistics on our Evermist sitelets. How do we even know if anyone is clicking on them?

on November 19th, 2008

Re: Re: ACBF

They have been calling corporate and discussing all of those issues. They even got the franchisor to the table and she even came to their breakfast meeting at the convention. There is a good old saying - strength in numbers. Maybe Mr. Mufflerman and Mr. Webster could pipe in on how franchise associations work and the more members the merrier. If the membership would grow to 100 or more franchisees then this franchisor would have to start listening!

Contact Stacie Powers at the [email protected]

Thank you.

on November 19th, 2008

Franchisee Association and Negotiation Training

The AAFD is considering a proposal by Mediation Works Inc to offer negotiation training to franchisee associations.

If you think that ACBF could benefit from expert negotiation training, you should make it known to the AAFD. 

Michael Webster, a franchisee attorney in Toronto, Ontario, who publishes a website on business opportunities and franchises, called "The BizOp News" 

Posted by michael webster on November 19th, 2008

Thank you Michael. Will look

Thank you Michael.

Will look into that with Stacie.

Yes, the more members the more negotiation leverage we as an association will have with CBI. My guess is right now there is approximately less then 500 franchisees. There may be 800 territories sold but that does not equate to stores/homebased units actually operating. Just think, last year there were 222 closures with 115 of those units being "terminated". Did CBI really terminate that many units for violating their agreements? No (and yes), from my understanding those franchisees could not be contacted because they closed up shop and just disappeared. How in the world do you lose track of that many franchisees who bought into this franchise organization? That is pretty frightening! And unfortunately that is what is happening in this organization! The franchisor needs to be held liable for what is going on out here in the "REAL WORLD"! Instead of changing a logo and trying to rebrand a brand that is not even branded, they should be more concerned with rolling out a viable business model and plan that will benefit all not one. They need to take care of their "in-house" / "dirty laundry" issues first! You can not continue to move forward while you sweep all your problems under the rug. It all starts at the top. The culture at the top needs to change.

This franchisor really knows how to play the carrot game and will continue to tell the franchisees - it's coming, we are working on it! Again, as the association grows in numbers, the more negotiation leverage we will have in making sure that what is coming actually happens and benefits all.

on November 20th, 2008

CBI address the issue to FTD selling candy bouquets NEVER WILL!!

CBI is aware and of course never will respond directly to any franchisees that ask valid business questions concerning the FTD co-branding with Sweets in Bloom to drop ship candy bouquets.

Instead they are currently more worried about a new logo and a 20th anniversay for CBI. Will a new logo and 20th anniversary press release re-brand candy bouquet??? NO WAY!!! Re-branding will never work until candy bouquet international changes the company name to one that can be trademarked and a national ad branding campaign happens. Oh, but I forgot they cannot run national ad campaigns because they are an international company or so they tell their franchisees.

Like many have said before, anyone can open a candy bouquet store, and call it candy bouquet since the name candy bouquet cannot be trademarked. Not sure why the generic name candy bouquet is not made clear to prospective franchisees guess maybe it would cut into their sale of franchises.

Be careful when looking into this company from one who learned the truth the hard way. Just wish CBI would be more willing to work with their franchisees. Where is their advice during this economic downturn? Oh that's right, forgot they don't worry about their franchisees, how do I keep forgetting that one little important fact??

on November 14th, 2008

Protected brand name

Guest writes: Not sure why the generic name candy bouquet is not made clear to prospective franchisees guess maybe it would cut into their sale of franchises.

That should be clear in the Offering Circular.

Apart from that, having a trade name that cannot be protected is not the brightest business decision.

Paul SteinbergFranchisee Attorney, New York City, Ph: 212-529-5400

on November 14th, 2008

Diluted

Read the offering on file, you'll see that the "trademarked" issue is diluted by CBI saying they have a trademarked logo - very deceptive since the words Candy Bouquet are included in that logo and would lead a perspective franchisee to think they are a trademarked company.

on November 16th, 2008

Even more diluted

It's not till you arrive for CBI training do you really understand candy bouquet is not trademarked, thus rendering the generic term candy bouquet useless, the clincher is you are encouraged to call your business candy bouquet per the FDD. The majority of perspective franchisees who bought into CBI actually believed candy bouquet was a trademarked term its not until CBI lays the bomb on you during training week do you discover candy bouquet is not trademarked. Even lawyers are confused by CBI's deceptive words in the FDD about the candy bouquet not being trademarked. How is a regular Joe the prospective franchisee to understand? Once you find this out CBI will not allow you out of the contract even though you are merely in training.

How many people would check with the government to see if CBI actually trademarked the term candy bouquet if their brochures and UFOC/FDD led you to believe otherwise? Franchisee, after franchisee, after franchisee believed and trusted what they read from CBI to be true but in fact was not. Just where are the franchisee rights and how is it a franchisor could be allowed to get away with such deceptive tactics? You buy into a system who has fleeced you from the get go and are powerless just because you signed a diluted agreement. Franchisees have NO RIGHTS why is this allowed to happen?

Consider this, would you check to see if McDonald’s, Starbuck’s or Old Navy was a registered trademark with the government? No, you would trust that the franchise company you were buying into had protected their name and were honest about it. How many of you actually checked prior to purchasing your franchise that the business name was truly a trademarked name???

Searching for a solution that allows franchisees to nullify their CBI contract.

on November 17th, 2008

RE: Even more diluted

Considering Candy Bouquet has been around since 1989 makes one wonder why they are not trademarked, if not for the franchisee but for their own protection. CBI is planning a 20 year anniversary and will be coming out with a new logo. Guess what the new logo will tout once again the term candy bouquet. Again CBI fails to understand that we all need a brand name that is trademarked and others cannot call themselves.

Guess in 20 years Candy Bouquet has learned very little about promoting themselves as a brand since FTD now sells Candy Bouquets. So what if it hurts the bottom line of their franchisees. Candy Bouquet corporate doesn’t fail since they resell the territory when the franchisee fails and closes. Candy Bouquet just resells the territory again to a new franchisee and makes money off them until they fail, where it starts all over again.

How is this considered legal??? Just last year 222 CBI’s franchises closed according to their FDD. Don't understand the franchisor looses nothing.

on November 17th, 2008

Re: RE: Even more diluted

From what I have heard, I believe they have trademarked the name candybouquet.com and this is the name that will be on the new logo but, who wants their store front to be named candybouquet.com?

on November 17th, 2008

Re: Re: RE: Even more diluted

If the franchisor was smart, she would announce the 20 year anniversary with a new "trademarked" name for the franchise along with a new logo. She's already going to be sending out press releases. Why not make it something big and exciting? She could call it some kind of candy shop or gift shop featuring the original candy bouquet. I think one of the neatest names currently being used by a franchisee is "A Sweet Idea" featuring candy bouquet. Another name I like being used by a franchisee is "Gifts Delivered" featuring candy bouquet. Then you could offer any kind of candy or gift. She could have a new store layout, pos system, wire service, line of chocolates, etc. You've got to re-invent the whole thing, not just a piece of it. And there has to be something striking that catches people's attention. Candy bouquets are everywhere. Why should someone buy our candy bouquet over FTD's? There has to be something really different that makes the consumer want to pay almost twice the price. A new logo will do nothing to a stale company but a new name and expanded store concept will do wonders.

on November 17th, 2008

RE: Re: Re: RE: Even more diluted

Amen to that!!!

A new name trademarked name, logo, store layout, pos system, wire service; line of chocolates, all together would inject excitement into the whole system. It would for certain pull the system of franchisees back together.

Thing is CBI has already trademarked another name, A Candy Store with More, all they need to add is featuring the original candy bouquet...much like Cookie Bouquet/Cookies By Design has done. All corporate would need to do is complete the store layout, pos system, wire service, add a line of chocolates, and roll this plan out.

Candy Bouquet is going no where for their franchisees until the name is changed and a plan is set forth. Candy & fudge sales are how many franchisees currently survive.

Too bad corporate does not take suggestions from their franchisees who have been around the block a time or two.

on November 18th, 2008

Interesting

You be the judge.

http://arkansasmatters.com/media_player.php?media_id=163111

It really explains why this franchisor is eager for the franchisees to start using CandyBouquet.com as their logo. Will direct more traffic to her franchise sales driven website. Will the franchisees see an increase on online sales? Highly doubt it since many canned their EverMist sitelet and states that soon the franchisees will be taking holiday orders. The upcoming holidays should have been promoted well before Halloween. This franchisor either does not get it or really loves setting the franchisees up for failure. My humble opinion ** a lot of both!

Those bouquets that she is surrounded by for Christmas - last years!

on November 19th, 2008

Re: Interesting

Would like to make one thing clear. In order to order a Candy Bouquet, you can not order directly from the franchise home page. You have to go to the homepage then click on where to order, select the zip or state. Then select the city/town and if the franchisee has a sitelet/website you can order from there. If they don't have a sitelet/website, you have to call and order (just hope someone answers the phone). Too many clicks and cumbersome. So for a franchisor who claims to have used the internet for years, they are really behind the times for their franchisees.

Again, franchise sales driven not product driven!

on November 19th, 2008

Re: Re: Interesting

If the web site worked the right way a customer would place an order and it would be forwarded to the closest Candy Bouquet franchise. It would save our customers the $15 it costs to ship the oversized package.

on November 19th, 2008

Trademark and Deception

Or you could just do the search yourself on the Trademark database and discover the truth. 

Michael Webster, a franchisee attorney in Toronto, Ontario, who publishes a website on business opportunities and franchises, called "The BizOp News" 

Posted by michael webster on November 17th, 2008

Re: Trademark and Deception

Thank you for your post. We have done that after becoming a frachisee. There was a good four or more years that franchisees were told that CBI was "working" on trademarking the name Candy Bouquet and they were led to believe that it would be trademarked even after it had been rejected. The unfortunate thing is that there are brochures, articles and few other marketing materials that have the trademark symbol after the name Candy Bouquet which misleads the prospective to believe that the name is trademarked. It is even that way on page ii of the UFOC, including 2008's UFDD after CBI was rejected by the trademark board, (TESS2.uspto.gov) saying the name was too generic. The verbage in the UFOC/UFDD is extremely confusing especially when you are contracted to call your store Candy Bouquet. They have trademarked the name Candybouquet.com - BUT - this franchisors home page is mostly franchise sales driven so it is practically useless for the franchisees.

Unfortunately the franchisor keeps slithering through with their deceptive tactics. The snake oil drama continues and too many unfornates on a daily basis.

Again, thank you.

on November 17th, 2008

Well Said Paul! Thank you!!!

Well said Paul, "having a trade name that cannot be protected is not the brightest business decision." Thank you!

Candy Bouquet has a trade name that cannot be protected as anyone can open a candy bouquet and call it a candy bouquet. Just look at the FTD florist they sell "Sweets In Bloom" candy bouquets and are marketing them as "candy bouquet". How come CBI does not understand the problem with their franchisees calling their stores candy bouquet? Instead corporate initiates a new logo and yes it's still candy bouquet but with a .com. Just Google candy bouquet and you can see the number of placed that market the trade name candy bouquet.

It makes one wonder why CBI doesn’t get it and are they really setting up their franchisees for failure?

Posted by Guest on December 3rd, 2008

Re: Well Said Paul! Thank you!!!

CBI doesn't care if you fail. Your territory is just re-sold and re-sold and re-sold. That's how the company makes money - selling and re-selling territory. I noticed in the SBA video another guest posted on this site under "re-branding" MM talks about possibly starting another franchise. Candy Bouquet is no longer a priority to her. If it were me, I would have sold the whole concept years ago to FTD.

Posted by Guest on December 3rd, 2008

CBI Founder does address FTD issue on CBI Blog - My Bad my bad

A franchisee writes on CBI's Blog:

Hi Everyone
In the coupon section of our Sunday paper Sweets in Bloom had a full size ad. Not sure if it was just in our area or all over. Shows a picture of a candy bouquet one of the fakes. I hope a lot of people around here do not think ours look like that. Did any one else see that?

Margaret McEntire responds:
We haven't seen any. Through the years, they have brought more business to us than taken from us through their "enhanced photography". The actual arrangements are awful!

Another franchisee reports: At least they advertise

Another franchisee reports: They advertised here too

So what comes to my mind as a franchisees after reading the franchisers blog?

Here goes, this is what I think I read:
While Sweets In Bloom® has cobranded with FTD®, all the while calling their creations candy bouquets, our exclusive business trade name, CBI Founder reassures her franchisees with words of wisdom, that their "enhanced photography" brings CBI franchisees more business as the actual arrangements are awful!

Okay I'm suppose to THINK and be ENCOURAGED that Sweets In Bloom® IS actually HELPING ME by advertising in my exclusive territory, and their products are so awful that it will actually bring me more business. Okay did I get that right?

Is it just me, or is this a ridiculous thing to say to your franchisees? Shouldn’t the franchiser instead be helping the franchisees to combat this “one man show out of Ohio” from taking business from the franchisees that actually pay CBI monthly fees to make and sell candy bouquets? Please show me the ere’ of my ways! Yes I know I bought snake oil but obligated by my contract. Maybe I could have some peace of mind by just knowing it’s not me thinking the wrong way – but possibly corporate.

Oh well, guess maybe I will hurry on in to the store this morning, make a huge, huge, huge bouquet today and go play the “pay it forward” game. You know the new game CBI suggested, Tasty Tip #5, give your bouquets away in hopes it will bring more business your way. Anyone ever saw what an eaten candy bouquet looks like? Not sure why they would promote passing a bouquet to another person that some of the candy has been eaten.

Wait I have a better idea – do any of you lawyers like to barter? How about trading bouquets and baskets for legal services as all these CBI franchisees are so cash poor, but sure do know how to make beautiful creations. The holidays are fast approaching any takers???

on November 21st, 2008

Re-branding of Candy Bouquet

Check this out. Margaret McEntire talks about re-branding Candy Bouquet.

http://www.sbtv.com/?segid=1942

Posted by Guest on November 30th, 2008

Re-branding Candy Bouquet

The web site is also being re-branded.

http://mikeprecious.com/blog/?p=175

Posted by Guest on November 30th, 2008

Re: Re-branding of Candy Bouquet

This franchisor can roll out a new logo, redesign her website and whatever else. It does not matter. If the culture at the top does not change, nothing internal changes! Once a crock always a crock. Plus the new logo is a total joke. For years franchisees have been trying to tell the customers the bouquets are not made with just lollipops, so what does the franchisor come out with ~ a lollipop logo with colors that are a trend of the past!

For all the new stuff the franchisor is supposed to be coming out with, have yet to see anything and doubt we ever will. It's all talk and no action.

This franchisor does not give a sh*t about the franchisees, once you sign on the dotted line and hand them your credit card, you have been had.

Posted by Guest on December 2nd, 2008

Any new updates concerning CBI's claim to D&B rating of 100%?

Any update on Margaret's cbifc forum claim concerning Candy Bouquet International and the perfect 100% rating score from Dun & Bradstreet. Heard the highest D & B rating is an 80 score not the reported 100% score the founder claimed when "supposedly" D & B called her concerning the new 100% rating. Actually when she reported the 100% rating to all her franchisees on the cbifc forum the score really was71 or in the low 70's. Heard it has dropped twice since, from the 70's rating, to a current low 40’s rating. Anyone know the exact scores?

Question for you about this rating since the rating declined so quickly does this signal CBI is in trouble or is it normal for a D & B rating to decline quickly? Wonder if they will cut more personnel like they did 90 days or so ago? Those poor people at corporate only time will tell if they will survive just like the franchisees. Oh my what is going to happen next?

Posted by Guest on December 2nd, 2008

Re: CBI D&B rating

Are you trying to say that it was reported by the franchisor that she was rated at 100% and it is now down in the low 40%?

Hopefully that means the ship will be sinking real soon.

Posted by Guest on December 3rd, 2008

Re: CBI D&B rating

Yip that would be absolutely correct! The CBI franchisor has told the franchisees (late summer) that D&B called corporate and told them CBI’s rating was 100%. In checking with the D&B there is not a 100% rating unless of course your score is rated 80 which is a perfect score. Heard when the franchisor first reported the 100% the actual CBI score was in the low 70's. Since then, CBI’s D&B’s score has declined twice to the current score in the low 40's. Anyone know the exact numbers CBI’s score has declined according to the D&B they could post?

Hey there, it's not a sinking ship! Lest we forget, CBI franchisees are on the CBI plane with the CBI pilot and we are not allowed to question our destination. Thus according to the D&B report are we not heading straight into the mountain thinking all the while, surely someone will speak up requesting that a crew member please tell the CBI pilot we are headed for the mountain? Oh my, how could we forget this one small thing; franchisees are not allowed to question or talk to the CBI pilot nor would the CBI crew members dare pass on any such message for fear of loosing their jobs. Franchisees have been told they must trust and believe as the CBI pilot knows best how to navigate this plane in the direction we are going.

According to these D&B ratings ya think this CBI plane is heading down or is this just normal turbulence?

Posted by Guest on December 3rd, 2008

Re: Re: CBI D&B rating

Just to clarify, D&B has multiple scores. The score MM was talking about was her Paydex score. This score was not an 80 and never was for the past 12 months. At the time she said it was an 80, the D&B report that was pulled said it was a 72 (which means 12 days past terms). I have not seen an update to this score (although given the drop below I can see this going down too).

The 43 represents CBI's percintile. This was a 48 when it was first pulled and has since dropped to 43. This means that CBI pays its bills better than 42% of rated companies (this means they are paying late).

Just thought I would clarify

Posted by Guest on December 3rd, 2008

Thanks for the clarification!

Thanks for the clarification and explaining the rating!

Posted by Guest on December 3rd, 2008

Great Big Koolaid Smile...

on my face knowing that CBI is late in paying its bills - perhaps this is part of the reason the credit terms for franchisees have been pulled?

I obnoxiously laugh at this situation - after all that CBI has done to so many, it's like the OJ Simpson karma - what goes around comes around!

Good God almighty help us all if she starts another franchise. We MUST do our best to report and link that franchise to this site and the information put forth here. I honestly can't see a leopard changing it's spots - not when making money for 2 decades was so easy to do and with no conscience or accountability.

I just feel bad for those of us stuck in the web of deceit!

Posted by Guest on December 5th, 2008

A very good franchise

I believe you use to work for Candy Bouquet. Could this be a reason for your postings of negativity?

Posted by Guest on January 6th, 2009

who are you talking to???!!?!

This posting makes no sense...wondering who you are talking about.

Posted by Guest on January 6th, 2009

Another Reason........

To run from this franchise opportunity.

 

For the prospects, current and past franchisees who read this forum don't be suckered into this get rich quick scheme of MM's! After a franchisee in the far upper rural West decided to put a JC Penney catalog kiosk in her store, our wonderful franchisor blurts out that this is a wonderful opportunity for us all!  She goes on to tell us that this was a "test" store and it has been successful. People who are ordering (yes online in a Candy Bouquet store) are now realizing the store has been there for just over two years and are now buying other products when they place their JCP orders and when they pick up their JCP orders at the franchisees store.  Just amazing! Now, get this.  The best part of it all, our wonderful franchisor won't disclose the test stores due to privacy but she has been negotiating the best deal possible with them for US! Therefore, for those who like to do their due diligence, shame on us!  We just need to follow what our "Pied Piper" franchisor tells us to do.  Boy will this lady just lead us all to our demise! Churner, churner, churner!  We were informed that JCP has the information on the franchisee locations and if they feel we are in a good fit area to add a kiosk to our store, the wonderful opportunity will cost us $6,000!  Boy, oh boy!  We are in a downturn economy, most states are in a recession and now we have the opportunity to pay a "Big Box" the opportunity to take up square footage in our store! But need to mention, we may receive up to 12% of the sales made in our store and a small percentage if a person in our JCP territory orders online elsewhere!  WOW!  So, now we have the wonderful opportunity to offer everything from a lollipop, domestic house wares to lingerie - YES, we can now sell panties!!!  Without disclosing the "test store(s)" we just need to forget about the costs of this opportunity.  Never mind the sunk costs you already have but mostly just forget about the variable costs because if you follow MM's lead, you will just be successful.  Upon doing my math and playing with the numbers by creating scenarios if I was to add a JCP kiosk to my store - approximate loss of $16 per $100 sale!  Don't worry - have no intentions of doing such. 

 

Just recently, we found out that the "test" store has only been doing this for 3 weeks and made a commission of $500 so far. And did not even know that she was a test store because she did this on her own!  When doing the math, it will take about 2.5 years for the ROI which is the average lifespan of a Candy Bouquet franchisee.  So guess it is a good fit there!  Also, learned that JCP is closing down a good majority of their own catalog showrooms, saving them millions of $$$. Just go figure. Totally at a loss on how this is a good fit with the world’s largest (shrinking) candy store franchise?????  Wouldn't it just make better sense to co brand us with Hershey’s, M&M Mars, or another well known chocolate/candy brand and hook us up with FTD and Teleflora for wiring services?  Boy, oh boy oh boy.

 

But with all that said, this one is for Mr. Mufflerman, any Jiffy Lube franchisee and any Econolube franchisee:

 

What will the costs be to partner with any of you so that we can all get greased before we get screwed all the more????     

 

Looking forward to your quotes, because the Snake Oil we bought into is drying up fast!

Posted by Running on October 30th, 2008

Re: Nothing is Sweet about Candy Bouquet!

Have any Candy Bouquet franchisees seen this?

Illinois Franchisees File Class Action Suit Against Quiznos Sub
2007-04-19 20:23:17 –

CHICAGO, April 19 /PRNewswire/ — A class-action lawsuit was filed against Quiznos Sub today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleging that the company has systematically defrauded its franchisees in a scheme designed to build the brand at the expense of its operators in the field.

Among other things, the lawsuit contends that the company forces franchisees to buy food, supplies, and services from Quiznos or its affiliates at inflated prices while concurrently setting artificially low retail prices for its products — in many instances, making the stores unprofitable for the franchisees.

(Does this sound familiar to any failing Candy Bouquet franchisees? Candy bouquets are made from supplies bought from the franchisor and, after paying for supplies and labor, candy bouquets are impossible to sell at a reasonable price which makes it impossible for a Candy Bouquet store to be profitable by only selling candy bouquets. This is something that is not stated in the Candy Bouquet UFOC)

In addition, the plaintiffs allege that Quiznos unlawfully participates in a scheme to sell the franchises by omitting or otherwise misrepresenting key facts about Quiznos’ business operations in an effort to induce potential franchisees to buy into the system.

(Again, sound familiar? There are many many facts that are purposely excluded in the Candy Bouquet UFOC such as: candy bouquets alone will not support a store front, it is not easy to make candy bouquets and everyone does not have a talent for it, and Candy Bouquet is not a trademarked name.)

In seeking damages for lost investments as well as injunctive relief, the suit alleges, among other things, statutory and common law fraud, violations of federal and state antitrust laws, violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, breach of contract, and violations of Illinois franchise and consumer protection laws.

Source: http://www.franchisepick.com/quiznos-franchise-lawsuits-just-keep-on-coming

Does this sound like CBI could possibly face a class action lawsuit someday?

on November 25th, 2008

Yes......

And will reply later............have to finish up a couple of nice, profitable large gift basket orders! So far, turned inventory over twice!

Posted by Guest on December 15th, 2008