Sponsored by Blink Fitness.
As more states raise the minimum wage and competition for talented restaurant workers increases, many franchisees are looking for ways to diversify their portfolios. Though it may not be the first industry restaurant operators turn to when considering ways to branch out, fitness franchising can offer lucrative investment opportunities.
Blink Fitness, a premium quality, affordable fitness brand with nearly 100 locations throughout the country, is seeking new franchisees. Founded in 2011, the New York-based concept ranked in the top half (No.2138) of the nation's fastest-growing private companies on the 2018 Inc. 5000 list. With a three-year growth rate of 208 percent, the company is expected to surpass the 300-unit mark by 2023.
As with the restaurant industry, market value for health and wellness in the U.S. is growing steadily. In 2015, it was valued at $166 billion and is expected to reach $179 billion by 2020. Blink Fitness aligns itself perfectly with this surging market, offering key differentiators that appeal to both consumers and franchise investors.
“Restaurant operators are looking for consistent returns and ways to cut costs while increasing revenues,” says Thomas Flaherty, president of franchising of Blink Fitness. “They also want their new industry and concept to be favorable in many ways the foodservice industry is not—low and unspecialized labor, simple operations, recurring membership revenue, no inventory or spoilage, and predictability,” added Flaherty, who led development efforts for leading restaurant brands, like Papa John’s, before joining Blink Fitness.
Recognizing that labor costs are becoming increasingly difficult to manage, Blink Fitness uses technology to its advantage to keep costs low. “We identified early on that tech allows us to automate certain tasks—such as using kiosks for members to sign up and manage memberships. We’ve also partnered with best-in-class technology companies like Towel Tracker, Vengo and Fitness on Demand, which help us streamline operations for franchisees. These innovations enable us to keep employee headcount low at our gyms,” added Todd Magazine, CEO of Blink Fitness. “This is a huge differentiator for us as multi-unit groups seek out low-labor models as alternatives.”
The Blink Fitness model boasts several key attributes that set it apart in the fitness world, too. Its “Mood Above Muscle” philosophy celebrates the positive feelings associated with exercise, not just the physical benefits, and positions it nicely with today’s body positivity movement.
Technology also allows the company to offer a plethora of member features like a mobile app that delivers personalized content curated for its members. The content includes hundreds of workout videos, guided meditations, healthy recipes, and nutrition advice from brand partners. Gyms also feature touchscreen Vengo vending machines and a high-tech tracking system that prevents towel theft. Select locations even boast Amazon Lockers.
Blink Fitness is a strong player in both urban and suburban environments. “One notable characteristic of our brand is that we are opening more and more frequently in communities where there are limited or no high-quality fitness options,” Magazine says. “Our members place a great deal of importance on the value they get from their membership.”
Franchisees also have access to experienced senior leadership team that includes executives from blue chip brands in retail and hospitality.
“We’re very selective with who we award franchises to, and we are equally as thoughtful about the markets into which we expand,” Magazine says. “As we are an early-stage franchisor, we have many markets available for development, which is very exciting.”
Learn more about how restaurant operators can diversify with Blink Fitness.
By Davina van Buren.
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