Exporting an established American franchise to a foreign country is not always a slam dunk. Case in point is Anytime Fitness, which had to do a lot of public relations damage control when its master franchisee in India closed its clubs’ doors unexpectedly last year. Sometimes the franchise concept just doesn’t translate outside the United States; other times, the problem lies in choosing the wrong franchise partner. Ultimately, being so far away from the franchisee adds a significant layer of risk to the franchise model, which relies heavily on ongoing marketing and operational support from the franchisor.
But expanding internationally is the preferred growth strategy of franchises that have reached their saturation point in the United States. For some established franchises, it’s really the only way to keep on growing.
With approximately 2,400 locations sold worldwide and some 15-20 new clubs added monthly, it’s only logical for Snap Fitness to step up its efforts in opening new locations outside the US. Will the UK market embrace the brand the same way American gym-goers have? Only time will tell.
The more than 30 million UK adults who take part in sports or exercise will soon have another option when choosing a health and fitness facility. Snap Fitness, the franchisor of more than 1,300 24/7 fitness centers worldwide, recently announced plans to open 75-100 clubs throughout the UK over the next five years, including 10 in Greater London by the end of the year. London’s first two facilities will open in Milton Keynes and Kenton in May and April respectively.
“There is real opportunity for sector growth ahead, as more people see health and fitness as a necessity versus a luxury,” said Peter Taunton, who founded Snap Fitness in 2003 and has since expanded the brand throughout six countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, India, Australia and New Zealand. “This is an exciting time for us as we begin to offer gym-goers and health enthusiasts across the kingdom convenient and affordable ways to look and feel better.”
According to the Fitness Industry Association, total market value of the UK health and fitness industry is estimated at £3.81 billion, sustained from 2010 and up 4% since 2008. In addition, the industry has grown its member base by 2% whilst increasing the number of fitness facilities by a further 1.7%. In fact, 90 percent of the population live or work within two miles of one of the nearly 6,000 health and fitness facilities in the UK.
While Snap Fitness offers the same quality equipment as traditional health clubs, the brand is setting industry standards by focusing on complete member wellness and providing a host of products and services designed to give members better results and more value for their money. By scaling down in size and eliminating unnecessary amenities such as swimming pools and racquetball courts, Snap Fitness offers customers a quality, affordable workout with strong emphasis on customer service and convenience.
With a modest footprint that ranges from 232 to 325 square meters (2,500-3,500 square feet), a typical Snap Fitness installation includes treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes, weight machines and free weights. Members pay month-to-month and can easily cancel their gym memberships or put them on hold without penalty. There are no contracts.
“We offer a fitness product that gives members the basics and screams value,” Taunton added. “People are always drawn to value. It’s a strong word in this industry and it gets undermined often.”
To augment the company’s growth, Snap Fitness is seeking single- and multi-unit franchise owners to open new clubs across the UK. The average total investment to open a Snap Fitness franchise in the UK is between £175,000 and £250,000.
For more information on franchise opportunities in the UK, please contact Darko Vasic at (866) 980-2667 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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