The Franchise Chatter Blog’s List of 20 Things Every Prospective Franchisee Needs to Know Before Investing in a GNC Franchise
GNC Franchise Business Model
1. GNC is the world’s leading specialty retailer of vitamins and mineral supplements, sports nutrition, and herbal products.
2. With 94% brand awareness among consumers and a US store base that is more than 12 times larger than its nearest specialty retail competitor, GNC enjoys a loyal following of customers who rely on GNC to provide the products and information they need to live a healthy lifestyle.
3. Favorable health and wellness trends help make the vitamin and supplements industry fundamentally strong. With the aging population, rising health care costs and a growing emphasis on fitness, wellness and prevention, GNC’s core products of vitamins and sports nutrition are stable and continue to grow.
4. The dietary supplement industry alone is approaching $27 billion, and GNC is a leader in this category.
5. Surveys show that 3 in 4 consumers trust GNC to provide the highest quality products on the market. With 150 quality checks, GNC guarantees that customers get what they pay for — or their money back.
6. GNC is a strong advocate of truth in labeling — when a customer reads a GNC label, they know exactly what they are getting.
7. GNC’s Medical Advisory Board — a team of credentialed medical and nutrition professionals — provides GNC with wellness information, professional insight and sound advice, which are then passed on to GNC’s customers to help them lead healthier lives.
8. Ensuring the highest product quality is a top priority for GNC. From scientific research and new product discovery to the manufacturing and packaging processes, GNC sets the standard in the nutritional supplements industry.
9. GNC is a vertically integrated manufacturer with state-of-the-art distribution centers located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Anderson, South Carolina and Phoenix, Arizona. Using a private fleet of 87 over-the-road tractors and 121 temperature-controlled trailers, GNC is able to move product safely and efficiently from their warehouses to their stores.
10. From a single store in downtown Pittsburgh in 1935, GNC now has more than 7,100 retail locations throughout the United States and in 45 international markets. GNC owns and operates its own stores, alongside its franchise partners.
GNC Franchisee Training
11. New franchisees undergo a comprehensive 3-phase training, which includes in-store and classroom training.
12. One of GNC’s franchise support professionals will be on hand to assist the franchisee throughout the opening week and beyond.
13. Ongoing training is transmitted through the company’s franchisee-exclusive intranet system, which offers online access to operations and merchandising information, sales and product information, corporate news, and communications with GNC’s support staff.
GNC Franchisee Support
14. GNC provides support to new franchisees in the following areas: financing options, site selection assistance, lease negotiations, computer-aided drafting and store design.
15. Marketing support to franchisees come in the form of: TV and print advertisements, point of sale materials, local and national promotions, public relations opportunities, local market print-fulfillment program, merchandise planning, continual consumer and market research, and Grand Opening materials.
GNC Franchise Costs
16. The total initial investment to open a GNC franchise store ranges from $128,650 to $260,850.
17. The initial franchise fee is $40,000 and the ongoing royalty fee is 6% of gross sales.
GNC Franchise Accolades
18. In 2011, Entrepreneur Magazine ranked GNC Franchising #40 in its Franchise 500 list, and #37 in its list of America’s Top Global Franchises.
Franchise Chatter’s Take on GNC:
19. Pros: easy business to operate, reasonable working hours (typical mall hours), minimal labor expenses
20. Cons: competitive space with lots of (cheaper) alternatives available practically everywhere; high franchise fee and royalty fee, especially if margins are typical retail margins. (I prefer the business model of Matco Tools where the franchisee-distributor pays no franchise fee or ongoing royalty fee. Matco makes money solely on the sales of its products.)