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FDD Talk 2015: The Bar Method Franchise Opportunity (Financial Performance Analysis, Estimated Costs, and Other Important Stuff You Need to Know)

by Franchise Chatter on May 14, 2015

in FDD Talk 2017: Fitness Franchises, Fitness Franchises, Franchise Earnings



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Bar Method Photo 2 by Lory_DC

In this FDD Talk 2015 post, you’ll learn the following:

  • Section I – Background information on The Bar Method franchise opportunity, including relevant news updates
  • Section II – Estimated initial investment for The Bar Method franchise, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2015 FDD
  • Section III – Presentation and analysis of The Bar Method’s financial performance representations, based on Item 19 of the company’s 2015 FDD, including information on the:
  • pro forma profit and loss statements (including estimates for sales, rent, labor, credit card fees, royalties, utilities, liability insurance, property insurance, workers comp, supplies, marketing, miscellaneous expenses, and profits) for a High Volume Studio from Years 1 to 8 of operations
  • pro forma profit and loss statements for a Medium Volume Studio from Years 1 to 8 of operations
  • pro forma profit and loss statements for a Low Volume Studio from Years 1 to 8 of operations

Section I – Background Information

Exercise boutiques utilizing the traditional ballet “barre” have become all the rage in the women’s fitness world, and The Bar Method is one chain with a long history and distinguished pedigree.

Lotte Berk was a German dancer who fled Nazi Germany back in the late 1930s. When she experienced a significant back injury in London, she had an “Ah-ha” moment. Why not combine ballet’s bar conditioning with her rehabilitative efforts? She called it the Lotte Berk Method and opened her first studio in London’s West End in 1959.

One of her American students, Lydia Bach, purchased rights to open the first studio in the U.S., in New York City. Burr Leonard took one of those classes in NYC in 1981 and was hooked. She and then-husband Carl Diehl met with Lotte in London and bought rights to open studios in Connecticut, opening their first studio in Greenwich in 1992.

After opening several more studios, Burr realizes the exercises needed significant revisions to avoid joint damage to clients’ knees, backs, and shoulders. She worked with a physical therapist to come up with safer, more effective routines.

In 2000, the couple ended their 10-year licensing agreement with Lotte Berk and incorporated The Bar Method. After opening an initial studio in San Francisco, she also worked with her sister Mimi to open studios in Los Angeles and San Mateo. More studios follow all over the country, along with DVDs of exercise routines, apparel, and accessories.

With the launch of its franchising efforts in 2008 and headquartered in San Francisco, the chain now boasts more than 80 locations. Here’s how The Bar Method is raising the bar, literally:

A Unique Offering

The Bar Method routines offer a unique integration of a variety of approaches, including interval training with its fat-burning benefits, isometrics with its muscle-shaping benefits, dance conditioning with its body-elongating principles, and physical therapy with its emphasis on safety.

Thus, while yoga excels at the mind-body connection and stress reduction, it is not focused on targeted progress in specific body areas. Similarly, pilates just doesn’t get the dramatic results many clients see with The Bar Method.

Celebrity Involvement

It never hurts to have a few celebrities who regularly use and/or tout the benefits of your franchise concept, and The Bar Method has been fortunate in this regard. The chain’s most active celebrity endorser is British singer-songwriter and actress Kelly Osbourne (and yes, daughter of hard rocker Ozzy Osbourne).

Other Hollywood devotees include Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Aniston, Denise Richards, Zooey Deschanel, Eliza Dushku, and many others.

Results Oriented

The women who get results through The Bar Method become very loyal and outspoken fans. The company’s website has dramatic testimonials about the results some clients have experienced.

That doesn’t mean it works for everyone. One former client noted how she always felt somewhat out of place in what was clearly an upscale operation that seemed geared towards women who already looked fantastic, which left the whole experience feeling a bit narcissistic.

Section II – Estimated Costs

  • Please click here for detailed estimates of The Bar Method franchise costs, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2015 FDD (updated).

Section III – Financial Performance Representations (Item 19, 2015 FDD) and Analysis



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