In this Franchise Chatter Q&A, we get to learn more about Blink Fitness from its president, Todd Magazine.
Franchise Chatter (FC): When was Blink Fitness founded? How many locations does the company currently have?
Todd Magazine (TM): Blink was founded in 2011 by veterans from the luxury fitness industry. They identified a significant need for a higher-quality experience in the fast growing high-volume, low-priced
segment (HVLP) of the market.
There are currently 50 company-owned Blink Fitness gyms open or in development with over 200,000 members. We plan to open more than 300 gyms by the end of 2020, both company-owned and franchised.
We think, and the market results indicate, that we are providing a better product in the HVLP segment than what exists today and that our future is extremely bright.
FC: Tell us more about Blink Fitness’s growth. Why did the company decide to launch franchising?
TM: Blink has had an overwhelming response since its launch. All of our current locations are in the New York metro area. And while our company-owned expansion plans are robust, franchising will enable us to bring Blink to more communities faster than if we were to focus solely on company-owned expansion.
We launched our franchising program at the International Franchise Expo in June and have had an overwhelming response from the market. We expect to open our first franchise locations in 2016.
FC: What makes Blink Fitness an attractive franchise opportunity?
- Category attractiveness – HVLP is a fast-growing segment, with no end in sight, especially given the fact that 85 percent of the U.S. population doesn’t belong to a gym.
- Differentiated brand and proposition – Our Mood Above Muscle™ philosophy is revolutionary and is brought to life with our five-pillar Feel Good Experience™ (detailed below).
- Proven model and in-market success – With 37 open locations, we have validated the market opportunity for a higher-quality proposition in the HVLP segment and have perfected our business model.
- Industry leading training and support – We provide 150 hours of on-the-job and classroom training, significantly more than our competitors.
- Market availability – Because we are just starting our franchise program, the white space opportunities are immense.
- Led by veterans from the fitness industry that bring a diversity of knowledge and experience to our franchisees – Our leadership team brings a mix of experience from world-class companies that include Equinox, Dunkin’ Donuts, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Whole Foods Market, Starbucks, and Ann Taylor.
FC: What sets Blink Fitness apart from other value-based concepts in the fitness industry?
TM: Blink Fitness is a revolutionary brand that is changing the HVLP segment by offering its members Mood Above Muscle™; a completely new and fresh philosophy that celebrates the positive feelings you get from exercise, not just the physical benefits.
Mood Above Muscle™ resonates with a much broader audience of people because it showcases the immediate benefits of exercise. As you know, the physical benefits take time and patience; which is why so many people give up on exercise.
We bring the Mood Above Muscle™ ideas to life with what we call our Feel Good Experience™, which offers five things no other gym in our segment is providing:
- We are Mood Lifters™ who greet and treat members with respect.
- We have an everyone cleans philosophy that permeates our culture.
- Our gyms are designed to inspire by being colorful, open and bright.
- We specifically select energizing music to help motivate.
- Our training programs boost confidence, not wallets, and cost as low as $27/session.
FC: What do you look for in the ideal franchise candidate?
TM: We are seeking single- and multi-unit operators with business, management and/or marketing experience. Multi-unit investment groups and franchise candidates should have a commitment to exceptional customer service, as well as a minimum net worth of $1,500,000 and liquid assets of at least $300,000.
FC: Where is Blink Fitness targeting for expansion?
TM: Currently, we are focusing on franchise opportunities for qualified candidates in target markets in Maryland, portions of New Jersey, Upstate New York, Connecticut, Virginia, Washington D.C. and parts of Long Island. We’ve targeted these areas due to their favorable demographics and because we feel they are underserved in the value-fitness space.
FC: What does Planet Fitness becoming a publicly-traded company mean for the value-based fitness segment?
TM: When Planet Fitness filed for an IPO, it was a direct reflection of the growing popularity of the value-based fitness segment and validated the success the market has experienced. This news provides us with a bigger platform on which to tell our story.
Specifically, being bigger and first-to-market does not always mean better. I would encourage you to read our online reviews and those of our competition, and judge for yourself. I am confident you will see that Blink is providing a substantially better experience and thus is garnering more committed and passionate brand advocates.
FC: What makes the value-based segment a great market to invest in?
TM: In the growing fitness industry, value speaks volumes. According to recent research reports, industry revenues are expected to grow at a rate of 2.9 percent – reaching nearly $30 billion by 2018. What’s more, Entrepreneur magazine singled out the fitness franchise industry as one of the key sectors that showed gains in a sluggish economy.
Blink has proven to be the leader in the premium value fitness sector and we’ve created all of the tools necessary for franchisees to replicate our success. Ultimately, Blink Fitness is the ideal company to partner with because we have proven a recurring revenue model for the important first 3-years and beyond and an impressive median gross sales in years 1 through 3 at our existing corporate locations.