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Anytime clubs are typically located in suburban environments, with an average size of around 370sq m (4,000sq ft)
of transport. However, we discourage Fitness fi ts into that ‘mom and pop’ have that opportunity, we’re not going
franchisees from setting up in expensive model – independently owned and to get distracted by the possible
retail locations, because that stresses operated clubs in which the owner, the alternative business models.”
the economics of the business model. franchisee, is often very involved. And The business has, however, actively
Typically, we’re located in suburban you can tell. You can feel that personal pursued international expansion
environments where rents are lower attention, feel that they really care. That’s opportunities via master franchise deals
and space more readily available. The why they opened the club in the fi rst in Australasia, India and Mexico (see
average site would be around 370sq m place – because they want to help people.” information box below). So how does it
(4,000sq ft), with 700 members after 12 prioritise potential new markets?
months of operation. expansion plans “First of all, there should be a
“Fees vary slightly by area and “I think there’s always an evolutionary reasonably developed franchising culture
demographics – we can’t dictate prices. process when you grow, whereby some – people already looking to buy franchises,
However, in the US for example, we of your early assumptions may change and with no major government
do ask franchisees to stay in the over time,” observes Kersh. “For restrictions in place that might deter
US$30-40 a month price bracket. It’s example, Anytime believed at one point them from doing so,” says Kersh.
about being affordable rather than that it would have franchises in a lot of “Second is the fi tness culture. We’re
being cheap: our customers are not places like airports, corporate offices, expanding very well in mature markets
exclusively price-driven. hotels and so on. If the opportunity such as the US and we’re getting in
“A warm welcome is key. If I use the were to arise, I think we’d still consider at a very early stage in India – a less
example of Starbucks: Starbucks is exploring those avenues one day, but so developed market but with a real
somewhat impersonal compared to the far it hasn’t really happened. People talk emerging passion for fi tness.
local coffee shop – what we call ‘Mom about saturated markets, but we’re still “Contrast that with a market like
and Pop’ – who’ve been trading in the opening successful clubs all over the US China, which is a diffi cult market to
neighbourhood for 20 years. Anytime in very competitive areas. While we still enter and which has a very under-
Established in 2002, Anytime Fitness is said to be the we’re so busy on the franchising side that it’s not practical to
world’s fastest-growing ‘co-ed’ fitness franchise, with a devote the resources it would require.”
portfolio that currently extends to 1,300 sites – plus 680 in In 2008 the brand launched in Australia and New
development – and a forecast total turnover for 2010 in Zealand, with 27 clubs already operating across those
excess of US$300m (individual club turnover plus Anytime markets. Meanwhile, the fi rst Indian sites are scheduled
Fitness corporate revenues). More than 60 per cent of the to open by the time this feature goes to print, and a new
company’s franchisees own more than one site. master franchise deal for Mexico should see clubs opening
The critical mass of the business remains, at least for there in the next few months. Europe – including the UK,
now, in the US – 1,200 clubs, with Anytime Fitness HQ in Germany and Benelux – is now very much on the radar,
Minnesota as the franchisor. The company is also franchisor as is Japan. Membership to one club gives access to all
for most of the 70+ sites in Canada. Anytime Fitness clubs across the world.
Anytime Fitness also owns around 10 clubs itself in the “Our vision is to continue changing lives of both members
US. “We set them up if we identify an opportunity,” says and franchisees, and to be a great brand in the fi tness and
Kersh, “but typically end up selling them on as a going franchising industry,” says Anytime Fitness CEO Chuck
concern – perhaps to the manager who’s been operating Runyon. “We take a great deal of pride in delivering a
the club on our behalf, or to a franchisee looking to open in business model where members feel comfortable to work
that territory. We’d probably own and operate more, but out and franchisees enjoy a balanced life.”
34 Read Health Club Management online march 2010 © cybertrek 2010
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