With its #ITSCRUNCHTIME tagline, it’s easy to see why so many people have flocked to CRUNCH Fitness. The full-sized fitness franchise promises members a place where they can participate in a wide range of training services designed to help them discover a workout regime that suits their needs.
The high-value, low-price model offers full service classes ranging from personal and small group training that includes boot camp, yoga, Pilates, and Zumba, to online nutrition courses, and tanning and hydro massage services.
What makes CRUNCH different from other fitness centres on the market is the low-cost enrollment for its quality services and products. Members can expect to pay anywhere from $9.95 to $29.95 a month for classes typically reserved for higher-priced clubs.
Its origins dating back to 1989 in New York’s East Village, CRUNCH has grown significantly over the past 30 years. With a proven business model in place, the franchise has sold more than 1,000 units, with 250 open in the United States, Canada, and abroad.
Fit for Canadian expansion
Like its growing membership, Canadian master franchisees Murray Middlemost and Wes Hodgson were drawn to the club for its unique regime that promises empowerment, entertainment, and core services tailored for each individual’s workout needs.
The founding partners and co-CEOs of CRUNCH Canada were introduced to the club after working in the Canadian fitness industry, where they helped to manage and expand clubs across the country.
“While working within the fitness sector, we were able to connect with some key people at CRUNCH,” Middlemost says. “We were intrigued by the CRUNCH offering in the United States, and liked the direction the company was headed and the growth they were showing. We wanted to bring that same experience to Canada.”
Franchising the high-value, low-price business model since 2010, Middlemost and Hodgson have recently grown CRUNCH in Alberta and Ontario, with over 20 locations currently operating and 20 more set to open their doors. Current expansion plans are underway in Ontario, and Middlemost and Hodgson say they’re actively looking to expand into Saskatchewan, Quebec, and the Maritimes by the end of the year.
Taking on the franchise rights for an entire country is no easy task, yet Middlemost and Hodgson’s business acumen and faith in the CRUNCH model has enabled them to find success in just a short amount of time. Like in any industry, the franchisees acknowledge the need to be hyper aware of competition and the current market in order to grow and attract new members and owners.
Yet, they believe they have a hand up on most fitness clubs in Canada. “The environment, atmosphere, and culture that CRUNCH offers members and franchisees is better than anything currently out there,” Middlemost says.
Equipped with bright colours, motivational slogans plastered to the walls, and tailored uniforms for employees and guests, each CRUNCH Fitness is designed to reflect the franchise’s positive message of inclusiveness, reminding members that exercising can be fun. Guests can also expect to receive first-class service from franchise owners, trainers, and staff.
A powerful franchisee training regimen
Prospective franchisees receive extensive hands-on support from head office before they first open for business, which includes 200 hours of training divided into two stages: Development and Operations.
On the Development side, CRUNCH will first take franchisees through the site selection process, before the design and construction process begins. Marketing and financial support also takes place in the months leading up to the opening, as CRUNCH prepares franchisees with tips on how to successfully advertise in their location, in addition to recommending tools to help with the financial side of the business.
Next is the Operations side of training, where franchisees learn more about the hiring process, team-building exercises, and what the CRUNCH experience is all about for members.
Prospective franchisees, managers, staff, and trainers also attend CRUNCH University. Administered online, these courses provide all CRUNCH team members with the fundamental knowledge they need to find success within their specific position. Depending on the person’s role within CRUNCH, training can take anywhere between two to 30 hours, and ensures all CRUNCH members receive the best and highest-quality service available.
“CRUNCH provides training you really can’t find anywhere else,” Middlemost says. “It’s an amazing infrastructure for both hiring staff and supporting franchisees that’s all been developed internally. Whether someone’s a fitness person or not, they’d be caught up to speed very quickly about the industry just based on the support the franchise offers.”
The in-depth training component of the franchise recently led to it winning the 2018 Best in Category, awarded by the Franchise Business Review. Voted by franchisees, the Best in Category recognizes franchise systems based on franchisee satisfaction around training, support, operations, franchisor/franchisee relations, and finances.
Though Middlemost and Hodgson say a fitness-oriented person with some business experience would make an ideal CRUNCH franchisee, anyone who is passionate about growing a business, who is open and receptive to learning new ways of finding success, and who has the start-up capital required to get started is already a right fit.
If Middlemost and Hodgson have any advice for prospective small business owners looking into CRUNCH, they simply say to follow the path the franchise has laid out for them.
“We have a great opportunity for people to grow a business, and get in on the gym floor!”