Snap Fitness targets 200 new UK clubs through major franchise deal

Global 24/7 gym franchise Snap Fitness has set its sights on major growth in the UK through a new master development agreement with fitness startup TwentyTwoYards.

Set up earlier this year by Australian businessmen and fitness enthusiasts Matt Quinn and Scott Jones, TwentyTwoYards plans to open 200 locations over the next four years, aiming to emulate the success they’ve witnessed of 24/7 gyms down under. An as yet undefined number of these clubs will be operated by TwentyTwoYards, while a significant number will be franchised to third parties. The pair have enlisted Bidwells and RSR Properties to source potential gym sites – which will typically span 5,000sq ft (464.5sq m) – with a first location expected to launch in March.

Speaking exclusively to Health Club Management Quinn said the chain would be seeking to attract “hidden demographics” who cannot afford mid-range club membership fees but expect a better package than those offered by the low-cost sector.

“Pricing will obviously vary across the UK geographically, but memberships will be lower than you typically pay at a mid-range club,” said Quinn.

“Our clubs are going to be more intimate than a lot of our competitors and that will hold us in good stead when it comes to sourcing properties.”

Quinn also said he believes the fact both he and Jones are newcomers to the fitness industry won’t be a problem.

“We’ve got a good grounding – in finance as well as sales and marketing – and we’ve certainly done our research,” he said. “Snap Fitness is such a strong franchise model and the excellent support we’ve received from (founder and CEO) Peter Taunton and the US team means we’ve got great confidence in the venture.”

Under the master development agreement agreement, which was made for an undisclosed fee, Snap Fitness will provide exclusive rights to use the fitness brand’s trademarks, intellectual property and systems for the duration of the 15-year contract. Additionally, a dedicated team – at the US headquarters of Snap Fitness owner Lift Brands – will work directly with the franchisee to provide support. There are currently three Snap Fitness clubs operating in the UK, with eight more in development. These will now fall under TwentyTwoYards’ remit as the area developer, although they will continue to be legally licensed to Snap Fitness. New franchises will be licensed from TwentyTwoYards.

At present, Snap Fitness has more than 2,000 clubs open or in development worldwide across 15 countries. The company is also planning to significantly expand its operations in India, where it has opened 50 clubs since selling its first franchise in 2009. Snap Fitness India CEO Dr Vikram BM has announced plans to launch an additional 300 clubs by the end of 2017.

“Entrepreneurs around the globe are recognising the opportunity that Snap Fitness provides – not only is it a win for their portfolio, but for the community as well,” said Lift Brands chief officer for domestic and international growth, Steele Smiley. “We are aggressively looking for the right partners to bring Snap Fitness to other emerging markets.”