Snap Fitness rockets into 2021 opening nine clubs in nine weeks

By Sarah Stowe | 02 Feb 2021 View comments

Snap Fitness is rocketing into 2021, opening nine new clubs over nine weeks from January through to March. The openings will see the network grow to 281 clubs by the end of the first quarter.

Chris Caldwell, CEO at Lift Brands Asia Pacific, Snap’s parent company, says the business is charging ahead.

“We’re on fire,” he told Inside Franchise Business Executive. “There’s a little bit of built up demand from last year. A lot of sites takes 12-24 months to come to fruition and some of these had slowed down in the middle of last year. Now it’s opening up, approvals are flowing through, all of a sudden we have a really strong start.”

Four new franchisees are joining the network, five existing franchisees are adding to their portfolios.

Three of the nine outlets have already opened in the second half of January, setting a fast pace for the support team. And there’s no sign of the pace slacking this year – or next.

“We have another 10 clubs in build out phase, that’s 19 confirmed for this year and we are aiming to get to 25 new clubs open in 2021,” Caldwell said.

He believes it’s a reasonable rate of expansion and is not looking to break any records by speeding up the openings.

“We’re not aiming to be the fastest-growing gym in the country. We want to be around for a long time.”

What seems like a rip-roaring pace of openings after an inevitably sluggish 2020 has generated some positivity through the network, with the support team, franchisees and staff all invigorated by the energy going into the expansion.

Caldwell believes the brand is well-placed to respond to the increased interest in health and wellbeing options, post-Covid, from both potential members and franchisees.

“What’s the drive? It was a very hot topic; the link between mental and physical health has never been more discussed than in mid-2020 in lockdown periods. It’s important to get out and exercise. That is something that’s driven a degree of interest at franchisee and member level and we are well positioned to capture that interest.

“We don’t have any challenges finding franchisees, there are a lot of territories sold that aren’t open yet. The challenge is finding the right site, being patient. So we are working together with franchisees to find those sites.

“The franchise industry has challenges from a funding perspective, so does the fitness industry. We seem to have a fairly healthy relationship based on the history of the business and franchisees.”

The majority of clubs scheduled to open are eastern seaboard, four are in New Zealand.  Western Australia has plenty of potential, Caldwell said, and New South Wales still has plenty of room for growth.

The business is focused on metro areas and at just under 300 clubs there’s still potential.

“We’re at 60 per cent maturity, we don’t need to create a Snap Express, we’ve got plenty of room,” Caldwell said.

As well as greenfield site launches, Snap Fitness will be undertaking 40 existing outlet modernisations this year to bring them up to date.