Stepz Fitness unveils innovative hybrid concept

By Nick Hall | 04 Nov 2019 View comments

Australian-owned 24/7 gym franchise, Stepz Fitness has revamped its studio design, unveiling a new concept that is set to see franchisee profitability swell.

While the brand has built a reputation on 24/7 operation, the new concept marks Stepz Fitness’ first foray into the functional, group training space. Tackling big-name industry competitors like F45 and Fitstop is no mean feat, but Stepz franchisor Sam Waller said the low-cost model would appeal to members, while bolstering the existing offering.

“Stepz has been around for about 10 years, but when I took over the franchise in 2017, I saw that there was a real need for functional, group training,” Waller told Inside Franchise Business.

“It was a way that we could offer members stronger results, while creating a high value environment for members. In the past, we just couldn’t deliver the volume of high results that we knew we were capable of in group training.”

Stepz Fitness new functional model

The new Stepz Fitness functional and group training model allows franchisees to weigh into the emerging consumer-driven market. Over the past five years, a shift towards boutique and functional offerings has changed the face of fitness, however the new Stepz Fitness model is far from just an additional bolt-on.

Waller revealed that a full-scale redesign has been implemented, with all studios soon to undergo a revamp.

“We’ve really gone all in on group training. We run six classes a day, with the two models running as a hybrid, but it also makes sense from a business perspective” he said.

“The low cost, high volume of membership that has come along with increased competition in the 24/7 space was always going to be a challenge, so this new concept is a way to boost business performance from a high yield perspective.”

Under the new model, existing gyms will start their redesigns next year. At present, Step Fitness studios are sized around 350sqm, which Waller reveals will not change.

“As opposed to getting a bigger site, we’ll redesign the space, utilising 100sqm for the group training, where we only need around 220sqm for the 24/7 model.”

While the redesign will take time, Waller said the brand was committed to supporting all existing franchisees through the process.

“I’ll be working with all the business owners to help them with the transition,” Waller said. “At the end of the day, so I’ll be working to make sure that the redesign meets their budget and that they are ready for it.”

Stepz Fitness rebrand

The hybrid model is now operational at the new Stepz Fitness Penrith studio, but it isn’t the only update on display. The Penrith studio also features the new Stepz Fitness branding, a cumulative effort from franchisees and head office to modernise the 24/7 concept.

“The 24/7 industry is extremely competitive, so for me, ever since I took over NSW I’ve been focused on creating a long-term outlook for the business,” Waller said.

“The Stepz Fitness brand, like all brands needed to be updated and now we have a branding that is more in-line with who we are now and what our franchisees want.”

The new modern branding was developed through consultation both with consumers and with exisiting franchisees. The chain underwent an extensive surveying process, talking into consideration the network’s feedback on market differentiation, functional training and any setbacks impeding growth.

“We’ve had a big increase since launching in Penrith,” Waller revealed. “I really believe the new brand speaks to who are as and who we want to be as a business moving forward.”

The future is looking strong for the Australian fitness chain. Two more studios are set to open before the end of the year, with an additional 10 targeted for 2020. Waller said innovation and consultation with franchisees was critical to forming a solid growth foundation moving into the future.

“We aren’t racing for the most number of members, it’s about providing a competitive, value-driven member offer, which is something the market really needs.”

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