IMAGES COURTESY OF BLINK FITNESS
After traditionally focusing on in-house expansion, Blink Fitness has set its sights on nationwide franchising. This month, along with announcing a franchise agreement with Yadav Enterprises, Inc., Blink has rolled out a new franchising growth strategy to put more locations across heavily populated U.S. markets.
The strategy includes a specific focus on establishing franchise agreements in six metropolitan areas: Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Kansas City, Missouri.
“We initially were focused on company-owned development, predominantly in the New York metro area, primarily to make sure we had a business model that was replicable — something we felt was going to lend itself to a retail rollout strategy,” said Todd Magazine, the CEO of Blink. “After the first five years [of business], we really started to focus on expanding outside the New York metro area.”
Blink has already seen success out of its initial expansions. “We’ve entered into markets like Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston and central New York,” said Magazine. “The growth has been a combination of company and franchising.”
An essential part of Blink’s growth strategy is franchising, with partners both inside and outside the fitness industry — which is what makes the Yadav Enterprises agreement so important.
Yadav Enterprises, Inc. operates over 350 restaurants in Northern California, Texas and the Midwest, including Jack in the Box, TGI Friday’s, Denny’s, and more. Despite its large portfolio, this large corporation is getting its feet wet in gym franchising by partnering with Blink. And while a partnership with a franchisee with little to no fitness industry experience may seem unusual, it’s a big step along Blink’s aggressive growth strategy.
“We have a variety of different franchisees in our system, some of whom are experienced franchisees who have come from different franchise concepts, and others, like Yadav, who are expanding their existing portfolio, diversifying, and getting into other categories,” said Magazine.
According to Magazine, a franchise agreement like this not only makes sense, but is an appealing business move. “This is obviously their first stop out of quick-serve, fast casual dining,” he said. “But the fundamentals are the same — in many ways, I think our business is simpler. We have no inventory, lower labor and we don’t have to deal with spoilage, so it’s a very attractive diversification play for existing franchisees, particularly in the restaurant space.”
The franchise agreement with Yadav will put 20 new Blink Fitness locations in the greater Sacramento area, adding to Blink’s rapidly growing number of gyms in major markets.
“Right now, we have about 80 to 85 locations open,” said Magazine. “By the end of the year, we’ll have between 105 and 110 locations open. And in the next three to four years, we’ll have somewhere in the neighborhood of between 300 and 400 locations.”
Moving forward, Blink’s growth strategy is to bring the brand into several new markets as it explores franchise agreements and expands within its own model.
“The great part about our business is while we’ve done very well and we’re having a significant amount of growth, there are still a lot of opportunities for other franchisees to come in and become part of our system, which we’re really excited about,” said Magazine.