Entrepreneur magazine has released its annual Franchise 500 list for 2024, ranking the best franchises in various industries based on their performance, growth, and brand strength. Among the 500 franchises, 19 are fitness-related, showing the increasing popularity and profitability of the health and wellness sector.
Crunch Fitness Leads the Fitness Category
Crunch Fitness, a low-cost, high-value fitness chain, has achieved the highest rank among the fitness franchises, landing at number 29 on the list. This is a significant improvement from its previous rank of 52 in 2023. Crunch Fitness has been expanding aggressively, opening more than 100 new locations in 2023 and planning to open 75 more with the support of a private equity firm. The fitness franchise has also been innovating its offerings, such as launching a digital platform, Crunch Live, and a personal training app, Crunch Coach.
Crunch Fitness has proven its resilience and adaptability in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted the fitness industry and forced many gyms to close temporarily or permanently. The franchise has implemented strict safety protocols, such as social distancing, sanitizing, and mask-wearing, to ensure the health and well-being of its members and staff. Crunch Fitness has also been supporting its franchisees with financial relief, marketing assistance, and operational guidance.
Xponential Fitness Brands Make a Strong Show
Xponential Fitness, a leading boutique fitness franchisor, has four of its brands on the Franchise 500 list: Club Pilates, Pure Barre, StretchLab, and CycleBar. These brands represent different segments of the boutique fitness market, such as Pilates, barre, assisted stretching, and indoor cycling. Xponential Fitness has been growing its portfolio of brands, acquiring new ones such as Row House, AKT, YogaSix, and STRIDE. The franchisor has also been expanding its global presence, entering new markets such as Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Australia.
Xponential Fitness has leveraged its multi-brand strategy to offer a diverse and complementary range of fitness options to its customers, who can access any of the brands with a single membership. The franchisor has also invested in technology, such as launching a video-on-demand platform, GO, and partnering with Apple Fitness+ to integrate its workouts with the Apple Watch. Xponential Fitness has also been providing support and resources to its franchisees, such as by offering royalty deferrals, negotiating with landlords, and facilitating loans.
Other Fitness Franchises That Made the Cut
Besides Crunch Fitness and Xponential Fitness, other fitness franchises have earned a spot on the Franchise 500 list, such as:
- Planet Fitness, the largest and fastest-growing fitness chain in the world, ranked at number 8, the same as last year. Planet Fitness has over 2,000 locations in 50 states and 15 countries, serving more than 15 million members. The fitness chain has been offering affordable and accessible fitness to its customers, with memberships starting at $10 a month. Planet Fitness has also been promoting its Judgement-Free Zone philosophy, which encourages a welcoming and supportive environment for everyone, regardless of their fitness level.
- Anytime Fitness, the world’s largest 24/7 fitness franchise, ranked at number 77, down from 69 last year. Anytime Fitness has over 4,000 locations in 50 states and 35 countries, serving more than 4 million members. The fitness franchise has been offering convenience and flexibility to its customers, who can access any of the locations with a single key fob. Anytime Fitness has also been enhancing its digital offerings, such as launching a mobile app, Anytime Fitness Coaching, and partnering with Apple Fitness+ to offer the service to its members.
- Orangetheory Fitness, the leading heart-rate-based interval training franchise, ranked at number 96, up from 104 last year. Orangetheory Fitness has over 1,300 locations in 50 states and 23 countries, serving more than 1 million members. The fitness franchise has been offering a unique and effective workout to its customers, who can burn up to 1,000 calories in a 60-minute session. Orangetheory Fitness has also been pursuing its international growth strategy, with a focus on the U.K. market, where it recently acquired and expanded its London studios.
The Future of Fitness Franchises
The fitness franchises that made the Franchise 500 list have demonstrated their ability to overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and emerge stronger and more competitive. They have also shown their commitment to providing quality fitness services and experiences to their customers while supporting their franchisees and communities. The fitness industry is expected to continue to grow and evolve as more people seek to improve their health and wellness, especially after the pandemic. Fitness franchises that can adapt to the changing needs and preferences of their customers while maintaining their brand identity and value proposition will have an edge over their competitors and thrive in the future.