(Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect that 19 fitness franchises are on the 2021 list. SPENGA was inadvertently left out of the original story.)
Nineteen fitness franchises made Entrepreneur magazine’s annual Franchise 500 list for 2021. Planet Fitness was the highest-ranking fitness franchise at No. 8.
The list, which is in its 42nd year, ranks franchises in multiple industries based on costs and fees, size and growth, support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability. Each franchise is given a cumulative score based on an analysis of more than 150 data points, and the 500 franchises with the highest cumulative scores become the Franchise 500 in ranking order.
Taco Bell took the top spot on the 2021 list, followed by Dunkin’.
2021 is the third time Planet Fitness has ranked in the top 10. Last year, it ranked No. 7. Entrepreneur detailed that even though the temporary gym closures in 2020 caused by COVID-19 ended the public company’s streak of 53 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth, Planet Fitness pivoted by offering online fitness, which helped it recover.
Last year, 23 fitness franchises made the 2020 Franchise 500 list. Orangetheory Fitness, which ranked No. 43 on the 2020 list, was the highest-ranking company to be missing from the 2021 list. Also missing are: My Gym Children’s Fitness Center (No. 202), GymGuyz (No. 274), Workout Anytime (No. 351), Gold’s Gym International (No. 427), Parisi Speed School (No. 424), Fit Body Boot Camp (No. 437), Snap Fitness (No. 469), Retro Fitness (No. 473) and UFC Gym (No. 499).
Companies must submit to be on the list, so the reason for these companies not appearing on the list could be that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they did not submit. Gold’s Gym, for example, filed for bankruptcy in 2020 and then was purchased by new owners.
Crunch ranked No. 52 on the 2021 list, moving up from No. 148 on last year’s list.
"For us to improve our ranking so dramatically during the last year is a testament to the strength of our franchisees, our team, our members, and ultimately the Crunch brand. We are very thankful to everyone that has worked so hard at keeping Crunch thriving even during these challenging times, and we are very excited for the future," Ben Midgley, CEO of Crunch Franchising, said in a release about the company’s ranking.
Xponential Fitness landed three of its eight brands on the list: Club Pilates (No. 104), Pure Barre (No. 119) and CycleBar (No. 351). On last year’s list, Club Pilates ranked No. 69, Pure Barre ranked No. 300, and CycleBar ranked No. 479.
“The strong showing on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 across these three Xponential Fitness brands demonstrates that boutique fitness is here to stay and the best is yet to come,” Sarah Luna, president of Xponential Fitness, said in a release. “Our members love the world-class workouts and unmatched sense of community we provide, whether that’s inside our studios or virtually, and these rankings are a testament to our franchise owners’ passion, commitment and hard work day in and day out, especially given the challenges 2020 presented them.”
Xponential’s franchisees pivoted during the COVID-19 pandemic by offering outdoor and virtual workouts, with some brands even renting out equipment to keep members healthy and engaged. The company has retained more than 86 percent of members across all eight brands, which also include YogaSix, Row House, StretchLab, AKT and STRIDE.
The fitness franchises that made the 2021 list are:
No. 8. Planet Fitness (down from No. 7 in 2020)
No. 30. Anytime Fitness (down from No. 20)
No. 41. F45 Training (up from No. 68)
No. 52. Crunch Franchise (up from No. 148)
No. 90. Burn Boot Camp (up from No. 212)
No. 104. Club Pilates Franchise (down from No. 69)
No. 119. Pure Barre (up from No. 300)
No. 161. The Exercise Coach
No. 166. The Camp Transformation Center
No. 169. 9Round (down from No. 139)
No. 195. The Barre Code
No. 253. SPENGA
No. 259. Tapout Fitness (up from No. 408)
No. 281. 30 Minute Hit (up from No. 420)
No. 351. CycleBar (up from No. 479)
No. 383. Eat the Frog Fitness
No. 398. The Little Gym Int’l (down from No. 179)
No. 410. Jazzercise Inc. (down from No. 245)
No. 481. D1Sports Franchise LLC
This is the first year that Eat the Frog Fitness, which was founded in 2015, made the list.
"I think the fitness industry will come back bigger and better than ever —mainly because of the resilience and passion of the people in fitness. The brands that can innovate and remain agile are going to win," Joe Culver, CEO and co-founder of Eat The Frog Fitness, said in a release.
In September, Entrepreneur released its Top Growth Franchises list, which included 12 fitness franchises, including these three in the top 10: Orangetheory Fitness (No. 4), Planet Fitness (No. 5) and Club Pilates Franchise (No. 9).
"2020 was a challenging year for everyone, but it was also a year of unusual opportunity," Jason Feifer, Entrepreneur editor-in-chief, said in a release about the list. "Franchises were able to be nimble and innovative, serving the needs of franchisees and customers in ways that will resonate for many years to come. We believe that, when we eventually look back on this time, we'll see it as a moment when many brands defined themselves for the future."