Of every company on Club Industry's Top 100 Health Clubs list that experienced year-over-year growth, none came close to Workout Anytime Franchising, Alpharetta, Georgia. The company reported $4.95 million in corporate 2016 revenue, a 76.9 percent increase year-over-year. (This number includes revenue from corporate facilities and franchisee fees but does not include each individual franchisees' revenue.)
As the low-priced franchise chain enters its 19th year in business, CEO Mark de Gorter told Club Industry he is optimistic about the company's "incredible" growth trajectory.
Workout Anytime currently operates 140 clubs across nearly two dozen states. By the end of 2017, de Gorter said the company will add 12 more locations, as well as an additional 18 clubs in the first quarter of 2018. This should bring the company's club count to 200 at some point in 2018, he said.
"It took us nine years to get 50 clubs," de Gorter said. "Then we got from 50 to 100 in two years. And it's looking like another two years to 200. The high-volume, low-[price] segment is growing tremendously right now."
De Gorter said Workout Anytime’s growth can, in part, be attributed to the company's franchisees and a straightforward business model that "simply works." All clubs are between 6,000 and 8,000 square feet. They feature a minimum of 10 treadmills and various strength equipment from Matrix.
"Our members love the 24-hour model, and we've got an amazing group of tremendously qualified franchise members in the field who get it," he said. "Our owners are going to be there. They take a genuine interest in the results. This is not a factory-style big box.”
(On the 24-hour model, de Gorter said 14 percent of Workout Anytime club visits are currently between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.)
Many Workout Anytime franchisees also operate other non-club businesses, de Gorter said, and some are even “serial entrepreneurs.” Seventy percent of Workout Anytime clubs are also owned by multi-unit operators, and in many cases the clubs are all located within the same community.
Looking forward, de Gorter is targeting at least 60 club openings in 2018, with at least 30 percent year-over-year revenue growth. He conceded it’s unlikely the company will replicate its 2016 unprecedented growth—which he also called “predominately opportunistic.”
De Gorter is particularly interested in creating and expanding markets in North Carolina, Texas, the Midwest, the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest. He cited Portland, Oregon, and the Dallas-Forth Worth area as two “highly promising” markets. He said the company has generally explored capital investment opportunities, but no concrete deals are currently on the table.
“We don’t necessarily want to be the biggest [club chain],” de Gorter said. “We would rather be the most admired. And the good news is we're profitable, no debt, not investor owned, meaning we get to grow at the rate we want to grow.”