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Fitness fanatics

Written by Ronnie Dungan on Thursday, 09 June 2022. Posted in Interviews

With an established presence in the Elite Franchise Top 100 and operating in a fiercely competitive UK fitness space, énergie Fitness has clearly been doing something right when it comes to attracting both talent and customers.

Fitness fanatics

With an established presence in the Elite Franchise Top 100 and operating in a fiercely competitive UK fitness space, énergie Fitness has clearly been doing something right when it comes to attracting both talent and customers

An established presence in the Elite Franchise 100, énergie is also one of the UK’s longest-standing fitness franchise businesses, after forming in 2003. No mean feat in one of the most competitive franchise sectors.

CEO, Peter Croney explains how necessity was the mother of invention in creating énergie.
“énergie was an owned operation and the capital cost of expansion meant that we could not scale quickly enough. Fitness franchising was big in the USA but was in its infancy in the UK in 2003 when we launched our first franchise offer. The idea of empowering local passionate entrepreneurs to take our brand forward was appealing.” Croney describes the ultra-competitive UK fitness space as a ‘red ocean’, particularly at the low-cost end where énergie operates. Adding some quality to the offering was key to énergie’s longevity. “The UK is saturated with budget fitness operators, seeking to compete on cost. A race to the bottom for sure! At énergie, we re-engineered our Fit4less brand to create an affordable énergie Fitness club model that would enable us to compete on service and value, alongside low cost. With the highest Trustpilot score in the fitness sector, we would defy any fitness operator to compete with us on service in the low-cost sector. It provides our edge!”

European union

With a firm footing in the UK, Croney is already eyeing European expansion for the brand, with a five-year target to become the continent’s leading fitness franchise offering. “We asked ourselves what we could be the best in the world at, that could drive our economic engine. Using the evidence from Jim Collins (business guru) research into great companies, we determined our Hedgehog Concept ‘To be Europe’s foremost franchised and digital fitness operator’. This will drive our strategy over the next five years.”

First stop on the way to becoming the champion of Europe is Spain, where the firm already has a connection. “We have a Master Licensee in Spain who is also our International Director,” explains Croney. “Our plan is to concentrate our expansion in Europe as a strategic priority. Now that we have a showcase club in Barcelona, we have the platform to expand rapidly in Spain. Franchisees are already seeking locations in the Spanish regions. France, Portugal and Germany also have the scope for a service driven club model, and they will be our key platform for expansion.”

The firm has recently opened an énergie club in Spain with three boutique products within a large gym environment. It allows it to test the appetite for choice at different price points.
Alongside all this, the UK is not being neglected, Empowered Brands, owners of the énergie Fitness franchise have secured a deal to roll out UBX, the world’s fastest growing boxing franchise, across the UK and Ireland. Empowered Brands is actively seeking to partner with additional franchise brands. Partnering with brands such as UBX provides greater choice and affordability for applicants who can’t meet the énergie Fitness club franchise criteria. Both énergie Fitness and UBX are aimed at multi-site franchisees who wish to build their businesses within a region of the UK and/or Ireland.

Close attention

Croney and his staff keep a close eye on the énergie franchise network and were particularly attentive during the worst parts of the pandemic. “Throughout the Covid pandemic, the Managing Director had a weekly call attended by virtually every franchisee in the network. Our franchisee forum is chaired and led by an elected franchisee who is empowered to create an agenda that actively reflects franchisee requirements. Last year, we held our first franchisee conference for two years which was attended by 90 per cent of our network who delighted in meeting with us and in contributing to the strategy for post-Covid growth.”

But of course, no self-respecting franchise success story is complete without a place in the Elite Franchise Top 100, where énergie has become a top ten fixture over the last few years.
Croney says he appreciates the value and attention the accolade provides. “It focuses on every aspect of franchising; franchise advocacy, customer satisfaction, innovation, profitability, social responsibility and community investment. énergie has won many awards within the fitness industry, but the Elite Franchise Top 100 is of particular significance because we are rated across all franchise sectors and not just fitness.”

With new launches in the UK and Europe in his sights, énergie is looking in great shape for the future.

About the Author

Ronnie Dungan

Ronnie Dungan

Ronnie is a business journalist and comms specialist of some 30-plus years' experience, although thanks to a rigorous moisturising regime, and the right lighting, you wouldn't necessarily know it. He has edited and published so many titles that he has properly lost count. It's well over a dozen, but he shows no signs of calling it day just yet.

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