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The Crunch Fitness Franchise Concept

Ben Midgley is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founderof Crunch Franchise.  Since 2010, he hasled the creation and development of Crunch Franchise into the fastest launch ofany full size franchise in the history of the fitness industry. Ben previouslyheld the position of Executive Vice President at Planet Fitness where hemodified all aspects of franchise sales and development including improving franchiseunit sales by 150% of total network volume and accelerated openings by 70%.Previous to this, he was the Senior Director of Corporate Sales for 24 HourFitness where he oversaw a department with $120 million in annual revenue, 40Corporate Sales Managers and 5,000 corporate accounts. Ben is also the co-authorof Golden Circle Secrets, which wasthe #1 Sales Management and #1 Customer Service book on Amazon.com. He has been an international presenter in the fitnessIndustry, a member of the IHRSA Institute Faculty, and is a regular contributorto industry publications.

Please answer the following questions:

1.Tell us about the Crunch Fitness concept.Crunch Franchise is the most competitive and progressive model in the fitnessindustry.  It encompasses all of the mostattractive features that health conscious consumers are looking for, withoutadding extras that the majority of members don’t frequently use and elevatesthe expense of the membership.  Our clubsinclude the latest in fitness equipment, a full schedule of proprietary groupfitness classes, functional training areas with custom designed equipment,expert personal trainers, tanning booths, hydro massage beds, and child care (atparticipating locations) – all in a fun and entertaining environment rooted inour original philosophy of No Judgments and all for $9.95 - $19.95 a month.

2.How and when did you become involved with CrunchFitness?. Crunch has been a long standing brand in the fitness industry forover 25 years now.  The brand originatedin New York and expanded to other metropolitan markets, namely Los Angeles,Miami and San Francisco.  About 5 yearsago, I was asked if I would be interested in creating a franchise company withthe Crunch brand.  I whole-heartedlyagreed as I had known of Crunch for many years and knew that the strength ofthe brand would be a great asset in starting the franchise company.  So we launched the business but in a separatesegment of the industry – the high value / low price segment – which is thefastest growing aspect of the fitness industry.

3.What was your background prior to joining CrunchFitness? I have been in the fitness industry for 25 years.  I began my career cleaning machines at aGold’s Gym in Santa Barbara and worked my way up through club and managementpositions within the industry including President and CEO of the top twofranchises in the industry.

4.What are some of the advantages in being aCrunch Fitness franchisee?  I would saythe biggest advantage to being a franchisee in our network is that you arejoining a very tight knit group of comparatively very few franchisees comparedto other brands.  Our motto is ‘staysmall to grow big.”  We intentionallylimit our number of franchisee partners and focus on multi unit ownership.  Our average franchisee owns 10 units.  This allows us to maintain very closerelationships with all of our owners and have regular detailed interaction withwhat is going on at the store level.

5.Who is your ideal franchisee?  Someone who is committed to a great customerservice experience for every member that walks in their door.  Someone who loves the positive effect fitnesscan have on someone’s life and of course someone who has as much passion forthe business as we do.

6.Tell us a little about the fitness Market?  The fitness industry is dynamic, fun andHUGE!  We are a $28 billion dollarindustry just in the U.S. Only about 15-17% of all Americans have a health clubmembership served by roughly 25,000 health & fitness studios.  Compare that to the fast food industry wherethere are over 300,000 restaurants serving the same amount of consumers. Ourindustry is very fun, you never need to wear a suit and your customers arealways happier when they leave the club after some good exercise. On top ofthat the industry is always evolving – new fun and engaging activities arealways coming around and Crunch stays on the forefront of all the hottest trends.

7.What are some of the greatest lessonsyou’ve learned in growing this franchise?Providing great support and brand protection while responding to whatyour franchisees tell you they need.  Itis an important balance as the franchisor needs to have a strongly definedmodel and maintain tough brand standards (as that benefits everyone) yet youneed to respond to regional differences in the market and franchisee needs allat the same time. This falls back on our “stay smaller to grow bigger”philosophy.  By doing this it is so mucheasier for us to reach out to franchisees and regularly hear what they need togrow and be successful.

8.Do you have a mentor and is there someoneyou use for inspiration?  I have manymentors in business and in life.  Far toomany to mention but needless to say, no one grows up and does it allalone.  Hopefully I can provide the samesort of support to the next generation that was afforded to me through thegenerosity of my mentors.

9.What advice do you have for someonelooking to acquire a Franchise?  Takeyour time in deciding.  Make sure youhave a passion for the industry you choose.And meet the CEO & Executive Team before you buy. I don’t care howbig the franchise company is – if the CEO & Executive Team are too busy tomeet with a new franchisee, then you know what to expect.

10.     In your opinion, why do you think that Crunch Fitness would be a greatopportunity for someone?  All of theabove and we are working on improving everything we can every day.