With a Revamped Business Model, The Tech-Driven Fitness Franchise Plans Accelerated Growth
BODY20 client Kerry Breitbart was so bowled over by the brand that he encouraged his son Greg Breitbart to try the workout. After Greg experienced BODY20 for himself, he was also immediately taken by it, so together, Kerry and Greg decided to buy the brand and team up with one of the existing partners, Chris Pena. After acquiring the Boca Raton, Fla.-based company in April 2019, Greg, now CEO of the BODY20 franchise, and Pena, president of BODY20, overhauled the business model of the franchise. Today their fast-growing fitness studio franchise specializes in electro-muscle stimulation (EMS) sessions for BODY20 members who want to quickly tone muscles, burn calories, gain strength and reduce cellulite under the direction of a one-on-one personal trainer.
The power of EMS quickly converted Greg into a fan after helping his lower back pain in physical therapy. Once Greg heard that BODY20’s original founder wanted to sell his shares in the five-unit company, he and Pena pounced on the opportunity.
Retooling for BODY20 Franchisee Success
During the pandemic, they hit the pause button to evaluate the brand from top to bottom, developing best practices for the BODY20 franchise. Breitbart and Pena, both with wide-ranging business experience, ultimately revamped the brand completely, today only sharing a style of training with the past brand. Their reimagined BODY20 debuted in fall of 2021.
“We changed everything from the original business model,” Pena says. “The only thing we have in common today with the original model is that we train with EMS technology. Greg and I sat down to figure out what we actually do at BODY20 to create a successful business model. We settled on membership acquisition and membership retention. Everything else really serves as a function of those two core competencies.”
Once they stripped the BODY20 franchise down to those essential priorities, “we focused on building internal systems and tools that would drive franchisee success and incredible unit economics,” Pena adds. “We built automation into the functions of the business that are done over and over with very little variance. On the consumer-experience side, we changed everything from the actual technology partner to the way we train people. We created six proprietary levels of strength training and five proprietary levels of cardio training.”
Systems, Tools and Automation
Asked to name the biggest lesson the partners have learned during their BODY20 franchise journey, Pena says it’s that “franchising is 100% a relationship business. When you have a great relationship with your franchisees, they will charge up a hill into battle for you, leading to incredible success in the network. Business is hard. There are highs and lows, and you really find out how good your relationship is when you’re going through the lows. The biggest factor in how good your relationship will be will always be unit economics. That’s why in every company meeting, we start and end with unit economics.”
Pena believes that BODY20’s significant systems, tools and automation are key drivers for franchisee success. “These resources allow our franchisees to focus on the things that actually move the needle in their business. We believe in process over people. That’s not to say that you do not need good people – we believe you need the best people. However, good people plus bad processes equal mediocre people, whereas good people plus amazing processes will certainly create amazing people. We are a service business in fitness with affluent clients who expect an amazing experience.”
Pena describes the typical BODY20 member as “someone who leads a driven and active lifestyle, who is health- and wellness-conscious and puts a high value on how they allocate their time. That’s why BODY20’s 20-minute workout is so attractive.” He says BODY20’s membership is 70% female and 30% male, with members typically 35 to 55 years old, sometimes older.
By ensuring that BODY20 more than satisfies its clients and by empowering franchisees with a carefully thought-out system, the brand notched significant growth in 2022. The franchise now has 15 units operating in the United States and 142 under development. The BODY20 franchise will enter Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Utah markets during the current expansion.
In addition to its noteworthy growth, the BODY20 franchise has won media accolades, including recognition as a top brand on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2022 Emerging Franchises List. “We’re grateful to see our brand impacting more individuals and communities than ever before with the life-changing benefits of EMS,” Breitbart says. “We couldn’t have achieved such impressive growth or been recognized by these publications if it wasn’t for our hardworking franchisees and dedicated team.”
Expectations for BODY20 Franchisees
Breitbart and Pena set a high bar for their BODY20 franchisees, who operate within a unique culture. While many franchises describe their organizations as a family, Pena and Breitbart call theirs a “professional sports team.”
Pena elaborates that “we are building a championship sports team at BODY20. Core value No. 1 is we are not a family. We are a professional sports team, which requires people who thrive in a competitive environment. BODY20 is not a warm-and-fuzzy family franchise brand. We are built for high performers; core value No. 2 at BODY20 is high performance.”
Despite the unique culture and brand identity of BODY20, the company doesn’t totally break the mold in terms of franchisees’ qualifications. BODY20 investors need “strong management skills because BODY20 has been built to be an executive model,” Pena says.
“You manage your business from the top down with a full-time manager. Last but certainly not least, we are a sales-based organization in the fitness industry, which is a sales-based industry. So franchisees need to be comfortable with sales.”
The initial investment to open a BODY20 franchise is $409,021.65 to $498,441.
To learn more about BODY20 franchises, visit body20.com or call 561-465-5550.