How Barrecore Is Plotting Global Expansion

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  • Barrecore hoping to capitalise on the growing popularity of low-impact, high-intensity (HILIT) exercise methods
  • Since launching in 2011, Barrecore has opened 13 London studios and two franchise-owned spaces in Manchester, UK
  • Fitness franchises in the US are expected to make $4.3 billion in revenue across 10,000 locations in 2019 

LONDON, United Kingdom — British Boutique fitness brand Barrecore has announced plans to expand franchise opportunities around the world following the success of its two recent openings in Manchester. 

The franchise model, previously exploited by fast-food burger joints and pizza chains, has become increasingly popular with fitness brands. In particular, it’s allowed Australian-born group exercise studio F45 to quickly conquer Australasia and make rapid gains across the UK and US. However, Barrecore is hoping to capitalise on a trend it has identified, which suggests high impact Bootcamp style workouts are losing popularity in place of low impact, high-intensity exercise methods. 

Commenting on the move, the company explained: “The programme presents a big opportunity for prospective franchises looking to capitalise on the growth of the boutique fitness industry. The UK fitness club market was valued at £5.1bn in 2018, with growth expected to continue between 4-6% over the next five years. 

Adding: “Not only will new franchisees benefit from the backing of an established and fast-growing fitness brand, but they will also have access to a fine-tuned formula for studio launch and ongoing success.” 

According to Barrecore’s first franchise owner Sarah Emblow, her Manchester studio amassed over 5000 visits in its first year, achieved sales targets by month five of trading and had a 77% uplift in turnover in its second year once word had spread. And Barrecore it seems is eager to repeat this success.

Niki Rein, Barrecore’s founder and CEO, first launched the barre concept studio in Chelsea in 2011. Since then 12 more studios have followed, opening in prime locations including Mayfair, Islington, Notting Hill and Hampstead. 

Read More: Octopus Investments To Fund Barrecore UK And European Expansion

Having created a model that works, she is now focused on sharing her learnings and processes with potential franchisees, as the number of entrepreneurs looking to leverage the popularity of the boutique fitness model continues to skyrocket.

A proven formula
In the fitness industry more generally, the growth potential of franchises is nearing breakneck speed. Popular 24-hour, 365-day US health and fitness club Anytime Fitness is just one operator that has proven the concept, averaging 300 new gyms a year between 2007 and 2017

F45, meanwhile, has recently demonstrated the success of the model within the boutique market too. The disruptive brand claims to be one of the world’s fastest-growing fitness networks, having amassed over 1750 franchises in 45 countries worldwide in just six years. And, according to market research firm IBISWorld, fitness franchises in the US are expected to make $4.3 billion in revenue across nearly 10,000 locations this year, with forecasts showing continued growth over the next four years. 

Further comfort for Barrecore as it eyes up international franchise expansion can be found in the huge success of British-born yoga boutique Hotpod Yoga

Since launching its first franchise in Swansea in 2013, the company has grown to become a 72 studio operation across eight countries including Germany, Romania and South Africa, with more than 10,000 people taking its classes every day. 

Max Henderson, who founded the brand with yoga teacher Nick Higgins, has a list of franchise guidelines he’s followed to ensure success. 

“Franchising really only works well if you have a significant point of difference versus any other alternatives,” he tells Welltodo. “You’ve got to create a mutually beneficial model that rewards both franchisor and franchisee to ensure everyone is engaged, empowered and pulling in the same direction. 

“You must put your franchisee’s success first. It sounds obvious but it’s easy for a franchisor to focus on their own short-term success as opposed to the success of the franchisees. 

“Working closely with your franchisees is key,” he adds. “Inconsistent or poor quality franchise delivery will kill the franchise brand.” 

Henderson explains that Hotpod Yoga charges a £10K upfront franchise fee and franchisees only need “a little additional start-up capital for studio fit-out. Plenty of franchisees become cash positive on a monthly basis from month one and can grow to revenues of over £300K a year from a single site, he adds. Part of that success, he says, is because the brand is constantly evolving. 

“As a franchisor, we feel that we’ve got a duty to continue to be the very best in class and to continue to get better and better, thus helping franchisees continuously develop,” he reveals.

“This year we launched our own in-class music app for all franchisees to use in their classes. We developed post-natal classes as a new business line. And we’ve also built out our product range for franchisees to retail,” he adds.

Roadmap for success
But while the roadmap to success for Rein and Barrecore is there, for every F45 and Anytime Fitness success story, there are some catastrophic franchise flops, such as that of Bally Total Fitness

Founded in 1983, the US fitness club filed for bankruptcy in 2007 due to a cocktail of factors that commonly take down franchises. 

At the time, with 349 clubs on its books, over-expansion, the over-saturation of the market and shifts in consumer demand proved too challenging for the chain, which was eventually forced to sell off 171 of its clubs to competitor LA Fitness.

With historical mistakes at front of mind, Barrecore says it will only allow one operator per defined geographic area, providing operators with exclusive rights in their area. 

Franchisees will also have access to the wider Barrecore team and learnings through a digital collaboration platform and be provided with strategic support, financial modelling, marketing and performance support. 

“As a franchisee, you will operate your own business entirely but also get all the support we have to give,” commented Rein. “Your success is our success.”

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