Aussie Float Studio Franchise City Cave Eyes Expansion

City Cave

Australian floatation therapy startup City Cave is inching towards global brand status.

Float on. With 70 Aussie studios turning over A$70M in 2022, co-founders Tim Butters and Jeremy Hassell opened in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with plans for ~3K US studios in five years.

Inspired by science-backed Floatation-REST (Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy) – typically dark, silent floating in Epsom salt-filled pools – City Cave provides a premium floatation experience at A$89 (€53) for 60 minutes.

Its studios also offer additional wellness services like private infrared saunas and massages.

Feeling good. Recovery, once purely for pro athletes, has shifted into the soon-to-be $7T wellness market, with 44% of Americans classifying massage, cryotherapy and sauna as “important”, per Mindbody.

Riding the recovery craze, City Cave combines the floatation niche, with the sauna pod boom and mainstream massage, appealing to weekend warriors, holistic health seekers and wellness maximalists alike.

Of note for operators, some of City Cave’s multi-unit franchisees are also gym franchisees, such as a Brisbane-based owner of Anytime Fitness and Cleveland Snap Fitness franchisee. The startup describes the “like-for-like clientele” as a “good marriage”.

Takeaway: City Cave hit the recovery zeitgeist Down Under and could do the same in the US. However, despite the lure of global brand status, it is still prioritising home-grown expansion – aiming for 150 Aussie studios – and waiting for evidence of US success before signing up American franchisees. Pressing pause for too long could see US incumbents gaining market share, but a well-oiled franchise system will springboard scaling at speed.