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Franchise investor signs deal to open unmanned gyms across the UK to boost convenience for users

FITNESS franchise investor Empowered Brands, which is behind the gym franchise énergie Fitness and UBX Boxing & Strength, has signed a landmark deal with a German company that specialises in staffless gyms.

fit+ runs gyms in more than 250 locations across Europe. Now the franchise is to roll out across the UK and Ireland.

Empowered Brands, whose headquarters are in Milton Keynes, has already identified more than 200 potential locations. It sees the fit+ model as one that improves gym provision across a wider area.

Chief executive Mark Pinner said: “Convenience is a driving force in the industry now more than ever before, with gym goers looking for a well-equipped fitness club in the immediate vicinity of where they live, and fit+ will provide exactly that and more.”

fit+ gyms provide a range of strength, resistance, and free weights equipment. QR codes feature on each piece of equipment guide users on how they work.

“We are really excited to roll the concept out,” said Mark. “It is game-changing for the industry as it is a concept that is able to reach underserved communities easily where perhaps they do not currently have a convenient fitness facility or where they do but it has restricted hours.”

The fit+ concept was founded by German fitness club operators and entrepreneurs Torsten Boorberg and Björn Krämer to tackle staffing challenges they faced in the industry. The staffless gym model has seen exponential growth of 200% in three years and is forecast to rise to 300% with 320 gyms open worldwide by the end of this year.

The model targets smaller territories than traditional gyms – smaller towns, suburban and rural areas with a target population of 6,000 – 15,000.

“Empowered Brands were an obvious choice to partner with to rollout fit+ across the UK given their extensive experience in the sector,” said Torsten. “Our gyms are operated entirely digitally, managed with just a few hours work per week. It keeps the gym’s operating costs to a minimum and provides an amazing level of freedom and flexibility for the business owner.”

Everything is fully automated, from how members sign up and enter the gym to membership management and admin which is all processed internally.

Empowered Brands is backed by alternative investment management firm RM Funds. “The addition of the fit+ franchise enhances our expanding portfolio of fitness and wellness franchise brands, further solidifying our franchise royalty platform,” said Empowered Brands chairman and RM Funds portfolio manager Pietro Nicholls. “This new offering complements our existing franchise propositions.”

Empowered Brands has already opened two new franchised énergie Fitness gyms in Lichfield and Tooting this year and three new UBX Boxing & Strength franchise clubs in Alderley, Windsor and Wembley.

“We have an exciting pipeline of new openings to come across both énergie Fitness and UBX Boxing & Strength, and we anticipate appeal for fit+ franchisees being just as strong,” said Mark.


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