Gym chains in India are putting in their best possible efforts to offer the finest service to its customers. Still, the market is hugely dominated by the international players. We spoke to Managing Director of Anytime Fitness India, Vikas Jain on his plans to take the brand now to Punjab Market and the challenges ahead for them.
Tell us about Anytime Fitness’s presence globally.
Originated from USA, Anytime Fitness has been operational since 2002 and started franchising the very same year. We have global presence in around 23 Countries – USA, Canada, UK, Netherland, Spain, Japan, China, Honk Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia etc. In India, we have around 15+ gyms.
Anytime Fitness is now tapping Punjab. By when do you plan to enter the Punjab market?
Punjab is a rich market loaded with opportunities. We plan to open at least 10 gyms in Punjab covering Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patiala and Jalandhar by the end of 2016.
Don’t you think rent will be a major challenge in a state like Punjab?
Rent is a major test everywhere. But I feel the major challenge for us regarding rent is only in Chandigarh. Elsewhere we have always successfully opened gyms in Tier II cities also like Bhuj (Gujarat), Dimapur (Nagaland) etc. I see it more as an opportunity rather than a challenge though.
What inspired you to opt for the franchise route and why do you think it is apt for your brand?
Anytime Fitness, had reached great heights before we got the brand to India. We were inspired by brand ideologies and the impeccable work ethics of the corporate. The core competence was always franchisee support and the depths they would go to provide the right kind of support made all the difference. In India, we aspire to emulate the same model by providing people with the opportunity to grow in the fitness industry, be their own boss and be a part of the world’s largest gym chain. Franchising helps us to partner with the right kind of people to reach areas/cities where our knowledge is limited. We work in tandem with people who wish to enter this industry and share the immense knowledge, best practices etc. to promote both – the success of the individual franchisee along with the brand.
So, any requisites you seek in a franchise partner for your brand?
We wish to associate with someone who might not be from the health and fitness background but he should be an experienced person in service sector. He should empathise rather than sympathise with people. He must understand that this sector requires passion and commitment both.
Do you think Indian gym sector is becoming more like F&B industry where major dominance is of international players? If yes why?
Yes, Indian fitness sector is dominated by international players. The topmost reason is quality issue with Indian gyms. Usually with local chains, consumer experience is not good as compared to an international chain that has team of experts with them. Few local gyms use Chinese equipments and products. We do not compromise on quality whatsoever. When a person becomes a member of any gym, he seeks convenience that international gyms chains are offering with their wide network.