From a fast food franchise to fitness

Domini Stuart

What could a fast food franchise teach you about running a fitness franchise? Plenty, according to the husband-and-wife owners of Genesis Health + Fitness Byford.

Just over a year ago, Priyanka and Ankit Sapra made the big decision to move from operating a fast-food franchise, which they had run for four years, to being the owners of a Genesis gym franchise in Western Australia. It was a huge shift – but they were surprised to find how many re-usable skills they had already learned.

“We were starting to feel that the food franchise was too demanding and time consuming and obviously not healthy, so we knew it was time for a change,” said Priyanka.

“Starting any new business takes an incredible amount of time and determination, I’m not going to say it was a walk in the park. There were back-to-back inductions and getting to understand the process of Genesis, and I was still involved with the fast-food franchise when we took over the gym so balancing both was challenging. But the team at Genesis was very supportive and professional – that’s what I love about franchises and why we were keen to stay with a franchise business model.”

Of the many skills common to the two franchises, Priyanka said the top three were patience, customer relations and following the business processes of a franchise.

“I learned from the fast-food franchise that being patient was the key to success. One of the most important skills is the ability to communicate and interact with customers and this can take you into any industry you want to go.

I learned the technique to satisfy the customer called BLAST. B: Believe, L: Listen, A: Apologise, S: Satisfy, T: Thank You. I also learned business management skills and the ability to follow the system. Although the specific processes of each franchise may differ, if you’ve done one franchise you will have a good sense of what it entails, and that’s a great base to start from.”

For franchisees thinking of changing industries or expanding their franchise portfolio into a different field, Priyanka says “go for it!”.

“In the start-up phase, things can seem challenging and confusing. Just be flexible and enjoy learning about a new industry. It’s exciting. But, even though you’ve had a franchise before, don’t get too comfortable. Make sure you do the due diligence before you buy, just as you would have done with your first franchise. And make sure you choose a franchise that will offer you great support in the launch phase and beyond. If you’re moving to a different industry, that’s what you really need – someone who is just a phone call away who can assist you with the answer you’re looking for.”

She believes that doing what your heart says and believing in yourself will get you through it.

“We’re so glad we did it – we’re so well supported, and the business is flexible and less time-consuming, so I can spend more time with my family. It also works online and has plenty of potential to grow.”