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CEO Dave Long On Orangetheory’s Explosive Growth


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Orangetheory Fitness CEO Dave Long.

Fueled by franchisee development and a high-intensity, group interval training model that’s attracted tens of thousands of members, Orangetheory Fitness rocketed to No. 153 on the Franchise Times Top 200+, our exclusive ranking of the 500 largest franchises.

The Boca Raton, Florida-based brand led all performers with a 111 percent increase in systemwide sales, to $451 million in 2016, and topped the list of fastest growers by units with its 73 percent increase to 582 units. That was to close out 2016; today that unit number is closer to 700.

“We continue to get better at all aspects of the business from an execution standpoint,” says CEO Dave Long of that strong performance. “And we had really loaded up the pipeline of existing franchisees opening new locations.”

Of the new locations opened in 2016, 85 percent came from existing franchisees while Orangetheory added 16 company gyms. “We see a real clear path for continued growth,” Long adds. “We’ll do more infill and penetrate our existing markets.”

Since launching Orangetheory in 2010, Long says he’s continually worked to build the company’s infrastructure, which last year included bringing on CFO Tim Tanguay and Leslie Daley as chief learning officer to spearhead training for franchisees. Another 35 corporate employees were hired in technology and international franchising support roles (Orangetheory has 62 locations in 15 other countries), and to improve the brand’s consumer-facing platforms.

A new reporting portal for franchisees went live last year and has proven effective in helping ‘zees run their locations more efficiently, particularly on the staffing side. And Orangetheory got “a little more intense and granular” with its analysis of franchisee performance, Long says. 

“We do really deep P&L dives into franchisee units … and we give them real, actionable takeaways to how everybody can be best in class,” says Long.

2016 also brought a growth equity investment from Atlanta-based private equity firm Roark Capital Group, which has investments in more than 50 franchise and multi-unit brands operating in 75 countries.

“Bringing Roark on as a partner was very intentional,” says Long. “We wanted a partner that had expertise in growing to thousands of units domestically and have that international expertise.”

While he acknowledges the success of Orangetheory in 2016, if you ask Long, the best is yet to come.

“I think our biggest growth is still ahead of us,” he says. “I think you can expect a lot more from us.”

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is associate editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is editor-in-chief of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is staff writer at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonLaura Michaels is managing editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
 twitter.com/mlarson1011.
 
Nancy WeingartnerNancy Weingartner is editor-at-large of Franchise Times magazine and the editor of the Food On Demand media project. You can reach her at 612-767-3200 or at nancyw@franchisetimes.com.
Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nanweingartner.
 

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