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Forget Overtime; Undertime Is Real Villain, Anytime Fitness Says


Chuck Runyon, left, and Dave Mortensen, wearing kilts, prepare for a video shoot in advance of their International Franchise Association talk.

Franchise operators spend a lot of time worrying about overtime, but the real villain in their businesses is undertime—the amount of money employers pay for disengaged workers who are present only physically.

That’s advice from the kilt-wearing Dave Mortensen and Chuck Runyon, co-founders of Anytime Fitness, who gave a lively keynote address today sprinkled with profanities at the International Franchise Association’s annual convention in Las Vegas. (Why were they wearing kilts? “Because we can,” Mortensen declared to the audience.)

Mortensen rattled off statistics, which he says are self-reported from salary.com: 89 percent of employees reported wasting time at work; 31 percent waste roughly one hour a day; 16 percent waste roughly two hours a day; and 4 percent waste at least half the average workday on non-work-related tasks.

Mortensen joked that his first reaction when he learned those stats was to get tough and fix the problem in a macho way—then he showed a video of a cruel rowmaster whipping his charges to go faster and faster. But Runyon’s cooler head prevailed, he said, and the co-founders described their “secret code to solve undertime and fuel growth.”

At Anytime Fitness, the code is to focus on people, purpose, profits and play, and they proceeded to deconstruct each item. “We are fighting a war to keep people highly engaged with our brand,” said Runyon. “Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202 percent.”

Self Esteem Brands is their corporate umbrella name, with Anytime Fitness and Waxing the City the two brands they operate, headquartered in Woodbury, Minnesota. “Your team, your staff, your customers do not care about how much money you make,” said Mortensen. “But what they do care about is the lives we can impact.”

For all the lofty talk, they also threw around plenty of swear words, like GSDs, one of their key indicators that stands for Get Shit Done. They also displayed the bare butt of one of their franchisees with an Anytime Fitness tattoo, made fun of Runyon’s “resting bitch face,” and quite a bit more. Maybe it's those kilts that inspire a certain free-wheeling style in the founders.

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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 senior 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 restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Laura MichaelsLaura 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




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