World Leisure Jobs - BMF pivots to franchising, puts original business through a CVA and appoints Mike Evans to drive global expansion...
27 Nov 2020 World leisure: news, training & property
 
 
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21 Oct 2020

BMF pivots to franchising, puts original business through a CVA and appoints Mike Evans to drive global expansion
BY Tom Walker

In the last 12 months, under the BMF Franchising brand, the company has built a franchise business with more than 70 locally-operated clubs

In the last 12 months, under the BMF Franchising brand, the company has built a franchise business with more than 70 locally-operated clubs
photo: Be Military Fit

Be Military Fit (BMF) has completed a restructuring project, designed to transform the outdoor fitness provider from a centrally-led company into a franchise business.

Shareholders Bear Grylls and investor, Chris St George, acquired the former British Military Fitness business out of administration in 2018 and subsequently invested substantially in the brand which, according to sources speaking to HCM, was previously operating "a flawed, direct operations business model".

The business was renamed Be Military Fit at this point.

In the last 12 months, under a new BMF Franchising brand, the company has built a franchise business with more than 70 locally-operated clubs across the UK – with many of the former staff joining the network as franchisees.

The final stage of the process, completed this month, saw the acquisition of the final direct operations club into the franchise network.

This has now resulted in the original direct operation business being put into a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) process. It is not yet known who the creditors of this business are, or the extent of the debt involved.

Jan Spaticchia, vice chair of BMF group, said: "We've spent the last year transitioning the Be Military Fit owner-operated business into a modern vibrant and ambitious outdoor fitness franchise business.

"That process is now complete and the iconic BMF brand will continue to be at the forefront of our franchise business as it expands."

Spaticchia added that the new approach – focusing on "passionate local owners, supported by a powerful national brand" – proved critical during the summer COVID-19 lockdown, when BMF pivoted its membership offer to online and invited members to support their local club through the medium.

"We saw 83 per cent of members choose to continue to pay for membership of this online service throughout lockdown to rave reviews," Spaticchia said.

"In fact, during this period the business achieved a net promoter score of 72. The online offering has resulted in an added benefit that BMF members who had moved overseas are now returning to the brand via the online access."

The strategic move has been accompanied by the appointment of industry veteran, Mike Evans, as operations director of BMF's UK and international franchise operations.

Evans, who served 11 years in the British Army, has spent the past 25 years working at director level for major fitness brands – including Goodlife, Holmes Place and Virgin Active, across the UK, South Africa, Europe and Australia.

“A very exciting time for BMF and, having already met with all the franchisees across the BMF network, I’m delighted that most are keen to expand their operations," Evans said.

"As an ex-military professional myself, I have always had huge admiration for BMF and its commitment to communities.

"We are more than just a business and the opportunity to help tens of thousands of members and new members to train anywhere in the years ahead is highly motivating.”



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