Dubai’s Cryo to open 40 US outlets at LA Fitness sites

The founders of the Dubai-based cryotherapy treatment company Cryo have struck a deal to franchise their concept to the international gym chain LA Fitness.

The company has signed a deal under which a new US-based franchisee company, LA Fitness Cryo, will offer cryotherapy services at 40 LA Fitness sites over the next two years. The first will open in its Hollywood branch on October 15.

Cryo Holdings’ managing partner, Benny Parihar, said the deal “gives us access to real estate” in what he believes will be a key market for the cryotherapy company.

“They have 600 retail locations. They give us access to their demographics and data.”

Mr Parihar said the deal was exciting because it was a rare example of a business created in Dubai being rolled out to other markets.

“What we love about it is it’s a Dubai-based brand, which is an outbound franchise. There’s not many companies that have done that – JF Street Food, maybe?” he said.

The company, which set up its first cryotherapy treatment centre at Jumeirah Emirates Towers two years ago, only operates from three other company-owned locations – Dubai Ladies’ Club in Jumeirah, FitRepublik at Dubai Sports City and a new unit in Al Ain. However, it has been working on creating a franchise model that it could roll out since receiving an investment of more than US$1 million from a Jordanian investor in February.

Mr Parihar, who cofounded Cryo with business partner Kai Stubbe just two years ago, said the investment had provided the company with much-needed growth capital to move it from a start-up to an SME, with functions that had previously been outsourced such as finance, CRM systems, marketing and social media instead being brought in-house into a corporate office at Business Bay.

“It has allowed us to build a team [and] to really develop this franchise business. We needed to create a lot of content. If you’re a franchisee, we wanted to be able to support you so your business can get to break-even as fast as possible.”

The franchising model has already been tested through an initial launch in Beirut, and although Mr Parihar said there had been demand from individual clinic owners in the GCC, where it also holds franchises to sell cryogenic chambers, he would prefer to work on a “professionalised” model with existing franchise group owners in the UAE.

“We want to be with strong retail partners and companies that have franchise history.

“With the franchising model, we’ve pretty much nailed every part of it. What music needs to be playing, how long a treatment needs to be, what the flow of clientele is, how your booking system is being run,” he said.

He argued that the ultimate aim for Cryo was to become the franchise giant leader of the cryotherapy treatment world – not only offering a retail experience but also the ingredients, the service and the machines to run it.

LA Fitness did not respond to requests for comment.

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