The largest franchise operator in the world, Flynn Restaurant Group, has acquired a Planet Fitness franchise from Alder Partners, which operates 37 locations of the fitness center in Atlanta and Boston.
The acquisition, the company’s first foray outside the restaurant space, also ushers in a rebrand as Flynn Group. The change reflects the company’s “evolved vision to be the premier franchise operator in the world, spanning multiple industries and countries,” according to a press release.
This is the group’s third major move this year, following significant international deals, including Wendy’s and Pizza Hut in Australia.
Fifth Third Securities facilitated on both sides of the transaction.
“We’re incredibly excited to enter a new sector and, with it, our third chapter of growth at Flynn,” said Greg Flynn, founder, chairman and CEO of Flynn Group. “For over a decade, our focus was exclusively on building our Applebee’s business, and establishing best practices in structure, culture and systems. Chapter two was about diversification across the restaurant industry to mirror its composition, welcoming new brands such as Taco Bell, Panera, Arby’s, Wendy’s and Pizza Hut to the Flynn family.
“Chapter three will layer on two new growth channels – international restaurants and adjacent, consumer-facing franchised businesses – such as fitness – to our core domestic restaurant business. We are eager to accelerate growth across all channels and to bring our full capabilities to bear to drive even more value for our franchise systems and customers alike.”
Alder Partners has been part of the Planet Fitness system since 2007, when the business converted a World Gym location in East Boston to a Planet Fitness. Alder Partners saw rapid growth over the next several years after signing an Area Development Agreement (ADA) in 2010 with Planet Fitness to develop the Atlanta DMA.
Over the past 12 years, Alder has developed 31 additional clubs in Massachusetts and Georgia. In 2020, it acquired six additional locations from the PollyDot Corp. in Massachusetts.
“It was a very emotional decision to weigh the benefits of selling my family’s business to an outside party,” said Stan DeMartinis, Jr., Alder Partners managing partner. “After a series of conversations with Greg and his team, it became evident that they would allow us to grow on many different levels. I am thrilled to have found a partner who aligns with our core values, investment horizon, and that’s dedicated to helping accelerate our growth and bring an affordable health and wellness experience to more and more people. We believe we have the foundation of a uniquely differentiated platform that does not exist in the Planet Fitness ecosystem today and are excited about the future with Flynn Group.”
The business will continue with growth in its current ADA with plans to open three additional Planet Fitness clubs within the coming four months.
Planet Fitness was founded in 1992 in Dover, New Hampshire. It is now one of the largest and fastest-growing franchisers and operators of fitness centers in the world, with more than 18.4 million members and 2,472 stores.
Flynn Group was founded in 1999 and is the largest franchise operator in the world, currently owning and operating 2,600 restaurants and fitness clubs in 44 states and two countries.