Chuze Fitness ramps up the hospitality to provide great, low-cost workouts and terrific CX
Summer’s here and the time is right for … dusting off that gym membership you signed up for in January. Trouble is, it’s already June. It’s expensive, they never have the weights you need, and the machines you like are always taken or broken. Besides, who wants to be yelled at in a group class by a benignly hostile not-so-personal trainer with an eight-pack and 11 percent body fat?
If you’ve ever felt self-conscious in the workout zone, welcome to the club. While the dutiful among us swallow the anxiety and forge ahead to the elliptical, 17 percent of potential health club members decide not to join a club because they feel out of place. That’s according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association.
Chuze Fitness thinks there’s a better way.
“When we first decided to come into the industry 10 years ago, we did a very thorough examination of our competitive landscape,” recalled company co-founder and CEO Cory Brightwell. “You’d walk into a competitor’s gym, you may or may not get greeted at the front door, and they’d pass you off to a salesperson who gives you a tour.”
“As you walk around you’d notice the gym is filthy, the equipment’s broken, the air conditioning isn't working, and then they’d take you into a sales cubicle and put you through a meat grinder to try and extract as much money as they can from you that day. You walk out feeling like, ‘Oh my gosh! This is what's out there for the consumer?’”
While many chains have since upped their game to compete successfully in the $29 billion fitness, health club, and gym club industry, issues of cost, comfort, and accessibility remain a concern. This is exactly where Chuze has carved its niche.
“We saw a huge opportunity to make health clubs a much more welcoming, friendly, non-intimidating environment,” he recalled. Along with co-founders Kris Peterson and Nick Barshick, Brightwell set out to create a low-price, high value club in an environment where the value would speak for itself — without the typical high-pressure sales pitches that remain a fixture of club operational culture to this day.
“We vowed to do this through providing very friendly and welcoming customer service through the many interactions we have with our members. The goal is always to make them feel like our facilities are home, and that our fitness staff and team members are family.” That family-feel model has its roots in Brightwell’s and Barshick’s dads, who were formerly business partners in the hospitality industry.
“What sets us apart, and what gives us the brand and reputation that we have today, is that we are truly a hospitality company that uses fitness as its vehicle,” he continued. “We grew up getting to see an extreme focus on the guest experience. That experience and focus on creating a quality product and a quality service is what delivers the overall value proposition that has now transferred into Chuze Fitness.”
Brightwell added, “It’s 10 years later, and I believe the competition has improved. But there is still a huge differentiation between the type of experience you get at Chuze Fitness versus the kind you get at many other big box health clubs out there.”
People first, forever and always
Chuze welcomes everyone with open arms, regardless of fitness level, and kicks indifference and judgment to the curb. “It’s the people who create that experience, whether it’s the front desk folks who welcome you as soon as you walk through the door and call you by name and make you feel like family right away, or the group exercise and training instructors that really connect with you beyond just giving you a great workout, understanding what’s going on in your life and why you’re trying to achieve your fitness goals”, Brightwell stressed.
“It’s easy to talk about delivering great customer service and great member experiences, but the bottom line is that you have to see it and feel it for yourself. Our end goal is to ensure that every single person feels like family, and our facility feels like a home.”
With 25 locations in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado, the firm plans to open an additional eight locations this year, and an estimated 10 to 15 more in 2020.
The typical 40,000-square-foot Chuze Fitness facility features a full service package of equipment and amenities, including cardio, weights, strength equipment, pool, hot tub, steam rooms, saunas, group exercise classrooms, yoga studios, HIIT training studios, turf areas, hydro massage chairs, kids club, and Chuze Cinema. Prices start as low as $9.99 a month.
Chuze Cinema? You read that right. Customers can watch a big screen blockbuster movie while getting a 30- to 60-minute cardio workout. As Brightwell put it, “I can’t take credit for the idea. Many years ago, we saw a midsize chain do it and, in our opinion, they left some room for improvement.” Chuze set out to refine the idea through an improved overall presentation, with better audiovisual technology, better equipment inside, and a better build-out of the entire cinema itself. “It really helps the time go by a lot faster and helps take your mind off the pain of doing cardio.”
In addition to HIIT team training, Chuze offers a variety of group classes, including Zumba, yoga, Silver Sneakers, Mat Pilates, barre, abs, cardio kickboxing, Piyo®, Les Mills body combat and body pump, aqua fit, and more.
One word that repeatedly comes up in conversation with Brightwell is kindness. A rigorous recruiting and selection process from the front desk to the facility floor is key to nurturing the supportive atmosphere that is the Chuze brand. “(We ask ourselves) is this person someone who connects to our behavioral style that we need in the clubs, which is to be social, interactive, kind, and welcoming to every single person who walks through our doors? That’s helped us scale and grow to the size we are today without losing that cultural differentiation,” he said.
And then? “We outwork our competition.”
You deserve an awesome gym.
Even if you’re not rich.
Even if you can’t deadlift a Dodge.
Even if you’re not training for an Iron-anything.
You deserve a gym that’s beyond friendly,
A gym with every fun class you want,
in one place.
A gym that feels like a country club, but costs
like a couple of lattes.
Chuze sets out to reinvent fitness clubs
because they believe you’ve been underserved
Because everybody deserves an awesome gym.
And this is it.
1233 Camino del Rio S,
San Diego, California 92108