The Franchise Way To Lose Weight

weight loss franchisesIf you watch any amount of television in January, it’s impossible to escape commercials from companies offering to help you lose weight – and change your life.

(Or, change your life by losing weight?)

What is it with those poorly Photoshopped “before and after” pictures that are always queued up at just the right moment in those commercials? Don’t you just once want to see the models wearing the exact same outfits in both pictures instead of the purposely tacky ones that are shown in the “before” pictures?

While you’re pondering those urgent questions, I’m going to introduce you to three companies in the fantastic world of franchising that offer weight-loss products and services, but don’t have multi-million dollar ad budgets like NutriSystem® and Weight Watchers®.

Weight-Loss Franchises

Physicians Weight Loss Centers

Charles Sekeres founded PWLC almost 25 years ago. Located near Akron, Ohio, this franchisor uses the word, “Physician” in its name for one reason – credibility. “Physicians Weight Loss Centers” does have a nice ring to it, especially if you’re a consumer looking for a “safe” way to lose weight.

But, back in 1991, the franchise ran into some problems.

And, they weren’t alone. Severalweight loss franchises came under scrutiny after several lawsuits were filed concerning the safety of the weight-loss programs. Bloomberg News wrote a hard-hitting article about the mess that the weight-loss industry was in back then, and it’s worth a read.

Currently, PWLC’s has around 100 franchise locations.

Here’s how they’re positioning their weight-loss program on their company website:

“Years of development have gone into perfecting our 6 specially designed diet programs, so we can maximize weight loss results through proper nutrition. Our Counselors will even help match you up with the program that works best for you.”

*Disclosure: My late father was the Franchise Development Director for PWLC’s and helped open over 300 units. Until he was downsized in 1991.

Medifast

Once again, a medically related term is used in this franchise brand’s name.  When I honed in on the “Franchise Opportunity” section of the Medifast corporate website, this is the text that appeared in the first couple of sentences:

“Medifast has been recommended by over 20,000 doctors and used by over 1 million customers since 1980.”

It’s nice to see that Medifast has been around for a long time. I like to see that in a franchise…but I’m not automatically sold on one just because of their longevity. There are plenty of good opportunities out there in younger franchise systems, too.  Every franchise system has its pros and cons.

One more thing about this 100+ unit franchise chain: They have a pretty impressive looking, “Scientific Advisory Board,” that consists of physicians, PHD’s and nutritionists from big-name hospitals and universities.

In my eyes, that lends a certain amount of credibility. Does it in yours , too?

Nuviva

Headquartered in Florida, this young weight-loss franchise chain uses a totally different approach to losing weight, and it involves injections.

The founders of Nuviva feel that losing weight isn’t just about dieting. They have come up with what they believe are the 6 fundamentals of a successful weight-loss program. They include:

  • Medication
  • Education
  • Diet
  • Supplements
  • Support
  • Exercise

This franchise, founded in 2010, certainly offers something different. Time will tell if the differences are powerful enough to propel the brand.

Would you be willing to undergo a weight-loss program that includes injections if it meant that you could achieve your weight-loss goals?

For some people bent on losing weight, having prepackaged food sent to their homes on a monthly basis (like from NutriSytem®) works out just fine.  Others like the camaraderie that programs like Weight Watchers® provides with their weekly weigh-ins and meetings.  And for some, weight-loss programs that seem to have a link to the world of medicine, like the franchises mentioned above, are just the ticket.

If you’re thinking of starting a weight-loss program this year, are you going to try any of the programs mentioned?  Have you ever used the services of a weight-loss franchise in your area?

Have I missed any programs that work really well that you’d like to know about?

Weight Loss Photo via Shutterstock

14 Comments ▼

Joel Libava - Franchise Expert


Joel Libava Joel Libava is the Franchise Expert for Small Business Trends. Joel, The Franchise King®, equips today’s prospective franchise owners with time-tested, proven techniques designed to increase odds of success. He does this through one-on-one coaching, and gobs of useful content that can be found on places like Small Business Trends, SBA.Gov, and his award-winning franchise blog, The Franchise King Blog . He’s been featured in Entrepreneur® magazine, and is frequently called upon by national media outlets and publications for his no-spin insights into the world of franchising.

14 Reactions

  1. Although it can help, medication is not essential to losing weight. I would recommend consulting a doctor before starting a new diet or supplement for simple safety reasons. Most successful weightloss programs start with eating smaller portions than you normally would and start exercising on a regular basis before jumping on the crash diet train. One great thing to consider if you don’t have one, buying a dog that needs to be walked. Guaranteed exercise everyday.

  2. Hi Joel, To answer your question, I would be leery of any weight loss system that involves injections, as a consumer. So many more things could go wrong with that. Allergies to the injection. Something that everyone thinks is safe today years later is discovered to be a problem. Even possible infection from injections.

    As a business owner looking to buy a franchise, I’d be just as hesitant. Maybe if I were a trained physician and wanted to stop practicing medicine and get into business, I’d consider it, because of having superior knowledge that being a doctor brings. Outside of that, it feels like a bit of a scary thing.

    I’m not suggesting that I have knowledge it’s bad or unsafe — just that for me personally, I’d need extra convincing. That’s my personal opinion and not the official position of this site ….

    - Anita

    • Anita,

      I agree.

      Actually, it really caught me off guard when I was doing my franchise company research on weight-loss franchises, and found one that specializes in…believes in, injections for losing weight.

      On the “convincing,” part I’m right there with you.

      The Franchise King®

  3. Any program not built on balance and moderation is only a short-term solution to weight loss. The best system that I have seen for long-term weight loss is a system developed by Dr. Donald K. Layman called Metaboliq, it carried by a company called Qivana.

  4. Consumers spend $60 Billion per year on weight loss and current statistics clearly show that obesity in America is growing at an epidemic rate. By 2018, its projected 40% of Americans will be obese.

    From this we can safely conclude that diets don’t work! Most popular diets involve significant reductions in food intake or replacing food with soy based meal substitutes. Of course, there is also the surgical approach. All have failed to produce sustainable results and people hate the process.

    It is one thing to develop a plan that causes a person to lose weight, it’s quite another to develop a plan that is consistent with our culture, allowing consumers to continue their relationship with food while at the same time making them healthy and feeling great.

    Answer: it’s all about nutrition. The human body is a miraculous organism that has the ability to thrive and keep us healthy if we provide it with the right fuel. That fuel is nutritious food.

    Losing weight can be relatively easy and does not have to be painful. Keeping it off requires some lifestyle change and exercise. Education is key to success and remember, DIETS DON”T WORK.

  5. Thanks for that, Larry.

    I’m not sure if I agree with you about diets not working, but you shared some good info with the Small Biz Trends community.

    Thanks.

    The Franchise King®

    • I’m sure you will agree for any diet to be considered successful there has to be sustainable results. National stats show that two thirds of people who lose weight regain more than they lost originally. The Yo-Yo effect. The national stats I previously quoted certainly give the big picture. About 70% of the $60 Billion spent each year by consumers is for self-administered weight loss, only 30% is on commercial diet programs. Most commercial providers have a single approach to the problem with little science behind what they do and no sustainability track record to brag about. That’s why they pay millions to celebrities to hock their products.

      One of the wisest men who ever lived is reported to have said something like, “There is nothing new under the sun” and he said that a long time ago. I think it is even more accurate today. A back-to-the-basics approach with focus on nutrition and exercise is what gets the weight off and keeps it off.

      Hope this helps.

      • Thanks, Larry,

        True, for sure. I know that a lot of people gain their weight back.

        Maybe if the food industry would pitch in and make more healthy foods…

        The Franchise King®

  6. Funny that you mention about the photoshopped pictures! I lost 300 pounds through a wonderful franchise called Medi-Weightloss Clinics (a physician supervised weightloss program that uses a combination of real whole foods, vitamin B shots, education on lifestyle change, and support). When people see my picture they just don’t believe I was ever that big! I kept the old clothes I wore in the picture and I even have fun with them by seeing how many people we can fit in them! I lost the 300 pounds in 16 months starting Christmas of 2008 and I am still maintaining my healthy weight!

  7. Hi Joel. You left out a few medical chains that are franchises or sell “licenses”…1) Medi-WeightLoss Clinics, Lindora Clinics (CA), The Centers for Medical Weight Loss, Smart For Life. Franchising used to be the typical growth model for diet centers in the 1980s and 1990s. At one time, commercial weight loss centers such as NutriSystem operated 1,000+ centers and Diet Center had 2,000+ sites. Jenny Craig also grew mainly via franchising. However, today, brick & mortar centers have too high an overhead cost structure and the profit margins have plunged. Plus, franchisee groups have gotten more combative and organized, frequently opposing corporate headquarters policies. Many times, the franchisees know their local markets better than headquarters but are hog tied in what they can do/not do. Just my 2 cents, as a 24-year market research analyst of the diet market since 1989. John LaRosa, Marketdata Enterprises, Tampa, FL

    • Thanks for stopping by to read my post, John.

      These franchise and license deals come and go, for sure.

      The 80′s rocked for several weight-loss franchises.

      Brick and mortar is tough these days, but an excellent system can work.

      The Franchise King

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