Planet Fitness's main competitors are Chili's and Uno's, CEO says

Planet Fitness CEO on upbeat Q3 2016 outlook

Planet Fitness isn't known as a haven for super fit people and it's often the butt of jokes when it comes to fitness.

After all, the gym serves free pizza once a month and greets customers with free Tootsie Rolls at the front desk.

But that seems to be working. The fitness chain has seen its stock grow about 35% since it went public last year. Same-store sales have increased 7.6% and the chain boasts a whopping 1,206 locations.

Planet Fitness has created a successful business by catering to a very real, but specific, demographic: casual exercisers who know they have to work out, but don't necessarily want to.

That means its competition doesn't come in the form of fancy gyms. In fact, its main competition is greasy pizza.

"The first main competitors are honestly Chili's and Uno's and the movie theaters," Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau told Market Watch's Caitlin Huston recently.

It makes sense. Planet Fitness has to compete with those businesses for their customers' time, since that's probably where they'd rather be.

RELATED: Celebrity workout gear

Celebrity workout gear
See Gallery
Celebrity workout gear
Taylor Swift's colorful Nike LunarEpic Low Flyknit Ultd running sneakers pack a flirty punch. (Getty)

With plentiful athleisure options these days, there's no excuse to being a total snooze-fest. We love Gigi's ultra-cool sports bra with trendy white stripes and pink trim by LNDR. (Getty)


The actress totally puts the "muscle" in muscle tank! We love her totally hike-ready "Nurture Nature" tank by Suburban Riot. (Getty)


 Leave it to Tay to find the perfect post-workout white tee! We love the high-low silhouette of THE GREAT. Shirttail tee.(Getty)

Mesh accents add a sporty touch to Diane Kruger's capri leggings. For a similar look, try Michael Kors' MICHAEL cropped mesh-trim active leggings. (Getty)
Model Winnie Harlow looked killer in full-length leggings, a form-fitting black Nike pullover and killer Puma "Fierce" trainers. (Getty)
Mesh-panel leggings are everywhere, but we love the curved placement on this pair! (Getty) 
With the advent of all kinds of athleisure looks, Gigi threw it back with the classic Adidas three-stripe legging. (Getty)

"Other brands look at working out as a hobby, and I think personally that working out is a chore, and I believe most of America thinks of it the same way, they know they have to [but] they'd rather go to Chili's and have a beer and have some chips and salsa, but you know, you have to, you don't want to, so you kind of wince your way throughout. And I think most of Americans think this way," Rondeau told Business Insider last fall.

Burning some calories a few times a month, he said at the time, is "better than nothing."

At Planet Fitness, working out is relatively cheap. A basic membership costs $10, and a "black" membership, which entitles you to visit other franchises and use the tanning stations and massage chairs, is $19.99, plus a $20 initiation fee. There are no chic classes and no free weights above eighty pounds. A "lunk alarm" goes off if people exert themselves too loudly. The company boasts a "judgment free" philosophy.

The gym, Rondeau said, is for the people who say, "I've got to work out and get in shape before I join a gym."

"I think it's really cool who we're going after," he said.

SEE ALSO: I tried working out at the swankiest gym chain to see if it's worth the money
NOW WATCH: This stationary bike might be a SoulCycle killer

Read Full Story