THE WELLNESS INDUSTRY

A Q&A with Restore Hyper Wellness’ Cody Wise

How to thrive in an ever-growing and evolving industry

cody-wise

Restore Hyper Wellness founders Jim Donnelly and Steve Welch were training together for a triathlon and began using cryotherapy for recovery. They loved the results but weren’t fans of the customer experience and knew they could offer something better. In 2015, they opened the first Restore clinic in Austin, Texas.

Restore’s Sr. Manager Franchise & Business Development Cody Wise had a similar journey into the health and wellness space. He was first introduced to the brand as a customer. An avid golfer who still plays competitively, Restore fit perfectly into his routine to aid his recovery and allow him to perform at the highest level possible. Once the pandemic hit, he decided to combine his business acumen and experience in the oil and gas industry with his passion for health and wellness. His task on joining Restore was to help scale the business from a scrappy startup to an enterprise-level company.

Today, Restore has 240 franchise locations across 44 states, offering an array of services from cryotherapy, red light therapy, infrared saunas, and compression to IV drip therapy, intramuscular shots, oxygen therapy, and more.

What has been the key to Restore’s quick growth and success?

I think it’s a combination of a few things. People taking more ownership of their own health and wellness is one thing. A growing distrust of the standard American health care model — we really view it as sick care. It’s more reactive. You go to the doctor if you’re feeling symptoms, and you get prescribed certain things to fix those symptoms, which may cause other symptoms. You get in this nasty cyclical relationship.

It certainly heated up even more throughout things like COVID where people really started to take their health more into their own hands. Regardless of whatever your stance is on some of the approaches of how to manage the pandemic, I think everybody was pretty well aligned that the one thing you can do as an individual is have a strong immune system. So what can you do to have a strong immune system? A lot of that is supported by Restore.

What is your projection for the next few years with Restore? What is your goal as a franchise now?

I think we will continue to grow nominally from just a sheer number of studios around the country, but where we have the biggest runway to continue to be a successful organization is going to be around these innovative items that are getting rolled out. Really continuing to deepen that relationship with our clientele to provide the personalized, science-backed therapies we’re offering for them to really start to feel the benefits. People tend to sing those praises whenever they’re seeing the positive effects of that, so the goal remains the same — continue to be the clear leader in this space for all things proactive health and wellness.

What sets Restore apart from other franchise brands when it comes to the franchisee experience?

The biggest thing is our medical infrastructure. I think that is the area we’re continuing to double down because we have such a robust infrastructure in place. Since we’re operating in so many states, we’ve already learned the hard lessons from a compliance perspective, and we’re able to position ourselves as the golden child from a compliance perspective on how these should be administered safely and effectively.

Then obviously with the personnel we have in place for the medical side of the business, we’ll be able to continue to add on additional things that will really move the needle with people’s health. Things like optimal hydration, optimal vitamin levels, even the right amount of oxygen, decreasing inflammation — all of those things are super important to your health and wellbeing, but where we see the needle really starting to move is in that performance medicine space. That’s led by Dr. Rich Joseph [Chief Medical Officer, Restore] on our team. He is very much aligned from a traditional healthcare background, but also looking at how we can continue to implement some of these other things that fall under the performance medicine realm, like peptides and increased diagnostics. All of that certainly fits in well to our product suite and what we’re able to offer in our studios.

Restore is unique in this space in how many different and diverse services are offered. Has that been an intentional strategy to be more competitive in this industry?

Short answer, absolutely. Think about it this way: If you were to go into a gym and all they had were benches to be able to do chest presses, you could only get so much out of that if you’re going in from an exercise perspective. There’s a reason why gyms have benches, squat racks, leg presses, leg extensions, machines, free weights, resistance bands, and all these other things, because when you stack those things together, that is what maximizes your efficacy.

We view that the same way from the recovery side and the wellness side. Sure, you can do cryo and it’s going to be helpful, but doing cryo once a month and only cryo is not going to give you groundbreaking health results. You’ll feel great for a few days after doing it, but it’s not really going to move the needle. Versus if you stack cryotherapy with red light therapy and compression, and then the next week you go in to get an IV and make sure your vitamin levels are optimized, making sure you’re going in to do oxygen therapy — stacking those different things is really what we find to be most efficacious, because that’s where you get that compounding effect.

How did Restore and United Leasing & Finance’s relationship come about?

It was around an existing franchisee that is also in the Orangetheory Fitness franchise system that had used United and brought them up. Then we got connected with the United team, and the next thing you knew we were having conversations about how they can do some equipment financing for some of our franchisees.

I think that played well into good relationships with the franchisees and being able to lean on them for their experience and what they felt has been good. At the end of the day, the franchisees are our clients from a corporate perspective. If they’re coming to us saying, “We have this valuable relationship with a lender that can help us with financing equipment, and you should talk to them,” that obviously carries a lot of weight.

Was that type of relationship with a lending partner something you had been looking for?

I think it just came about organically. We’ve seen all different types of franchisees in our system — everybody from the mom-and-pop owners on one side of the spectrum all the way to private equity institutional investors on the other side of the spectrum — very different strategies in how they decide to fund these types of ventures. It’s always good for us to have as many arrows in the quiver as possible, so that way people can have whatever is going to address their specific situation. It was very much organic and a natural course of the relationship. Thankfully, we’ve gotten nothing but positive feedback from people working with United.

United has worked with nine franchisees so far. Can you speak to the value you’ve seen this relationship add to their experience?

Keeping in mind that franchisees are our end client as the franchisor, we want to make sure that the people we’re putting our name behind to recommend are supporting those people appropriately. And again, I’ve had nothing but raving reviews about how people have been introduced to United. First conversations with people like [Senior Corporate Account Executive] Casey Delgado driving that and being very clear with what the process looks like, the level of the support, different incentives that might be applicable, and being able to approach it from a consultative perspective versus some cookie-cutter approach. We’re appreciative of that.

Does the typical Restore franchisee operate multiple franchises?

More than 80% of our owners are multi-unit owners. We have a few people who are just the single-studio owners, but most people want to reach some level of scale and that usually happens with at least two to three locations.

Do you see a lot of private equity groups interested in investing in Restore locations?

Absolutely. There are several venture capital and private equity outfits that are always looking for ways to diversify their portfolio, and Restore is in a great position to provide them an opportunity for optimal returns and impact.

Do you think the current environment of having these specialized franchises offering a more boutique and holistic approach to health and wellness is a trend for now, or do you think it’s here to stay?

There have been some interesting reports that have come from the likes of McKinsey that show what the market cap looks like from a total healthcare perspective over the next decade-plus, and the vast majority of that growth is in the proactive fitness and wellness space specifically, versus traditional healthcare. We’re bullish that this is going to continue to grow pretty rapidly, and we’re even more bullish that we’re poised to be able to capitalize on that much better than other folks just because of our real estate position and the number of studios we have.

There’s also a report that came out about a year or so ago that showed that Gen X and millennials actually spend more on their overall health and wellness than what baby boomers do, which I think is pretty interesting from a trend perspective generationally. I can speak to this being a millennial as well that I’ve seen my parents and my grandparents age. I think a lot of people fit into that category by seeing their family age in a way they don’t want to, and I can certainly speak to that anecdotally. What are some things we can do proactively while we’re younger to be able to age more gracefully, really shrinking the gap between your health span and your lifespan?

Lifespan right now, general speaking, is about 78 years of age in the U.S., whereas your health span is probably closer to 65. That leaves a gap of about 13 years where you are effectively alive but you’re not really able to do the things that you want to do. You might not be able to go ride a bike, you might not be able to go play golf, you might not be able to go and toss the baseball with your grandchildren, or those sorts of things. I think all of us would probably attest that, if we could shrink the gap to where our healthspan and lifespan are aligned as closely as possible, that’s ideal. I think that’s another big trend we have seen are people in the younger generations looking to apply these sorts of things so that it works like compound interest for their own health and longevity moving forward.

About United Leasing & Finance

United Leasing & Finance is a customer-focused and growth-oriented leasing and finance company committed to providing custom financing solutions to businesses across the U.S. and Canada. For almost 60 years, United has partnered with clients to achieve mutual success from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies.