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Franchise Development Leaders: FYZICAL’s Brian Belmont

The physical therapy-centric healthcare franchise’s CEO, and former COO of Planet Fitness, discusses his franchising career and why he’s excited to come to work for FYZICAL every day.

Originally hailing from South Dakota, Brian Belmont worked in a fast casual family restaurant through college, graduating from Park University in Parkville, Missouri with a degree in business administration. After college, Belmont joined the Marine Corps., where he spent a decade rising through the ranks from private to captain. It was after his time in the military that franchising eventually found him. 1851 caught up with Belmont to learn about his background and what brought him to franchising and FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers.

1851: How did you first get into franchising?

Belmont: I started my franchise career with Quizno’s as one of the earlier operators with the brand. I worked my way up from franchise support through various leadership roles, including SVP of Operations and Development. My final role with them was Chief Development Officer and EVP. In 2008, I became the COO of Camp Bow Wow and from there, went on to Planet Fitness as the EVP of Operations and Development, helping to grow the franchise from 600 units to nearly 2,000 locations today. Two years ago, I became the CEO of Fyzical, which is currently the largest and fastest-growing franchise system in the healthcare segment. Personally, I am always looking for growth-oriented brands that are typically founder-backed or equity-backed.

1851: Can you talk a bit about your journey with FYZICAL?

Belmont: At FYZICAL, we focus on a holistic, whole-body approach to improving the quality of life for people of all ages, treating a variety of muscle, joint and neurological conditions.  

FYZICAL is an emerging company moving into a heavy stage of growth. Currently, we are primarily made up of independent outpatient physical therapists, in addition to traditional physical therapy, we provide additional products and proprietary business systems to increase revenue for owners. Most importantly, we are focused on moving from episodic care to wellness care. One of the ways we do that is through balance and vestibular disorder management, assisting in fall prevention for primarily the elderly. This is an incredibly in-demand and needed service and has turned into one of the largest drivers of healthcare costs.

Today, the wellness segment is one of the top industries in franchising. After being involved with Planet Fitness and helping provide low-cost fitness to everyone, I wanted to do the same in the health and wellness segment. With a growing elderly population, the epidemic of falls is at an all-time high. When founder Jim Abrams was retiring and an equity group approached me and asked if I was interested in FYZICAL, I knew it was too important of an opportunity to pass on. I’m all about growth-minded brands, and I saw that FYZICAL was an emerging franchise that was putting in the systems and processes needed to grow thoughtfully.

As the CEO, my primary strategy is to provide the leadership and strategy needed to grow, removing any obstacles and putting opportunities in front of our team and franchisees. My primary responsibility is to make remarkable connections through our core values. Sadly, each time we help a patient in healthcare, it could be the last time we talk to them. At FYZICAL, we want to provide wellness and independence to everyone, and my role is to be the captain of that culture and facilitate that environment and growth. If our team members are happy, then everyone will be happy.

1851: How are you helping the brand grow?

Belmont: First and foremost, as an emerging brand, we have done a lot of work defining our core values and mission. Since FYZICAL has only been around for six years, we have a lot of branding opportunities. Secondly, we are focused on providing exceptional franchise owner support; putting in a new learning management system; revamping initial franchise owner and ongoing training; providing boot camps and budget workshops throughout the U.S.; adding a number of strategic planning events for our owners; and putting financing in place for our owners to expand. Thirdly, we’ve been building an incredible and talented management team as well as putting a heavy emphasis on IT infrastructure in order to make sure we utilize the information we have to help grow and run our business. 

1851: How has your past experience contributed to your success?

Belmont: I believe that when a big and important offer comes through, I have a responsibility to take it on. Throughout my years in the franchising industry, I’ve seen every phase of growth. I know the hard work that it takes to succeed and I am able to tackle these challenges with calm confidence because I have the experience necessary to grow the brand correctly. When you know your job and know your obligations as a leader, it is much easier to succeed. 

1851: What does the future hold for FYZICAL? 

Belmont: FYZICAL is an exciting company because it has the opportunity to change the face of the healthcare industry. The world needs to move away from episodic care and into wellness care and I am thrilled to aid in that transition. Through our vestibular disorder management and fall prevention, our main goal is to make our patients feel better and position our franchisees for success.