A Healthy Franchise Opportunity: Dr. G’s Weight Loss & Wellness
Today 68 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, and in many cases this is a leading cause of heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, and depression. While Americans spend billions of dollars each year trying to lose weight without success, Dr. G’s steps in with proven results. Delivering highly individualized programs directly tied to clients’ personal weight loss and wellness goals, Dr. G’s provides an amazing opportunity for smart entrepreneurs to get on board and join the highly profitable, doctor-driven franchises that are transforming clients’ lives.
Dr. Charles Goldsmith, an experienced OB/GYN, founded Dr. G’s Weight Loss & Wellness Program in 1994. When weight loss became a growing need among his clients, Goldsmith became engaged in trying to understand why so many factors seemed to be instrumental in supporting his clients’ needs. Spending countless hours of research and travelling vastly in search of a solution, his goal was to put together a weight loss program that would work. Discovering that weight loss is very complex and needs to be supervised by a physician, he then moved full time into the weight loss arena and developed the four-prong program consisting of appetite, metabolism, diet, and habits. This approach, along with a combination of herbal compounds and prescription medication helped his clients lose weight and keep it off. To date, The Dr. G’s Weight Loss & Wellness Program has helped more than 100,000 customers lose over 1,000,000 pounds.
Dedicated to clients’ weight loss and wellness, Dr. G’s biggest differentiator is that the program is physician driven. Focused on changing behavior versus food intake, Dr. G’s clients receive a comprehensive medical evaluation including a blood panel analysis, EKG, metabolic rates, body composition, medical history, and more. Based off of this information they then receive a treatment plan designed specifically for their unique needs. This treatment plan includes a physician program combined with a wellness coach and support system, as well as proprietary software that provides daily meal plans and exercise opportunities based upon their individual lifestyle.
“The program was born from the belief that obesity and weight gain is essentially a disease, and only in the last few years has all the literature come out in support of that,” says Charlotte Russell, Chief Executive Officer. “Our system always perceived such and the need to attack the symptoms of the disease as you would any other disease.” Following the weight loss plan, all centers also offer a transition and maintenance program. “We’re continuing to add different services all related to the other aspects of weight loss or wellness. As clients lose weight they see their success as a reflection of the services and support that their physician, wellness coach, and the staff has given them. This allows us to shift from weight loss to concentrating on wellness,” she adds. “People come to us to get better and feel better about themselves. As this happens they become more engaged in not just maintaining their weight, but changing their lifestyles.”
Growing from one center to four in South Florida, while Goldsmith was beginning to attract thousands of individuals, he wanted to reach hundreds of thousands. In October 2010 Dr. G’s began franchising, and on the first day of sales sold 22 franchises. In March 2011 Dr. G’s also expanded franchising efforts internationally. Today 194 franchises are open or under development spanning eight states and seven countries, including four area directorships and six master franchises. Currently operating in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Panama, and Mexico, additional territories have been sold in Brazil, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, and Australia. In July 2011, Dr. G’s sold out territories in South Florida, and today the company is focused on expanding in North Florida, as well as in other markets where its presence is established. “We’re interested in the southern belt, in states such as Texas and Georgia,” Russell explains, adding, “We would like to wrap around from New York and connect the dots to Arizona.”
Dr. G’s offers two types of franchise models for two types of franchisees. The first is a traditional storefront retail model. With this model franchisees are entrepreneurs who employ a physician to deliver the service. These franchisees are typically experienced in business within either the retail or service industries and have strong financial qualifications.
The second model type is a physician office model. Offering practiced physicians the opportunity to expand their current client base while attracting new patients, this allows physicians to utilize a program that is turnkey, has its own proprietary software, licensed pharmacies, and easy to implement practices as an add on to their current practice.
Dr. G’s franchising process begins with a candidate expressing interest in the business. After filling out an application the candidate is contacted by a member of the corporate team to answer any questions. Once financially qualified, the candidate then completes a series of conference calls with franchise sales representatives. Next, a Discovery Day is held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which includes a face-to-face interview process with corporate staff; a tour of the facility and franchise locations; and meeting franchisees and physicians involved with providing services to clients. The cost to own a franchise location in the U.S. ranges from $115,900 to $508,100.
Once awarded a franchise, new franchisees undergo comprehensive training. Broken down into four stages, the first section is home-based, hosted through webinars. Next franchisees spend a week at Dr. G’s University where they learn about the business and its daily operations in a classroom setting.
Stage three is brand training. Lasting one week, this area of training is held towards the closure of the site construction. During this time the corporate office assists with interviewing and hiring of all staff. The final step of training is held in the franchisee’s location the week of their grand opening. Here the operational support staff help ensure that everything runs smoothly from the moment the doors open, onwards. Additional physician training is also offered as a three-day program.
“Ongoing support is always available to our franchisees. This is not a static business, we’re constantly adding new programs, product development, and support on behalf of our franchisees,” says Russell. Dr. G’s provides full marketing support, and direct consultation to physicians and wellness coaches, and also assists with the recruiting, hiring and training of all physicians.
The Dr. G’s differentiator is its focus on medical weight loss and its grasp on a turnkey program. “The process begins with the generation of the inquiry, and continues all the way through fulfilling of prescriptions. There is no one aspect of the business that the franchisee has to piece together alone,” says Russell. “Franchisees are assisted with everything from signing the agreement, to real estate and construction development.” Dr. G’s proprietary software not only acts as a medical management program, but it also tracks every step of the process for clients. In addition, it allows franchisees to communicate directly with vendors, cardiologists, and the pharmacy. Franchisees are also given access to the main stays of what helps make the program successful and provided with the proprietary supplements and nutraceuticals only available through Dr. G’s franchising system.
While Dr. G’s clients typically spend six months participating in a weight loss plan, followed by six months on a transitional or maintenance plan, the next major development for Dr. G’s is a non-invasive fat reduction and skin tightening service complete with a complementary skin care product line. “These services go hand-in-hand with weight loss. As clients lose weight they want their secondary concerns to be equally satisfied,” Russell says, noting that teeth whitening, and eyelash and eyebrow conditioning services are also available at every center. Also in the works is an additional program specific to men, and a family-based program.
With three years franchise experience under its belt Dr. G’s Weight Loss and Wellness has already been ranked “Top 25 Franchises” by Franchise.com, as well as awarded a spot in South Florida Business Journal’s “50 Fastest Growing Companies.” “More than just financially rewarding, our franchisees bring health and hope to families,” Russell says, adding, “They truly are making a difference and saving lives.”
For more information: