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Keith Larson | VP of Consumer & Franchise Marketing | Zen Massage®

Zen Massage®: Reinventing the Retail Massage Business Model

Managing health conditions and enhancing wellness are growing priorities in people’s lives. Consumers and the medical community alike are embracing massage as part of a comprehensive wellness journey; it is also increasingly a part of health care plans. The Zen Massage® franchise system is growing by capitalizing on these trends.
Zen Massage is a successful system with locations in six states. It is poised for growth nationwide, particularly the Southeast. It offers competitive advantages that both consumers and franchisees prefer. For consumers, it offers professional massage therapy and skin care services in a comfortable environment at everyday low prices with no contracts or membership fees. To franchisees, it offers a simple, proven business system at lower costs and fees.
Consumer- friendly Offerings Zen Massage has reinvented the retail massage business model. According to the company’s research, consumers hate contracts and membership fees like they hate cell phone and cable TV contracts and fees. Zen is structured to not lay those hassles on consumers. This is a main reason its customers choose Zen Massage.
A Franchise Business Veteran 
Randall Scribner, CEO believes a franchisor’s success comes from building strong, successful franchisees.  He is a veteran of nearly 25 years in the franchise field as an executive and as a franchisee, including 14 years with TCBY and serving as COO of Just Fresh Restaurants. Keith Larson, VP of Consumer and Franchise Marketing, was a long-time veteran of McDonald’s Restaurants in both marketing and franchising/operations.
Randall joined Zen Massage as consulting CEO in 2008 and acquired the system in 2010. The past few years have been spent preparing all aspects of the Zen Massage system for its current strong location performance, and system expansion. Larson joined in 2014 and began retooling Zen marketing.
Key Learnings 
The key thing that Zen Massage has learned is to view the industry from the customer point of view, first and foremost, and to view its business from the standpoint of, “What does it take for a franchisee to succeed?”
Offerings to Franchisees 
Zen Massage® offers the following to prospective franchisees:

  • Comprehensive classroom and on the- job training before their center opens.
  • Side-by-side help when one does open.
  • Guidance in recruiting Licensed Massage Therapists, hiring and training administrative personnel, and team building.
  • Zen Massage’s proprietary, comprehensive, regularly updated Site Selection, Training/Operations, Location Opening, and Marketing/Advertising Manuals.
  • Help selecting the best location for their Zen Massage business, and assistance in design and build-out of their location.
  • Timeline driven store opening manual
  • Ongoing consultation with the company’s Franchisee Support Team
  • Internet and technology support
  • Visits from Field Support Representatives
  • Custom built Zen Massage branded website (including mobile) personalized to their location and services. Includes dedicated portal for franchisee resources.
  • Business system software specifically written to assist them in running their Zen Massage business efficiently and profitably.
  • Leadership and resources in marketing their Zen Massage business, from Grand Opening to on-going promotional efforts – including social media and internet marketing direction and content.
  • Specially negotiated discounts from vendors including its national Zen Massage contract with Dermalogica tm.

Poised for Growth 
There’s a Japanese saying Keith Larson learned during his tenure in McDonald’s: “To go fast, you must first go slow.” He says Randall inherently knew this, and spent several years after acquiring the company fine-tuning operations and reshaping it as a franchise system. When Larson joined Zen Massage, he took that approach to get its marketing positioned right. In the last three years, the company has reached the place where it is really poised for growth – and it’s happening. Recently, it has welcomed four new franchisees to its system and is about to open a fifth new location. (Zen’s16th).
Ensuring Customer Satisfaction
“At 59.99…without the membership and great hours that can accommodate mostly any schedule, it is unbeatable.” – Court G. Charlo_e NC
“Great new massage place, no more monthly contracts. Bri was my massage therapist and she was great on relieving my tightened neck muscles” – Kimberly P. Henderson, NV
 “I go to Zen Massage several times a year the massages are always great and the prices are wonderful, unlike other chains they have no contracts/memberships so there is no awkward/annoying sales pitch to join.”- Tamar R. Boca Raton, FL