14:57 30 September 2013
Scottish entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne, who is known to millions of viewers for his uncompromising business instincts and for his belligerent persona on the TV show Dragon’s Den, slammed his own clients suggesting that he is not happy with the kind of people that his fitness centres have been attracting.
The owner of the country’s largest independent chain of health clubs has described an “intimidating” encounter involving Russian builders. He said on Monday, “It struck me how intimidating they might be for some of our older members.”
Membership to Mr Bannatyne’s fitness clubs have been slashed after other gyms reduced their membership fees in a bid to attract new business. The health club tycoon admitted that the move has disadvantages. He said: “More and more, people are trying to sneak in a friend without paying or making complaints in the hope of getting money back.
“Once you lower your thresholds, you start to attract more of the kinds of customers who create problems and take up staff time.”
Meanwhile, publicist Max Clifford told the Independent that Mr Bannatyne’s remarks weren’t helpful. He said: “It’s making a bad situation worse. For someone to be criticising the people that are paying him, as Gerald Ratner found out years ago, is the last thing you should be doing.”
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