Planet Fitness President Shares His Love of Pizza and Biggest Pet Peeve | Franchise News


“M&Ms. It’s probably my weakness. If my wife buys them and puts them in a candy jar, I find my way to the bottom of that jar.”

— Bill Bode, U.S. Franchise Division President, Planet Fitness

In her monthly “Grab Bag” column, Editor in Chief Laura Michaels asks the tough questions—What superhero power would you most like to have? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?—to show a side of franchising execs you don’t normally see. To suggest a subject, email

Who would play you in the biopic about your life?

I’d love to say Tom Cruise. I like the adventurous side of him and that he stands in and does his own stunts. But I’m probably more aligned with Keanu Reeves. On a personal side, we share some things in common. He has a sister who struggled with cancer and I had a brother who died from cancer and so cancer research and donations to support research is important to both of us.

If you weren’t in franchising, what would you be doing?

I went to school for finance but I eventually wanted to go to law school. I worked at McDonald’s when I was in school and fell in love with the business side. Right out of school I went to Dunkin’, I was there for 30-some years. Then I came to Planet Fitness. So it probably would have been something in finance or law.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

I’m not a big social media fan. I have a Facebook account—that dates me—and I pay attention to social media because of my job, but I’m not on social media. I think it takes away from the true social elements of life, personally. The relationships that are interactive, it takes away from that.

What’s something you would seriously stockpile if you found out it wasn’t going to be sold anymore?

M&Ms. It’s probably my weakness. If my wife buys them and puts them in a candy jar, I find my way to the bottom of that jar. And any flavor. Caramel, pretzel, I don’t know what it is, I love them.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Alligator, and not overseas. I ate alligator in Quincy, Massachusetts. I’m not a very diverse food eater, I’m pretty plain, so for me to have alligator … It was a bunch of us at a business dinner. It got put in front of me and you know, peer pressure.

What are you freakishly good at (or bad at)?

I enjoy playing sports, anything athletic. I can unicycle. I can water ski, I play tennis. I played softball across multiple states competitively for many years.

What superhero power would you most like to have?

If I could pick a superhero, I’d pick Superman. He’s got a lot of powers. If I had to pick one? Flying. Or being invincible, the super strength.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

A poor answer for a Planet Fitness executive: pizza. I’ve told my wife, if I’m dying, I want a good steak or pizza. A good pepperoni pizza. I don’t know what it is. Probably goes back to my parents with Friday pizza night.

What’s something not many people know about you?

Probably that I’d say my biggest fan and someone in my life that motivates me every day is my brother. I don’t share it a lot and a lot of people don’t know I had a brother who died from cancer, Ricky. Eric was his name, but Ricky was his name to us.

What’s one restaurant or food trend you wish would die?

There’s so many bad food trends. Bubble tea is one I think of right now. Why is that something? But there’s brands doing quite well with it. Or, thinking about the pizza business, this whole concept of buying something that’s not finished, that you have to bake at home. That restaurants would do that—that you buy a product and have to finish it at home—I don’t understand it. There’s lots of chefs doing that now. I don’t get it.

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