Lure in Diners with Pokémon Go

blog post by posera

Pokémon Go is exploding across the globe. It may be a short term summer 2016 fad or it could turn into a long term widely played social media game with a dedicated user base. Either way, entrepreneurs are already finding ways to bring Pokémon Go players into their bars and restaurants. We are going to give you some quick tips to help you to get started on doing the same.

First off, what is Pokémon Go and who is playing it? Pokémon Go is a new game for smart phones, based on a highly popular Nintendo® original dating back to the mid 90s. Which means it already has a built in user base of millennials. It uses a fairly new technology, called augmented reality. Augmented reality games blend the real world with the virtual world of the game by using real world maps and smart phone cameras. Users are encouraged to go out into the real world and interact with it in order to play the game.  The objective of the game is to find and catch Pokémon, train them, and have them fight other players’ Pokémon.

Why should I as a bar or restaurant owner care about Pokémon Go? Because it has inbuilt mechanisms to help you catch customers while they catch Pokemon. In the game there are things called “Pokéstops”. Pokéstops were randomly generated all over the world and use real existing businesses, and landmarks. Users are encouraged to check in at Pokéstops to receive in game rewards. Players can attached lures at these Pokéstops to lure in Pokémon. All players can benefit when a lure is placed at a stop, and you can see the Pokéstops in your area that have these lures attached.The player that put up the lure can be identified by anyone, which gives a restaurant the ability to give incentives to players that put up the lure. We are already seeing multiple examples of this. Chuck’s Hop Shop in Seattle paid for the lures at their location as a form of Happy Hour. The Ballard Loft in Seattle, Washington is offering 10% off for anyone that puts up a lure. The Meekong Bar is offering free items to anyone that posts pictures of Pokémon they caught in their business on Facebook.

Another virtual objective that has real world locations is called a Gym. Like the name implies, it’s a place where players can train up their Pokémon after they have caught them. Gyms are less frequent than Pokéstops, and draw large groups of players. At gyms, users will pick a team and battle for control of the gym, which increases the in-game rewards. Some bars are already offering specials based on your team. If your bar is close enough to a gym, a fun idea would be to offer a special to the team in control of the gym.

What if you have no Pokéstop or gym nearby? Well you already missed the initial rush, but do not worry as there is already a way to submit a request to add a gym or Pokéstop near your place of business. Some places are offering deals just by having players show that they are playing the game at their restaurant, such as Red Robin. Niantic, the company that developed the game for Nintendo has also announced that it will be allowing companies to create sponsored locations, so get ready for huge commercial tie ins. Pokémon Go is just getting started.