If you’re looking for some respite from Pokemon Go news – sorry, we’ve decided to cover it in this post. However, before you head for the red ‘X’ at the top of your screen, we’ve done this for a very good reason; we think Pokemon Go could be a fantastic marketing tool for restaurateurs.
The overnight success of this modern take on an old franchise has been nothing short of astronomical. Nintendo’s stock price has soared and every other party involved in the development and distribution of Pokemon Go is enjoying a very healthy return. Apple alone is expected to make $3 billion just for featuring the game on its App Store.
But, let’s start with the basics…
What on earth is Pokemon Go?
Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game that runs on smartphones. By using Google Maps technology, it enables gamers to explore a real and virtual world simultaneously. The virtual world on their smartphone offers a cartoon-like version of real-life roads and paths but adds into the mix little creatures known as Pokemon that jump out of bushes and who must be caught in order to earn points.
Once a Pokemon appears, the smartphone uses its camera to switch to a live view of the surroundings and cleverly places the creature within them, making it look as though there really is a little Pokemon right in front of you.
Those playing the game can also create ‘lures’ to attract Pokemon which can be placed in any location and last for 30 minutes.
So, how can restaurants use Pokemon Go?
Ah – now things get interesting. Here are 4 ways restaurants can use 2016’s most popular smartphone game to date to attract more customers:
1. Lure them in
Pokemon Go automatically designates restaurants and pubs ‘Pokestops’ and ‘Gyms’ at which players can battle, train their Pokemon and collect goodies.
This alone may result in a heavier footfall for many restaurants, but the ability for businesses to buy ‘lure modules’ really ups the ante. Just as a lure placed by gamers attracts Pokemon, the same goes for those implemented by businesses; smartphone wielding Pokemon hunters should soon start gathering at the establishment in question.
2. The ice-breaker
Sometimes, the old fashioned marketing methods work the best, and in the restaurant world, reaching out and talking to people who may one day dine at your premises is a brilliant way to spend your time.
Now, restaurateurs have the perfect ice-breaker, thanks to Pokemon Go. So prevalent are the people wandering around looking for the little monsters that they’re easily spotted. That’s why it pays to spend some time outside engaging with such people. Simply ask if they were drawn to your restaurant while on the hunt for Pokemon and a very valuable conversation could develop as a result.
3. Pokemon event
You may be sick of hearing about Pokemon Go, but the fact that it is incessantly trending on social media presents a huge opportunity for restaurants. Why not try hosting a ‘Pokemon lure’ party by inviting diners to spend a few hours at your restaurant in order to hunt down rare Pokemon and refresh themselves with your food and drink while they do so?
4. Sponsored locations
While not available at the time of writing, there are rumours that Niantic, the software team behind Pokemon Go, is planning to launch sponsored locations, enabling businesses such as restaurants to pay a fee in order to feature their establishment prominently within the game and lure in yet more paying Pokemon hunters.
How long will Pokemon Go last? It’s tricky to say. Games such as this one are often flashes in the pan, but if the developer is able to keep the experience fresh and come up with new ways for businesses to monetise the Pokemon craze, we may well see zombie-like gamers gazing into their smartphones for some time to come.