Hit-Or-Miss News Opinion

How Restaurants Can Use Pokemon GO To Catch Us All

We’ve already covered how a food truck can (and should) benefit from utilizing the Pokemon GO app, so why not brick-and-mortar restaurants? Most owners react the same as your average person: either very strongly for or against the idea. Who wants to spend their operating hours watching customers looking down and swiping up? Owners with paying customers — that’s who! And the key to profiting is acceptance. 

Think of it this way, you’ll get out of it what you put into it. For example, I passed a bar after dinner posting a sign that read “Poke Stop found here”. It made me pause and see what I was in front of, and I made a mental note for next time. Now for someone who was thirsty and on the Pokemon hunt, their changes of spending time there just went up. It can be as simple as that. Maybe you want to advertise on your Facebook page? That expands your reach to not just passersby, but your social network.

If you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is, for some return on investment, purchase lure; that’ll attract Pokemon GO users in general. You’ll end up with lots of new business that way. You can also strategically schedule your lure for, say, Happy Hour! This gives users an incentive to not only visit, but stay and partake in dining specials.

As a play on the ‘restrooms are for customer use only’ courtesy, Kiyomizu in Santa Ana, California put up a sign that read, ‘Pokemon for paying customers only’. This stirred up some backlash, as people thought it was rude. Per owner Leonard Chan, “It was a joke at first. But some people looked like they were taking it seriously, so I yanked it. People need to relax.” The joke in all this is that users forget they can access Pokemon without ever stepping food inside his restaurant. User fail!

The simplest gesture could also be acknowledging to customers that you’re a designated Poke Stop (Lucky you!). Tell diners when they order, so it gives them something to do while their food is prepared. No signage required! Another zero cost option is updating your Yelp business listing to show that you’re a Poke Stop. Yes, there is now a search option for this feature. Hey, sometimes you want your cheeseburger with a side of fries and Poke Balls! We’re now waiting for someone to copyright the term “Poke Stop” and launch a seafood chain.

If you are open to both the gaming idea and the demographic that may walk through your door, you’ll be able to drum up business during your slower periods as well. Benefiting from Pokemon GO can be quick and easy, for the right business.

By Anne Marie Panoringan

Anne Marie judges people based on their handshake, and isn’t afraid to use “hella” in a conversation. She has a thirst for unsweetened iced tea, Spam musubi and cheese.

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