How to Use Pokemon GO as part of your restaurant marketing campaign

Pokemon GO became an international cultural phenomenon this summer, and it’s still possible to leverage the popularity of this game as part of a broader mobile marketing campaign. In fact, one local Etobicoke restaurant, The Fish House, has already adapted many of the features of Pokemon GO to build foot traffic at both lunch and dinner time.

What gave this Etobicoke-area restaurant the inspiration to try out Pokemon GO was actually a suggestion from one of the young waitresses. She works part-time at the restaurant and weekend at EtobicokeAutoGlass – local shop She saw that a lot of her friends were playing the game in the Etobicoke area and that people were walking right by the restaurant with their mobile phones, hoping to catch new Pokemon in the area.

What this restaurant did was brilliant – the owners recognized the social aspect of the game and set up special discounts and promotions for team members. As part of Pokemon GO, players compete as part of one of three different teams – Team Mystic, Team Instinct, and Team Valor. Among players, these are known as the yellow team, the blue team and the red team. So, just as a restaurant might advertise specials for sports teams, work teams, or school teams – why not organize promotions for Pokemon GO teams?

The next step the restaurant took was dropping “lures” to bring in Pokemon players. The basic idea here is that a bait can be used to attract Pokemon characters for a period of about 30 minutes. If there are increased chances to catch these characters, you’re going to have a line of Pokemon GO players converging on the area as well. Why not set up lures near the restaurant, to entice players to stop by?

Another key step of this proximity marketing campaign was to leverage the restaurant’s location further. The restaurant did this in two ways – it heavily promoted the types of rare Pokemon characters caught near the restaurant (including the very rare Pikachu!) and it encouraged players to take in-game selfies with the Pokemon characters in front of the restaurant.

The restaurant’s employees were asked to see if there were any Gyms nearby, and as it turns out, there was a Gym right around the corner. That gave plenty of momentum to attract additional Pokemon GO players as potential patrons, who also happened to be engaged in those Gym battles.

These lessons can be generalized for just about any local business. Even if you haven’t tried to play Pokemon GO yourself, it’s possible to see the marketing opportunities involved. There are plenty of people going out and walking around as they play Pokemon GO, and they are going to be a lot more interested in stopping by your restaurant, café or other business if the virtual world happens to overlap with the reality. If you’ve set up Wi-Fi, that makes it easier to encourage this behavior.

Overall, there are millions of people playing Pokemon GO every day, and these people represent a great potential source of walk-in foot traffic. By crafting a comprehensive Pokemon GO strategy – even if it’s just posting Pokemon GO updates on Facebook now and then and setting up a strong Wi-Fi signal  – you can become part of the global cultural phenomenon and potentially attract a valuable new demographic – the 18-to-25 crowd – to your business.