Market your restaurant with Pokémon Go

Posted by | July 21, 2016 | Restaurateur Resource | 2 Comments

Either your totally hooked to the game or you cringe at the zombie like people that are playing it. What ever side your on, I get it; I understand the nostalgia, I understand the excitement, I understand why people are playing. As the biggest mobile game in history; it is all about the feeling of accomplishment on practically every city corner. Which may just be in the location of your restaurant and why there is many advantages to marketing your establishment with this phenomenon game that has become an international frenzy. I have put together a few little tips on marketing strategies that really hone in on the wacky game of Pokémon Go!

So what is it? Unless you have been under a rock, you probably got an idea of what the game is about. Finding Pokémon. Yes, that’s it. What are Pokémon? Apparently it is short for ‘pocket monsters’. You also might know it as a nostalgic game from the 90’s. Regardless, it is about finding these little creatures all over the place in nooks, crannies, your home, the street, even at work. Simple as that. All of these digital creatures have magically got kids playing on the streets again. On their phones mind you but hey, it’s a start. So let’s get into how to market it.

Advertise the Pokémon you have found or ‘sightings’ as they call them. Having a sighting means, the potential of capturing it. Yes, this means you have to download the app and actually play but this can bring in some great business.  It’s like your playing a game and advertising at the same time, that sounds pretty sweet to me as long as it has been done right.

Pokemon Promos

Some places in San Francisco according to Eater are doing some great marketing with this: San Francisco Brewing Co. offered $5 pints for Pokemon trainers. Brass Tacks advertised Board specials for Pokemon crawlers. Rye gave $2 off with the code word “Pokémon.” Even if it is as simple as a limited time promotion, Pokémon goers will enjoy that your all about the game. Whatever the promotion is, targeting the players might have them come in the masses.

Make a dish of the week named after a Pokémon. People love this stuff! Or even better yet make the items look like Pokémon balls or monsters. It may just be a limited time thing but a ton of fun.

Pokemon FoodA Pokémon Freakshake at Maxwell’s // The Pikachu Burger from Tokyo’s Pikachu Cafe  // Melbourne’s Sisko Chocolate has introduced the ‘PokéSphere’ hot chococlate // Doughnut Time have introduced a Nutella-filled Poké Ball doughnut // One photo shows a Poké Ball pizza made with pepperoni, cheese and olives Source At Babo in Ann Arbor, PokéStops and a special Pokébrew beverage lure customers.

Lure them; literally. This is by far the best advantage of marketing the game. Part of the game has established PokéStops. These stops give out in-game freebies, the advantage is it allows the player to advance in the game. Here is the secret to taking advantage of a near-by PokéStop. Let’s say you put in 5 dollars and buy a pack of lure modules. People playing the game will naturally gravitate towards the modules as once they are activated they are set up to lure Pokémon to the PokéStop. So theoretically people will gravitate towards the lure because they can find more Pokémon. If the lure is blue it is inactive if it has cherry blossoms it is active. Want traffic during you slow hours of the day? Promote the lures at specific times.

Make specific offers regarding the game. Like; ‘If you find a unique Pokémon in our restaurant, you get an app on us (get it… app lol). Ok the odds of finding a unique Pokémon are random so it may be hard to measure and a bit of a risk but if they are ‘unique’ they may not pop up as often as the others. I would also state in fine print that they must be a customer to begin with, or else you are just giving away free food.

Advertise your Pokémon sightings on Facebook and Twitter. Even go to the extent of having someone dress up as a Pokémon in your restaurant. Ok that one is a bit silly but depending on your restaurant and your brand that might just work.

For the most part; be in the know. There is some crazy events being hosted around the Pokémon craze. Even Pokémon pub crawls (aka Pokémon Go Crawls) which seem to be the next big thing, just be ready if your pub is in line with one of the events. Don’t be stuck short staffed! See some of the upcoming Pokémon Go parties and events in Toronto here.

Pokémon Go! CrawlPokémon GO Crawl in San Francisco — Source

Hone in on the experience of Pokémon. If you are trying to elevate the experience of your restaurant and bring in customers, (because we know it is all about the traffic) you need to know what your customers want. If you know you are targeting a Pokémon frenzy type then by all means take advantage. Who knows how long this crazy trend will last as it may just be a fad. Don’t be like the Beyonce and Red Lobster marketing fallout.

Of course there is always some precautions to take here as you don’t want people just walking into your restaurant wanting to catch a Pokémon and leave without getting any business at all. But of course be nice and reason with them. These kids are just out to have fun, it’s like an easter egg hunt in the middle of the summer that runs for weeks and weeks on end. Oh man!

After all the game is about getting people together and connected! Take some notes from Studio Bar who is hosting a Pokemon Dance party on August 6th.

If you want to download the app go to either Google Play Store or iTunes store.


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Cheers, Ashley Howell

Graphic Designer, Ashley Howell provides creative services for restaurateurs and businesses in hospitality. If you would like a quote or have questions please get in touch today! Read the stories behind Avid Creative. Or get seasonal updates with the Avid Creative Newsletter.

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