By Kavita Sabharwal
Pokémon Go, the tremendously popular augmented reality game, was officially released in Canada on July 17. Since then, sidewalks and public spaces near PokéStops have been often overrun by kids and adults alike, all with their heads bent over their phones, trying to catch ‘em all.
This craze that has been sweeping the nation is showing no signs of slowing down. News outlets have been regularly reporting on this cultural phenomenon and the dangers associated with playing the game (falling off a cliff being one of them). They’ve also mentioned a new trend of stores and restaurants placing Pokémon ‘Lures’ near or within their establishments. While the main purpose of using this option is to catch Pokémon characters, an excellent side effect is also luring in potential clientele in real life.
What are Lures, you may ask? The Lure module is an option you can use while playing Pokémon Go that will attract various Pokémon characters to a set location for 30 minutes at a time. The cost within the game is 100 Pokécoins (the game currency) per Lure module, but it can be difficult to find Lures within the game, meaning you may need to spend real money on them.
You may be wondering how you can capitalize on the popularity of this game to bring diners into your establishment. Follow these tips on using Pokémon Go to bring customers to your restaurant.
- After you download the Pokémon Go application on your smartphone or tablet (for free!), you must determine whether there is a PokéStop near your establishment. You can only use a Lure module at a PokéStop, so this is a very important step you should take before spending real money on the game.
- If your establishment is near a PokéStop but you don’t have any Pokécoins, purchase a package. This can cost as little as $1.39 CAD for 100 Pokécoins, but buying a larger package usually saves you money. Remember, that $1.39 will only last you half an hour. If you plan on attracting guests to your restaurant, you’ll want to drop Lures every half hour for at least a few hours each day to keep your tables full.
- To purchase Lures, open the app. Tap the red PokéBall at the bottom of your screen and select “shop.” Here, you can purchase Pokécoins to buy a Lure module.
- You are more likely to get several gaming visitors if there is more than one PokéStop near you. A PokéStop appears as a blue circle on your map view that, when tapped, spins to deliver a description of your location and, if you’re lucky, bonuses to your ‘bag’.
- If there is more than one PokéStop near you, drop Lures at any that are placed on main or busy streets to take advantage of the guaranteed increase in foot traffic in those locations.
- To set a Lure, you must be physically close to the PokéStop you’re setting it at. Once you get close enough to a PokéStop location, select it and click the pill-shaped white oval near the top of your screen. Then select the Lure module on the next screen.
- You’ll know your Lure module is working because the PokéStop will show a cloud of cherry blossom petals surrounding it. It’s now attracting Pokémon for the next 30 minutes. It’s best to sit back and relax at this point!
- While there are benefits to using Lures during your busiest time of day, don’t disregard the extra foot traffic they can bring in during slower periods.
- The benefit of using Lures over other modules in the game that are designed to attract Pokémon is that Lures are a community item, meaning they work for everyone in the vicinity, not just for the user themselves. That’s why they’re an ideal addition to your restaurant marketing strategy.
To capitalize on using Lures, consider offering specials to guests playing Pokémon Go. For any guest that wants to stay and use your Lures, offer a special meal deal that includes a food item and drink if they are playing Pokémon. Or, just use Lures at several PokéStops in your area so guests will want to sit back and grab a beer on your patio and relax while catching all the Pokémon they can.
You have quite a few options, all of which allow you to cash in on this cultural phenomenon. Just remember – your guests’ goal is to catch ‘em all, so anything that helps out their cause to become a Pokémon Master would surely be greatly appreciated.
Kavita Sabharwal is the online editor and social media community manager of RestoBiz.