As a child of the 90s, and the token Millennial here at The Connect Group, I can appreciate the recent uproar that has been surrounding Pokémon Go. Pokémon Go, a mobile game that has already surpassed Tinder in daily active users, and is on the heels of popular apps like SnapChat and Google Maps, uses augmented reality to take over actual reality. Not only has Pokémon Go taken over the gaming world, but it has also had major effects on restaurants and small business all around the world by allowing them to gain revenue and draw in customers through Pokémon Go incentives.

First, I should explain how this game works. The main, and really only point of Pokémon Go, is to “Catch 'Em All.” All over the world there are “PokéStops” placed at different landmarks, which allow people to not only collect important items in the game, but also collect rare Pokémon. People travel far and wide to find these stops in hopes of catching as many Pokémon as possible. Another essential part of the game is using “lures.”  Lures attract wild Pokémon to PokéStops, and simultaneously seem to be attracting customers to restaurants. Restaurant owners all over have been spending real money to purchase lures in hopes that they will incentivize Pokémon Go players to come in, catch Pokémon, and ultimately sit down to eat at their restaurant, café, or bar.

According the New York Post, a New York pizzeria called L’inizio Pizza Bar saw sales sky rocket  75 percent after the GM spent just $10 to have a dozen Pokémon lured to the location.         And, L'inizio isn't the only restaurant reporting this kind of sales increase after jumping on the Pokémon Go train. It may seem a little ridiculous that businesses would spend real money to attract fake Pokémon, but those who have decided to embrace the trend are not regretting it. 

As Michael Koziol, president of Huge Café expressed to Bon Appetit, “We eagerly await the lunch rush, when a gaggle of workers from the 13th floor of the bank across the street will drop by, catch some Pokémon at the café, and probably leave with a few extra coffees and pastries.”

Because of its innovative use of augmented reality, Pokémon Go is not a movement I see dying down anytime soon so rather than getting frustrated with the hundreds of obsessed players who are glued to their phones trying to catch ‘em all, restaurants and small business might as well embrace the little monsters, start thinking creatively and come up with the best ways to take advantage of this latest craze and stay ahead of the game. 

Posted by Kate Moelis