Market Your Restaurant with Pokemon GO

Either you’re totally hooked on this game, or you cringe at the zombie-like people who are playing it. Whichever side you’re 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’s all about the feeling of accomplishment on practically every city corner… which may just be in the location of your restaurant. There are many advantages to marketing your establishment with this phenomenal game that has become an international frenzy, surpassing the daily number of Twitter users in just a month. I have put together a few tips on marketing strategies that hone in on the wacky game of Pokemon GO!

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So what is it? You probably have an idea. Finding Pokémon. What are Pokémon? Apparently it is short for ‘pocket monsters’. You may also remember it as a nostalgic game from the 90’s. People are looking for these creatures all over the place in nooks, crannies, your home, the street, even at work. Simple as that. These digital creatures have kids playing on the streets again, and exploring their neighbourhoods. On their phones mind you, but, it’s a start. So let’s get into how to market it.

  1. Advertise the Pokémon you have found  (also know as ‘sightings’). Yes, this means you have to download the app and actually play but this can bring in some great business.  It’s like you’re playing a game and advertising at the same time. See below for some ideas on how to do it.


According to Eater some places in San Francisco are doing 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 you’re all about the game. Whatever the promotion is, targeting the players might have them come in the masses.

2. Name a dish of the week after a Pokémon. People love this stuff! Or, even better, make the items look like Pokémon balls or monsters.


A 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.

3. Lure them – literally. This is by far the best advantage of marketing the game. An important part of the game are PokéStops, which are points of interest that give out in-game freebies. allowing the player to advance in the game.

Here is the secret to taking advantage of a nearby PokéStop:

Let’s say you put in 5 dollars and buy a pack of lure modules. People playing the game will naturally gravitate toward the modules, since once they’re activated they will lure Pokémon to the PokéStop. People will move toward the lure because it helps them find more Pokémon. If the lure is blue, it is inactive. If it has cherry blossoms it is active. Want traffic during your slow hours of the day? Promote the lures at specific times.

4. Make specific offers. Like; ‘If you find a unique Pokémon in our restaurant, you get an app on us (get it… app? lol). 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. Say in the fine print that they must be a customer, to avoid giving away free food to non-customers.

5. Advertise your Pokémon sightings on Facebook and Twitter. Even have someone dress up as a Pokémon in your restaurant. It’s a bit silly but, depending on your restaurant and your brand, it might just work.

6. Just be in the know. Some crazy events are being hosted around the Pokémon craze, including Pokémon pub crawls (aka Pokémon Go Crawls). 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 Crawl in San Francisco — Source

7. Hone in on the experience of Pokémon. If you’re trying to elevate the experience of your restaurant and bring in customers, you need to know what they want. If you know you’re targeting a Pokémon frenzy type, then by all means take advantage.

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.

You can download the app from either Google Play Store or iTunes store.

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PokemonCheers, 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.