Why your restaurant should embrace Pokémon GO.

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Ever wonder why people seem to be mindlessly staring at their smartphone and walking at the same time lately? Well it’s because it’s the app phenomenon that’s been such a big hit that Nintendo’s shares jumped 25%. And that’s called Pokemon GO (iTunes / Google Play). And if you’re running a restaurant, a commercial kitchen, or even a food truck–this is an extraordinary opportunity.

What is Pokémon GO?

In short, the app allows people to catch Pokemon based on your actual location. Whether you’re in your local neighborhood or at a restaurant, you can catch Pokemon essentially around the world. And, depending on the location data provided by people from the developer’s previous game, Ingress, various points-of-interests are placed either as Pokestops (where you can collect more Pokeballs [to catch more Pokemon] and items), or a Gym (where people can battle their Pokemon to become a Gym leader, or so to say). And for those reasons, is why you need to capitalize on this app sensation.

And if your restaurant or commercial business DOES register as a Pokestop or a Pokemon Gym, then you have a fantastic opportunity here.

You can potentially get a whole new audience base.

If you’ve been meaning to serve people whom you’ve never served before, then here you go. If your restaurant is fortunate enough to be a Pokestop and/or a Gym, then you have an opportunity to market the players to your restaurant. In fact, some restaurants are already taking advantage of this. This not means a potential increase in foot traffic, but also a possibly dramatic increase in social media presence. But of course, don’t just let people catch Pokemon and go, and definitely make sure you incentivize your Pokemon GO players into patrons as well.

The app is already influencing restaurants’ reputations.

You’d think it’s a little silly to have people leaving reviews just because your restaurant didn’t have any Pokemon, but in fact that is already happening. Unless you have a rock-hard and dedicated customer base, keep track of your online reputation and see if your customers are interested in having your business as a gym or a stop.

It sets the tone for the future of the smartphone audience.

If Pokemon is one of the first franchises to launch this AR (Augmented reality)-based game (the app uses your smartphone’s camera to simulate that you’re catching a Pokemon in real life), then think of other media franchises that could use this opportunity. Whether your restaurant is a virtual Star Trek Starbase or even a racetrack in a Mario Kart app, expect Pokemon: GO to change how you market to digital audiences.