From outside the restaurant where we ate dinner tonight. There was a Pokestop next door with lure constantly active. pic.twitter.com/cfQ05yIdl8— Steve Lubitz 🔜 PAX East (@WickedGood) July 11, 2016
We're calling it: this is the Summer of Pokémon Go. The augmented reality game allows players to catch Pokémon out and about — on the street, at the gym, at the grocery store — and it has inspired a full-fledged movement, which really shouldn't be too much of a surprise for millennial kids who grew up with the original game.
Since the game's meteoric rise in popularity, small businesses and restaurants have found a way to capitalize on it. For those unfamiliar with the game, Pokémon can be found at designated "Pokéstops" that are predetermined. It is then up to the players to go to that stop and catch their character. By chance, many restaurants also happen to be one of said stops — which means a lot of (presumably tired and hungry) players will be strolling through.
On Twitter, many players have noticed the game's effect on a restaurant's popularity.
WIFE: Want to get dinner at that restaurant?— Freddie Campion (@FreddieCampion) July 11, 2016
ME: (Trying to play it cool even though I know there will be tons of Pokemon there) Yeah. Maybe
Just saw 40+ people outside of a restaurant that is usually empty. Asked if they were there because it was a Pokemon gym. I was right.— Jacob Pebley (@Jacob_Pebley) July 10, 2016
Meanwhile, other savvy restaurateurs are taking matters into their own hands. By purchasing a so-called "lure" within the game — using real-life money — people are able to attract Pokémon characters to their desired location. Though the lure expires after about half an hour, it's still enough to attract some pretty rare Pokémon, which thereby attract obsessed players.
Some restaurants are even posting signage that promotes their acceptance of players, as well as offering discounts and gift cards for catching Pokémon while in the restaurant. To that effect, one start-up idea, Lure Squad, aims to figure out a way to "reward players and local businesses for taking a friendly stance toward Pokémon players."
So while Pokémon Go might be destroying phone batteries, productivity, and dinner conversations nationwide, it might also be great for small business, unbelievably so.