Pokémon mania is sweeping America, and even the nation's restaurants aren't immune. The augmented reality app Pokémon Go, which allows people to capture the virtual animals in the world around them using their smartphone's GPS and camera has become an instant smash hit, driving players to their local streets—and businesses—to track down and catch a Pikachu or Charizard.
Designated training spots—known as Pokémon Gyms—are often flooded with gamers hoping to up their skills within the virtual Poké world, and oftentimes these gyms are contained within local venues, including restaurants and cafes. Now, the businesses housing these hubs of Pokémon activity are experiencing floods of customers looking to catch 'em all, and rack up a food bill, too.
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According to Business Insider, many of these restaurants are attempting to cash in on their prime Pokémon real estate by advertising the presence of a gym at their location. "If you didn't know, The Fat Grass is a Pokémon gym, so come try your luck!" one Texas restaurant wrote on their Facebook Page. The Fat Grass even presented a special deal just for users of the app, saying: "Pledge allegiance to your team with Valor, Mystic, and Instinct inspired kamikaze shots for $2!"
The high-end Chinese restaurant Tanghui in Sydney, Australia also took to Facebook to promote itself as a hotspot, writing that they were going to "activate" a "Lure Module" for Pokémon in front of their business in order to "help #attract more #Pokemon!"
Users have also taken to social media to weigh in on how the game is influencing their restaurant choices. "When you pick which restaurant you want to eat at just so you can be near a Lure Module," player @ProSyndicate tweeted. Another user, @artsyomni, tweeted that "Pokémon GO is forcing me to change my restaurant habits. Pokemon GO is a force of nature..."
Restaurant workers have also noted the frenzy over the game in their places of work. "We actually got a review complaining that there was no Pokémon in the restaurant," tweeted @ericaaaburt. According to one Twitter user, a chat with a restaurant owner revealed that their business had increased since becoming a Pokémon stopping point.
And as the game continues to grow in popularity and gain more users, there's no saying how much Pokémon Go could potentially impact the businesses randomly selected as the game's hotspots.