The augmented reality game was launched in the US and Australia, and released in the UK last Thursday (14 July). It is available to download on smartphones and uses the device’s camera to show players where they can 'catch' Pokémon in their neighbourhood.
- Click here to find out about Pokémon Go pub crawls
Marketing manager at Maxwell’s, Anthony Knight, advised venues on how to benefit from the new gaming trend: “As well as benefiting from being a PokéStop and dropping lures, businesses can also use the app as a gateway to engage with their customers directly, requesting information on the types of virtual Pokémon caught at or near the location.
“This information, particularly the 'rarity' of the virtual Pokémon captured at their site, can easily be deployed as an advertising tool. Restaurants can also brand themselves as a hot spot or potential meeting place for users.”
A PokeStop is a place where users can collect eggs and Poké balls, which allow them to catch more Pokémon.
One employee at Maxwell’s has been given the responsibility of dropping lures to attract virtual Pokémon to the Covent Garden area and is spending up to £100 a day on purchases within the game to pull players towards the restaurant.
General manager of Maxwell’s, Christian Southcott, said he didn’t know anything about the game until Knight told staff to download it.
He added: “Over the weekend, we’ve had queues of people trying to get into the restaurant, standing outside and running in asking us where they can find a Snorlax and I had to call extra staff in to cover the surge of customers.”
The bar and grill recently gained fame by introducing Freakshakes to the UK and has launched Pokémon-themed shakes off the back of the success of the game along with cocktails and doughnuts for gamers to enjoy while Pokémon hunting.
Pokémon Go party
The Covent Garden-based venue is also to host a ‘Pokémon Go Lure Party’ with 400 people already confirmed to attend.
Knight said the reaction to the game was incredible and spotted at least a dozen people in Covent Garden capturing Pokémon in the space of five minutes.
He added: “Working in hospitality you have to react quickly to new trends and fads and I had a feeling this could be a winner for us. Never in my life did I think Pokémon would form part of my marketing strategy but it is great fun and allows us to engage creatively with our customers and new customers.
“Many employers are banning employees from using the game but we are actively encouraging our staff to download the app, engage with customers using the game while in the restaurant and have a bit of fun!"