Even though it’s been out for just a week, Pokemon GO is a global phenomenon.

Millions of players across the world in regions where the game has been released (and quite a few regions where it hasn’t) are scouring their cities looking for elusive Pokemon, collecting candies and challenging fellow players for ownership of their Pokemon Gyms.

Rumours abound that Pokemon GO will see release in South Africa this weekend – although don’t put too much stock in this as it may be just wishful thinking rather than anything based in fact. However, if you fancy playing the game ahead of its official SA release check out our guides on how to download it on your Android or iOS devices.

It’s not just players who are getting in on the action; businesses have started tapping up Pokemon GO to promote their wares. If you wanted proof of the fact South Africans have already started playing Pokemon GO, check out the raft of local businesses that have already started using the game in their promotions.

Restaurants and bars seem to be the businesses leading the charge locally. Drinking establishment Beerhouse and Steers fast food outlets have already started offering promotions based around the game – the Long Street Beerhouse has started tweeting that it has a couple of Pokemon for punters to catch in its venue.

Some bars have started hurling out lures – an in-game mechanic that ‘attracts’ a Pokemon to a certain area, which results in players converging on it – to advertise happy hours. There have even been Pokemon GO family walks organised – one such walk takes place at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens this weekend.

Given the amount of players currently enjoying Pokemon GO – the game has as many active users as Twitter – and the fact that it forces anyone playing it to get of their backside and explore the world a bit, businesses are missing a trick if they don’t take advantage of it. Here are a couple of ideas on how they could – you’re welcome and make cheques payable to htxt.africa.

Pay attention to Teams

In Pokemon GO players are divided along lines of Teams (such as Team Mystic, Team Instinct and Team Valor) and for some reason, they’re pretty loyal to their chosen faction. So why not take advantage of this by offering discounts to different teams for a limited time only? Knock 25 per cent off a meal for Team Mystic or 10 per cent off drinks for Team Instinct and watch them flock to your bar.

 Advertise your venue as a Gym

No, we don’t mean bring some weight machines into your restaurant. Gyms in Pokemon GO are areas where players can battle one another with their collected Pokemon. Not only that, victors can claim ‘ownership’ of gyms, leaving Pokemon around to guard them until another Team challenges them. If you’re lucky enough to have your venue situated on a Gym site it’s worth promoting it and hosting Gym battles as players will hang out for quite some time battling each other for supremacy. Hell, get your staff involved; build your own Team and challenge all comers.

Advertise rare Pokemon

If you have a rare Pokemon at your business, use it in much the same way as you would a Gym. Advertise your rare beast’s existence and let paying customers know they can help themselves… after they settle the bill.

Offer Pokemon Go players recharging services

If you’re a bar, gym (or Gym), restaurant or any other business that depends on foot traffic, why not offer Pokemon GO players the opportunity to recharge their phones? The game eats through battery life like no one’s business and players may want to have a snack, drink or browsing break if you allow them to make sure low battery life doesn’t stop them hunting down the virtual beasties.