Sure, it’s mildly amusing to earn the title of “mayor” of my local coffee shop. But a free cookie? Now you really have my attention.
I recently gave the mobile app Foursquare another try and have been enjoying it. If you are traveling to a new city or just want to find new shops or places to grab a bite in your own community, you should try it out.
The Foursquare team has revamped the app that will show you restaurants, stores or attractions in the vicinity. You can tap your smartphone screen to “check in” to a specific store.
Sometimes restaurants or shops offer specials to someone checking in for the first time. Others will reward you for stopping by multiple times. Maybe you can earn a free appetizer on your fourth visit, for example.
And yes, should you check in frequently and regularly at a coffee shop or other location, you just might be dubbed the Foursquare Mayor of that spot. Sometimes the mayor is entitled to special discounts or other benefits. Usually, though, I have found it is only about the glory of sporting that honorific.
Glory only goes so far. I checked out the check-in craze a few years ago, but eventually found I wasn’t opening my Foursquare app. Not many local stores were offering specials or other benefits so I moved on.
But I began trying it again recently and have found that the app is new and improved. And many more cafes and other stores are offering specials that can provide a discount if you “check in” and show the screen of your smartphone to a server.
Even more valuable than the discounts, however, are the tips.
Patrons or managers of the restaurants and shops can leave recommendations. Maybe a tip will give a shoutout for an item on the menu that is particularly tasty. Or it could be a brief review of the restaurant.
During a road trip earlier this summer I stopped in a small town I had never visited before. I opened Foursquare, explored the area and was surprised to find an interesting bistro. Recommendations left as Foursquare tips helped me choose among a couple of restaurants. It was a great lunch.
And yes, I checked in at a local coffee shop not long ago and found that they had a special for first-time visitors. A free cookie of your choice.