Chain stores and franchise stores


I have a question

General businesses that are not rooted in the community, such as chain stores and franchise stores

What is a country, state, County Government, Subcounty General Purpose Local Government, Municipal Government, city, borough, town, hamlet?

To what extent would it be a chain store or franchise store that is not rooted in the region?

Please tell us your opinion


  • Theisman-INGTheisman-ING Posts: 1,001 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Both a chain store or a local business may be eligible, it all depends if they meet criteria.

    There is no "its a chain so must be rejected" , just as there is no "its a local business, instant 5*"

  • Eneeoh-PGOEneeoh-PGO Posts: 669 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2021

    While these words are very precise and specific, I think Niantic uses them to illustrate concepts that are ‘fuzzy’ and subject to emotional sentiments.

    An example of a generic business franchise that is not rooted in your community: McDonalds hamburger restaurant. These are found in populous places around the world, and rarely give the residents a sense of belonging.

    However, if there is a small chain of notable Soba noodle stands that are found only in your town or prefecture, they may engender strong positive feelings amongst the local people.

    I think these feelings are the crux of Niantic’s rules, rather than a bunch of definitions from the dictionary.

  • Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 3,428 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Niantic's most recent criteria allow some chains/franchises to be eligible if they are local hotspots. Casey posted an excellent clarification of this here: I'll save you the click and quote what he wrote:

    Hey folks,

    I wanted to hop in here with some additional guidance here. When it comes to local businesses, it's true that we have "opened the doors" a bit wider to encourage nominators to submit local hotspots and reviewers to be more open to small communities' local hotspots that may also be a chain.

    Deciding whether a location is generic or not is really up to the reviewer and their understanding of the impact of the location to the community. The burden is on nominators to include enough details in the supporting text to reinforce why a possibly generic / chain location is actually important to their community.

    To provide a personal example, the town I grew up in is very small and doesn't have a lot of small businesses but we do have a Starbucks where EVERYONE goes to gather and catch up and grab a coffee. I would take visitors there as a highlight of a tour of my town (no joke). As a nominator, that context is important to include so that the reviewer understands that this particular location is more than a normal Starbucks.

    Hope that helps!

  • RedsoxMark-PGORedsoxMark-PGO Posts: 52 ✭✭✭

    That is very difficult to review though. If everyone starts saying their chain cafe is important to their local community, how do I know if that is really true? Do I just accept it as long as they say enough about how important it is, and reject if they don't?

  • Gendgi-PGOGendgi-PGO Posts: 3,502 Ambassador

    I would really like to see a nomination for a Starbucks that @NianticCasey-ING thinks would be acceptable & actually approved.

  • Maxyme99-PGOMaxyme99-PGO Posts: 954 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would say it's strongly depends on location and POI density, as it was a bit explained in Hosette-ING quote: If you get nomination of chain-restaurant/shop like Starbucks from a big city, where there is many POIs (and some of them are restaurants/cafe), then it's definetly 1* for this Starbucks, as it can't really be local hotspot with so many others cafe visible as POI, here it's just generic chain cafe.

    But if you get nomination of Starbucks in a really small town, where is almost none POIs, and you can't see any other cafes as POIs (or you see 1 other restaurant/cafe), then you should consider if this Starbucks can be local hotspot in this place (and look at what submitter wrote about it too, it might help with judge) - for this small town it really can be a local hotspot, and it might be accepted - maybe it won't be a 5* nomination, but for sure might be 3-4* nomination, as for a small town like it Starbuck really might be important place that can be fine POI.

    You must judge looking at other POIs nearby and location if any chain/franchise can be accepted in this specific place, and it will be different for every nomination like that. I know it might seems difficult to review, but with some time it should be ok :)

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Recently, some people about 100km north of my area got a 7-Eleven Fuel Station in. An actual 7-Eleven, probably one of the most recogniseable brands in the world. It didn't really look so special, but that's what reviewers think. But I also got an extremely popular global Indian vegetarian restaurant chain in my area, it was their first restaurant expansion into Australia and is very recogniseable by the local Indian community.

    I personally would like to see a non-sponsored Starbucks as a wayspot, whether Casey will nominate or arrange for it to be nominated. Also, the example in the Wayfarer criteria of the Salads Up in Madison, WI is actually not a wayspot. It's interesting how they have an example that is actually not currently in-game, but the Italian Restaurant just a block down south is.

  • Nflder68-PGONflder68-PGO Posts: 1

    I have an issue, live in a fairly rural area that has a few coffee shops, Tim Hortons. Its is a large franchise BUT is a major meeting place for all, from the young to old yet NONE get accepted yet I see Starbucks all over in my travels that have stops. What the hell is up with that??? Tim Hortons is Canada's version of Starbuck's

  • Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 3,428 ✭✭✭✭✭

    As always, something like this is going to take some strong salesmanship from the submitter to explain why it would qualify.

  • Gendgi-PGOGendgi-PGO Posts: 3,502 Ambassador

    Challenge accepted 😆🤔

    But for real, I halfway convinced myself a year or so ago that a Starbucks could be eligible as a "social gathering location."

    A Starbucks, Tim Horton's, even McDonald's can be very important gathering locations - I had a birthday party when I was younger at a McD's. They'll sometimes have separate lounge areas for small events. They usually offer free WiFi which helps connect people to one another.

    Previous "clarifications" that struck down playgrounds simply for being in McDonald's probably doesn't help, though, especially with those who don't see new updates.

  • Oakes1923-PGOOakes1923-PGO Posts: 419 ✭✭✭✭

    If someone goes to the trouble to nominate a chain café with a well thought out submission, I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt. I try to assume that folks submitting aren't lying unless something else about the nomination looks off. At the end of the day does a stop at a Tim Horton's help or hurt the local communities that are playing these games?

    Also Niantic provides some guidance on how we all should be rating these. Obvious no 1*, unknown/ no opinion is a 3*, obvious yes is a 5*. So if a reviewer is not certain that something is in fact a popular coffee shop or a hyper local watering hole, as it may be described, they've directed folks to give it a three. I feel most folks go with the 1* however.

    I wish more people would follow this guideline but Niantic has set up a reward system that is counter to that. There has been some interesting external research by folks using photospheres that shows it only takes around 5-10 rejections to get something booted while it takes 20-30 approvals for something to go through. This may be only antidotal evidence based on one groups efforts but if true shows how easily it is to get something rejected and gain an agreement vs giving something 3* or even a 5*. If you are agreement hunting the current system lends itself to reward those rejecting.

    I think most of the recent discussions and disagreements in these forums can be traced back to the current review system. Calling it broken may be a stretch but even Niantic has conceded that they need to revamp the review process. That change cant come fast enough.

  • RedsoxMark-PGORedsoxMark-PGO Posts: 52 ✭✭✭

    Good points.

    There is also the issue of agreements. I want to give the benefit of the doubt, I also want to have a good rating. As I understand it, even a 3 might be taken as my voting "approval". If I go out on a limb and give the chain cafe a 3*, and as expected most reviewers give it 1*, then I think this reflects badly on my rating. It gets rejected, and I don't get an agreement. I try to do what I think is right, but this also is on my mind when I review.

  • Oakes1923-PGOOakes1923-PGO Posts: 419 ✭✭✭✭

    Yup, its the double edge sword that Niantic has created.

    The issue is none of these are issues on their own, but when you mix them together it makes for a perfect storm and a broken system. Upgrades are good as they reward reviewers for hard work. The review system seems straight forward for the most part. The criteria from Niantic seems fine and is updated several times during the year. The rating for reviewers is probably a good idea. But when mixed together they have really created a toxic environment where the actions of a few lead to the community as a whole reviewing with poor habits. This leads to standards that run counter to the guidelines that Niantic puts out.

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