Any exceptions to fast food restaurants being “generic”?

Recently had a discussion where I was told if a fast food restaurant was in a small town (1,000 people or so), then it should be accepted as it wouldn’t be generic. Are there any official guidelines to address this? I’ve always assumed that they would still be generic and to deny.

When reviewing, if the “Are any of these locations a duplicate of this wayspot?” map shows no wayspots nearby - then the fast food restaurant could the only place in town to meet up and socialize. So I might accept it, especially if the nominator made a good case that it was as “hot” of a “hot spot” that you’d find around there.

Or if it was some kind of landmark, like the very first store, or where a Civil Rights sit-in happened in the 1960s, or something.

Or if this particular location is stellar at something unique.


Yeah, it all depends on the use of the place.

For example, a Pizza Hut is a rather generic business. But in a small town, it might still have a buffet. Maybe it’s the place all the local sports teams go after games because they are welcoming to the kids and families. Maybe they hold saturday morning breakfast buffets for older veterans.

There just needs to be some reasonable proof that this fast food place adds aomething to the community.


Unfortunately, both the community and Niantic (objection) rejected a restaurant that is unique in the area. It is actually a gathering place and a meeting place for young and old. It’s a shame. Niantic itself said that popular restaurants and cafes can be good wayspots. It is a restaurant with Greek & European cuisine and is unique in our area.

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For restaurants, they typically need to meet the great place to socialize criterion. So in some small towns, it might be that a chain restaurant is indeed a place where people gather to socialize, often because there aren’t many options. People go there to socialize/hangout together.
So it’s not just that the restaurants in a small town therefore it’s going to be automatically accepted. Rather, in a small town, it’s more likely that a chain restaurant could be a great place to socialize where people hang out. So if you can come up with evidence that it is a great place to hang out in your community that you need to do. Things like regular community meetings, social clubs, other things mentioned above can help you make that argument.

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The description and supporting info provided for a chain restaurant in a small town need to convince reviewers and Niantic that it is a great place to be social at.

Even with a unique, locally-owned business/restaurant, you can’t just say that it’s a popular place in your area; there needs to be more provided that it is a popular place and meets criteria. I live near a local dinar that’s locally-owned, family friendly, makes their food fresh and bakes their own desserts, and has been around for over 40 years. It’s a great place to grab a meal at anytime of the day, or just stop by for some coffee and dessert. I made sure to highlight many of these aspects in the description, and others in the supporting info, and it was approved by the community.

Basically, with restaurants and businesses, it’s all about how you sell them to the community and Niantic. I know not everyone has done sales work, but knowing a little about selling has seemed to help with my nominations.

There is now some good information on generic/non-generic businesses, including chain businesses in rural areas, here in the forums and in the help center.

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They used…hyperlocal… Please put me out of my misery.

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Does that mean only 10 people know about it?

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Okay so for an “official” response, there was this:

NianticCasey-INGNianticCasey-ING Posts: 538Niantic › admin

November 2020

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!

Note the date of that was 2020. fwiw, I will consider chain restaurants. But I have never seen one nominated that convinced me. It is on the submitter to convince the reviewer - community or Niantic.


Yep, exactly. Convince us with your submission.

Getting descriptions and/or supporting info just saying “local restaurant” isn’t very convincing to reviewers to accept, and, depending on the info provided on appeal, may not convince Niantic either.

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Sometimes there can be things inside of a “generic” restaurant that may be an eligible POI, like a permanent piece of cultural art or a mural on the wall hand painted by a local artist, or a unique photo op spot that promotes creativity and socializing. I’ve seen and accepted some of those nominations before even though they were inside a generic business, but the waypoint nomination is not the business itself but something unique that it houses that is worth exploring or showing others (and not just a framed stock photo of a burger or whatever, but like an actual interesting piece of art, for example).


Oh that is too bad. I had the ML approve a local restaurant that is along a popular water walkway with great views and local seafood. Maybe try and change it up a bit and resubmit it?

Artwork or unique signage at a restaurant could help it qualify. Not corporate art like one might seen in every other Taco Bell, but if there’s something truly special that could qualify. If it’s a chain restaurant in a rural area that has become an established part of the community (maybe they host trivia or karaoke night, are a popular spot for parties, or something like that) you could show that in the supplemental information section. Decades ago I lived in a little town that had an Applebee’s and they hosted weekly trivia nights and the place would be packed. If I were trying to nominate that today, I would look for a flyer/advertisement for the trivia night and include that in the supporting information, either as a link or in a photo collage.

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Now I’m curious about the text that is supposed to have no context

Dieses Restaurant mit griechischen/europäischen Spezialitäten ist ein echter Geheimtipp und auch ein Treffpunkt für jung und alt. Überhaupt ist es das einzige Restaurant in Maudach, welches seinen Bewohnern griechische Küche bietet.

Translation in English: This restaurant with Greek/European specialties is a real insider tip and also a meeting place for young and old. In fact, it is the only restaurant in Maudach that offers its residents Greek cuisine.

That’s really broad and probably that’s why the Niantic reviewer has chosen to not accept it

The phrasing “Jung und Alt” is a bit, uh, unnecessary?

Being the only greek restaurant in town can be a positive point, but I would suggest to stronger highlight what it makes stand out that it is a go-to place, for example what is the house’s speciality?

Also, I took a quick look at the ratings on Google, some.people say you can get stuff there typical for the region?

Maybe expand on these points and resubmit then

I think emotions are involved too. If someone loves Boba tea, they’ll see a boba nomination and get all happy, and probably pass it. Or a bakery. Or brewery. Or Victorian Postbox. Other reviewers see those places as all the same, generic, not great to explore or be social. So as a nominator, try to explain to people who see it as generic - why do you think is it not generic?

Just being locally owned doesn’t make it unique. Why would I drive past 5 other versions to get to that one? Or, if it’s the only one in 25 miles - say so.

Just saying a restaurant is locally-owned and sells food is not enough. Millions of places sell food. Billions of places sell pizza. :rofl: As reviewer I’ll often google the place to see if it’s special, but as nominator I wouldn’t depend on reviewers to do the work.