Think about your favourite places. Most of mine are in Melbourne or Sydney. You'd love to go there everyday, but it's just not possible. Instead it's the coffee shop on the corner, the quick bite from a nearby café. These places don't become your regular haunts, unless they're convenient. You'd don't love them, they're just there.
There's no incentive to checkin because you simply don't care about the business. It's not an inspiration, it's not your moment of peace from the world, it's not a place where you love to take your friends.
Unfortunately, this is most businesses. Some try for uniqueness and fail, some just don't care.
This is where I see the potential for forward thinking (but otherwise ordinary businesses) to really take advantage of location-based social networking.
Not every business can afford character - it can take a fiendishly difficult combination of staff, decor, location and product to create a business personality that people relate to.
But everyone relates to savings and specials. If you can't be unique, be relentless in offering your customers an incentive to come back.
There's a little café on Toorak Rd in Melbourne, Krakatoa. They have an extremely ordinary dining room, packed with tables and mismatched cutlery. Patrons share the sauce bottles. But they offer the best value quality breakfast in town. $6.50 gets you a generous serve of eggs, sausage, bacon, tomato and toast. It's not the fine experience or the ambience that draws the capacity crowds every day. It's the low price and quick service. Even celebrities aren't immune: I regularly see Rob Sitch and other denizens of the nearby Channel Ten offices ensconced in their morning papers.
Krakatoa's incentive is the price and speed.
Foursquare gives every business the opportunity to compete, rewarding loyalty - or even just an ad-hoc visit.
I believe this represents an enormous opportunity for businesses and consumers alike, a virtuous cycle that just needs a few businesses to get on board and some customers to grab themselves a deal!