Leveraging The Power Of TikTok For Restaurants

By Jessica Rodrigues

It can seem that social media and marketing trends are constantly evolving while the restaurant industry overall is becoming increasingly competitive. Beyond running a full-fledged food service business, it may seem like managing multiple social media platforms is a full-time job, however, adding Tiktok to your marketing mix in a strategic way could open communication to new audiences and potentially boost takeout sales.

Tiktok is not a passing fad. Since its release in 2016, the app has grown significantly, beating Google as the internet’s most popular website in 2021 and now has over 1 billion users worldwide who spend an average of 30 minutes per day on the platform. These users are active and fully engaged as seen in a study conducted by MGH stating that, “an astonishing 36% of TikTok users have visited or ordered food from a restaurant after seeing a TikTok video about the restaurant”. The same study also found that 55% of users visited a restaurant from TikTok because the dishes appears appetizing, and 51% visited because of a unique menu item.

The 2023 social media benchmark study for the food industry conducted by The SocialInsider concludes that TikTok has an average engagement rate of 6.92% compared to: Instagram: average engagement rate of 0.96%; Facebook: average engagement rate of 0.38%; and Twitter: average engagement rate of 0.08%. These staggering statistics establish that there is an opportunity awaiting restauranteurs to increase visibility and the bottom line.

Source: MGH, 2023

Source: Social Insider, 2023

Source: MGH, 2023

Taking the TikTok leap may seem daunting, but it all starts with a quick download through the Apple App Store or Google Play. As a restaurant, ensure you create a free business account with your account name aligning with your restaurant name. If your name is already in use, best practices are to add the restaurant’s city such as ONERestaurantTO. Other tips include adding a high-resolution photo of your restaurant’s logo or façade, add location and cuisine type for your bio, be sure to add a contact email and link your profile to your website, online ordering or other social media platforms. Once your profile is set up, you are ready to post.

It is important to familiarize yourself with the app and its functionality. With TikTok, users post short videos that are traditionally accompanied by narration or music. A wonderful aspect of TikTok is that users appreciate authenticity so you should feel encouraged to post the real, delicious and fun side of your establishment. A few post examples can include launching a new menu item or takeout special, have your chef teach a cooking technique utilized in a dish, or give a virtual tour of your restaurant to highlight the full dining experience. Other TikToks can introduce staff, debut promotions, engage in popular TikTok trends, display seamless takeout options, customer reviews, host a TikTok live, and you can even work with influencers to create content. TikTok is a visual medium so make sure whatever you are posting or shooting is well lit and the food looks mouth-watering!

Frequency is key with regard to posting on TikTok. Once you are acquainted with the app and are knowledgeable about the in-app functionality as well as trends and hashtags; be sure to post regularly. TikTok offers a multitude of benefits including attracting new customers, connecting with wider audiences, generating higher engagement and ultimately increased ROI. TikTok is an opportunity to be playful with your branding and marketing so go ahead and have some fun!