Over the past few years, TikTok has quickly become the social media platform du jour.
Once seen as a platform for dancing teenagers, the app has now become a global hub for education, exploration, and entertainment, in categories ranging from fashion to food and everything in between.
TikTok is an excellent tool for small restaurants looking to up their marketing game. With over one billion monthly users, TikTok can help your business reach new customers and compete with major brands.
Promoting your restaurant on TikTok has the potential for more than just a virtual sensation. It can directly benefit your bottom line! In fact, a whopping 38% of TikTok users have visited or ordered from a restaurant after seeing a video about it.
Whether you’re looking to get started on the app or boost your TikTok presence, we’re here to help!
Now that you know TikTok can influence real-world purchasing decisions, ask yourself: How can I reach new customers with it?
Start by identifying your target audience. Write out everything you can think of about their demographic: locations, ages, interests, etc. Next, research the kind of media this target audience gravitates towards.
When creating your TikTok account, your goal is to land on your target audiences’ “For You” page – a curated feed of new videos they might be interested in.
Your videos should be similar to those that your potential customers already know. Scout out what your competitors are posting and analyse what’s been successful for their accounts.
Staying up-to-date with the latest TikTok trends is an essential element of strategic marketing on the app. While it can feel overwhelming to keep up with the shifting tides of TikTok trends, songs, and vernacular, it’s also fun! Chances are someone on your team already loves using the app, so make sure to check in with your staff as you plan out a social media strategy.
Other important elements of a successful TikTok strategy include:
Engaging with your audience. Whether replying to a comment with a video, utilising the Q&A feature, or participating in discussions – boosting your engagement rate with interactive content is essential!
Niche content. Get specific! Would a certain ingredient in your favourite dish surprise your audience? TikTok is a great place to highlight your restaurant’s creativity.
Hashtags. Hashtags are a simple, effective way to increase visibility and engagement on TikTok. Utilise a combination of broad (i.e. #food) and specific (i.e. your restaurant’s name/city) hashtags for the most exposure.
Music. Music and sound are crucial in creating effective TikToks. Nearly 90% of TikTok users shared that sound is important to the app’s experience. Using viral songs and sounds is an easy way to land on your potential customers' “For You” pages.
1. Once you’ve downloaded the TikTok app and created an account, tap the “+” sign on the bottom of your screen.
2. Choose the video length you want by moving the toggle on the bottom of the screen from right to left. Your video can be shorter than the length you select, but not longer.
3. If you’re using a pre-existing video from your camera roll, tap “Upload” on the bottom-right. There, you can select as many videos as you’d like.
4. If you’re creating a video in the TikTok app, tap the large red button at the bottom of your screen to begin recording.
5. You can add audio before or after filming your video. To do so, click the “Add Sound” button at the top of your screen. You’ll see a list of playlists, including “Recommended”, “Viral Sounds”, and “Your Favourites”, where you can save sounds you plan to use.
6. Once your video is complete, tap the right “Check” button on the bottom right of your screen, then tap “Next”.
7. Add your caption and any relevant hashtags, and post!
Here’s a roundup of our top restaurant TikTok ideas. Remember, the most successful TikToks are tied to current trends — but since they’ll likely shift by the time we’ve published this post, we’ll keep it general. After all, the algorithm is always on!
1. Make a “storytime” video introduction. Out of all the social media platforms, TikTok is unique in rewarding authentic, unfiltered content. To start, create a TikTok to introduce yourself! Tell a story about how and why you got into the restaurant industry. Customers love to support businesses that they can see the people behind!
2. Food montage. Take up-close and overhead videos of your most popular dishes. Add closed captions to highlight the name of each dish, and pair the video with a trending sound!
3. Staff shout-outs. Turn your restaurant into a TikTok reality show with staff superlatives! Ask each staff member a “Who’s most likely to…?” question. Whoever they answer is the person you should film next!
4. Day in the life at your restaurant. Take your viewer behind the scenes to follow an employee's “day in the life.” From opening to closing, let customers see all the hard work that goes into running a restaurant.
5. Cooking tutorials. Create a “How-To” cooking series with your restaurant’s head chef! Show your audience the best cooking hacks and create small tutorials on everyday kitchen activities.
6. Wine pairings. Teach viewers to know what they’re doing when it comes to wine! You can promote your restaurant by including a slideshow of the wine pairings you recommend from your menu.
7. Dish prep. Show how your restaurant’s most popular dishes are prepped and cooked.
8. Competitions. Make a video asking TikTok for help with something related to your menu (“Best cocktail name wins”, etc.). This will incentivise people to comment on your videos and boost engagement!
9. Record a time lapse of your team working. Running a restaurant means wearing many hats. Make your restaurant memorable by showing viewers your process and various to-dos! Add music for even more emotion.
10. Mixology. Show off your bartenders’ mixing skills with your restaurant’s signature cocktails!
11. Finishing touches. Record the final steps of cooking a complex dish to get customers excited! Include finishing spices, garnishes, the last dollops of icing, etc.
12. Date night. Make a video explaining why your restaurant is the perfect spot for date night.
13. Share customer reviews. It’s no secret that reviews can make or break your restaurant’s reputation. Get the most out of your positive reviews by posting clips of your customer’s feedback!
14. Holidays/Events. Do you decorate for Valentine’s Day? Does your staff get dressed up for Halloween? Does everyone watch the same TV show? Shine the spotlight on these fun, relatable moments!
15. What’s in the neighbourhood? Near any attractions or beloved locales? Show just how close you are in a TikTok, and let viewers know why you’re the best place to stop in for a bite afterwards!
16. Restock video. People on the internet love to watch satisfying organisation and cleaning videos. Turn your tedious, everyday tasks into relaxing, timelapse-style, TikToks.
17. Backstory. Have the owners/chefs discuss why they got into hospitality and share tips for opening a restaurant.
18. Aesthetics. Entice viewers to dine at your restaurant by showing them your unique decor and ambiance.
19. Share your restaurants’ values. Establish your brands’ purpose by sharing clips with the top three values that align with your restaurant. (Sustainability, customer satisfaction, inclusivity, etc.).
20. User-generated content. Ever heard of it!? Take advantage of the real videos and photographs your customers take at your restaurant, and repurpose that content on your page!
21. Collaborate with influencers. Ask influencers in the area if they can dine at your restaurant and hype up your menu! Giving them a complimentary meal can give your reputation a boost.
22. The people behind your kitchen. Highlight your staff and the roles they play. We aren’t just talking about your chefs – show all the people that keep the kitchen running, like dishwashers, waiters, and hostesses!
23. Promote a special offer. Share discounts and promotions, or consider hosting a giveaway. Example: “Tag your two best friends to get 20% off your order on Uber Eats!”
24. Join a trend. Look at your feed to see what audio and video clips are trending, and tie your favourite one back to your restaurant.
25. Photo Slideshow. Instead of creating a video, use TikTok’s Photo Slideshow feature to show off your restaurant’s best aspects. Title the first image with a theme, like “What we’re proud of”.
26. New menu item. Showcase a new item on your menu! This is a great way to promote seasonal dishes.
27. Host a TikTok Live. Once your account has 1000 followers, you can start hosting Live events! Cook your best dishes, display your dining room, and more on-stream. This is a great way to boost engagement!
28. Chef Q&As. Have viewers send in questions about running a kitchen that your chefs can answer. These kinds of videos show off your staff’s knowledge and expertise!
29. Before/After. Revamping your space? Changing up a recipe? Show off your old and new ways, and let customers see how you’ve improved. Use this style of clip for seasonal changes, too!
30. Regular interviews. Regulars are the lifeblood of your restaurant. Shine a spotlight on them for a quick clip, and show viewers why they keep coming back! Remember: customers make the best brand advocates!