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6 Ways to Promote Your Restaurant on TikTok

Thanks to TikTok, the hugely popular short-video platform, you don’t need fancy editing or directing skills to create videos that promote your restaurant.

Our favorite movies are the ones that tell incredible stories, connect to our emotions, and make us want to tell others about them. Making this kind of impact is precisely what successful video marketing does as well. TikTok is one of the fastest-growing media channels worldwide and the most downloaded app in the Apple App Store. In the U.S, the number of adults on the platform has grown from 2.6 million in 2017 to 14.3 million as of last September — a 550% increase. TikTok videos run no longer than 1 minute, making them easy for viewers to share across social media.

There is no single formula to follow to ensure your videos go viral, but you can build a following for your restaurant by keeping a few things in mind. Because TikTok videos are so short, you’ll want to keep your messages easy-to-understand and accessible, as well as visually appealing. Elements of surprise, humor, or usefulness, and plenty of personality also help attract attention.

Here are six ideas for how to harness the power of TikTok to market your restaurant, no matter where you are located, the size of your team, or the type of food you serve.

1. Take your audience backstage. Giving people a behind-the-scenes look at how your restaurant operates makes them feel part of your community. Take them on a tour of your kitchen and introduce members of your team as they work. Make viewers feel in the know by sharing a particular technique or recipe.

Maya Smith (@starbucksrecipeswithm) is a student who also works at Starbucks. Her videos sharing popular, and sometimes secret, recipes have made her one of TikTok’s youngest stars with more than 2 million followers. Her video of a Skittles Frappuccino, for example, has more than 33 million views and has been shared 5.8 million times.

2. Feature your vendors. Many younger adults — TikTok’s primary audience — look for brands that offer a sense of authenticity and transparency. Videos that give them a glimpse of the people and places behind their meals can create that connection. Showcase the farm where the tomatoes you use for salads are grown or introduce viewers to the baker that makes the bread you serve. Or take them to a tasting and let them see how you select a specific wine or cheese.

3. Share recipes. Use jump cuts to make videos that show your chef making meals in seconds. Chef Vivian Aronson (@cookingbomb), a former contestant on Master Chef, has built a sizable following for her lively videos showing viewers how to make favorite dishes from Asian cuisine such as kimchi or Chinese pancakes. Along the way, she also offers tips on things like handling chopsticks or buying the best sushi knife.

4. Offer lessons. Gain home chefs’ attention by demonstrating and teaching fundamental skills, such as slicing onions or more advanced techniques. Private chef Adam Witt (@omnivorousadam) creates cooking videos that show viewers how to make things most probably haven’t thought much about or never will make, such as churning butter or carbonating fruit. However, these are fun and interesting to watch regardless.

5. Introduce menu items. TikTok is an excellent way to showcase new menu items, especially if you do so in a visually impressive way. Assembling a cheese board doesn’t sound very compelling, but Maggie Johnson (@magsmeals) has almost 300,000 people watching her doing so on TikTok because of both the beautiful arrangements she creates and her upbeat personality.

6. Host a live event. Once your TikTok account has at least 1,000 followers, you can begin hosting events on the platform. Have a mixologist or cook offer a rapid-fire class or a series of mini-lessons or run a contest for anything from naming a new drink or the best combinations of pizza or burger toppings. With the platform’s ease and speed, TikTok is the perfect place to experiment with ideas as you market your restaurant.

Source: Thibaud Clement, Fast Casual

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