It's time for your restaurant to tap into the power of the fastest-growing social media app that has taken the world by storm—TikTok. A recent survey by MGH found that 53% of millennial users visited a restaurant after seeing it on the app. The fact is, your business has the opportunity to blow up if you are promoting it on TikTok’s platform.

In this article about using TikTok to market your restaurant, we’ll guide you through:

  • What is TikTok?
  • TikTok’s Ongoing Popularity & Influence on Diners
  • How are restaurants using TikTok?
  • How to get started
  • 6 promotional video ideas plus real examples!

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a short-form video-focused social media app. It allows users to create, upload, and share the most diverse content. This includes everything from culinary experiences to classic dancing videos. Creators have access to a variety of effects, filters, songs for audio, and more. 

What helps TikTok stand out among the other social platforms is its strength in being an entertainment platform. It's so appealing and easy-to-watch because of the algorithm it uses for its viewers. The app uses artificial intelligence to make personalized recommendations for each user's "For You" Page based on past behavior.  

TikTok's Ongoing Popularity & Influence on Diners

Over 3 billion people have downloaded TikTok. There's no denying it: TikTok is big.

Here are a few quick stats to prove it:

  1. In 2021, TikTok had about 86.9 million users; that figure is projected to increase, reaching 97.6 million users in 2023.
  2. Over 1 billion videos are watched every day on TikTok.
  3. TikTok is the 6th most popular social media in the world.
  4. The globe has 4.8 billion internet users, and TikTok is used by 20.83% of them.

Today, content creators have a massive impact on consumers buying decisions. For example, when a video of the restaurant Skirt Steak went viral posted from @sistersnacking TikTok account, there were over 100 people waiting in line to eat the next day!

Even while gas prices remain high, TikTok users are determined to go the extra mile when they see something they like. From MGH’s survey, 30% of users traveled longer than they normally would to visit a restaurant after seeing it on TikTok, and even 28% visited one that was slightly more expensive. 

How are Restaurants Using TikTok?

Video is a priority for 92% of marketers, and TikTok has given businesses another community to increase their online presence and sell their products. Restaurant culture has shifted significantly because of TikTok because there are so many foodies and chefs online with great experiences to share. 

Marketing your restaurant on TikTok includes posting relevant videos on menu items, location, food prep, events, are more. Some of the top motivators for visiting a restaurant seen on TikTok from the users surveyed were:

  • 72% went after seeing appetizing-looking food
  • 45% went for a unique menu item
  • 42% went because it looked like a fun place to go with friends or family
  • 37% went because it displayed a cool atmosphere

The bottom line is the chances of attracting more customers increases significantly if your restaurant is active on TikTok. 

How to Get Started

Start by downloading the free app on Apple or Android and creating an account. 

For best practice and maximum discoverability across platforms, set your username to your restaurant name or the username you use for your other channels. 

Next, add a profile picture which would be your brand logo, connect your other social channels, write a short bio, and add an optimized link in bio. One thing to note is that the link field hasn’t been fully rolled out, so if you don’t have access to this, continue to watch for it.

How to Use TikTok To Market Your Restaurant

Use the six ideas below to promote your restaurant on the most engaging platform and capture the opportunity and growth that TikTok offers.  

1. Share Recipes & Food In The Making


An easy go-to video you can share is recipes and food being made behind the scenes in your restaurant. Use jump cuts to piece together videos of your chefs putting together meals step-by-step. 

One of our customers, Texas Roadhouse, has a video posted below of them making their famous freshly-baked bread. Another TikTok video they have gatekeeping their butter recipe has over 155 thousand likes and over 1.4 million views. 

The great thing about food is that it's perfect for creating drool-worthy content. We've seen #food and #foodies photos and videos success take off on Instagram, and it's doing the same on TikTok. 

Learn more: Best Hashtags to Use For Marketing Your Restaurant

2. Show Off Things to Do At Your Restaurant


Think of this TikTok video as similar to a short commercial. Whether it's cooking up some mouthwatering content or highlighting your new opening, using TikTok is a great way to give potential customers a taste of what they can expect at your restaurant. See Toastique’s video, for instance.

Or, if your restaurant offers unique experiences like live music or outdoor seating, showcase that in a fun video featuring staff and customers enjoying themselves. Don't forget about promoting any specials or events you may have going on as well. Adding local hashtags and relevant keywords can make it easier for users to find and engage with your content. 

3. Prove You're Keeping Up With the Trends


If you didn't know already, TikTok is quite known for its ability to spread trends like wildfire. These trends tend to spark from music, the latest song or sound to go viral on the app, and hashtags. 

One that tends to arise is when users share a life hack, viewers begin to recreate the video, showing off their own twist. Ike’s Sandwiches did this when they shared their Tortilla Hack Video. The restaurant also used a viral hit that is extremely popular among TikTok videos. 


4. Host a Live Event


Once your account has 1,000 followers on TikTok, you can go live on the app and engage with users in real-time. 

With this feature, you can plan to host events like short cooking classes or virtual happy hour to teach users how to recreate one of your signature cocktails. You can also gain home chefs' attention by teaching fundamental cooking skills in your live videos. 

Users are on TikTok for an average of 95 minutes per day! When they spend this much time on the app, hosting live videos is perfect for capturing their attention and engaging with your page.

Find a walkthrough guide of everything you need to know about TikTok Live here. 

5. Introduce Menu Items


TikTok is an excellent way to share the close up of brand-new or top-selling dishes in your restaurant. It's like a taste test for your followers, giving them a sneak peek at what they can come try for themselves. 

P.F. Chang’s does this on their TikTok very effectively. 

@pfchangs Come try our special menu items with @explorenewyorkcity 🥢🥠#pfchangs #yum #fyp #chinesefood ♬ Old Disney Swing Jazz - Nico

6. Team Up With TikTok Influencers


Another way to promote your restaurant on TikTok is by partnering with TikTok Influencers. 

Chipotle was the first restaurant to partner with TikTok in the U.S. back in 2019. They were the first restaurant to launch a TikTok "Challenge" called the #ChipotleFlipLid and partner with some of the app's top influencers. 

How do you know if influencers are for you? Well, think about who your customer base is. This app is the most popular among Gen Z and Millenials, but its users are starting to age. If your goal is to cater to Gen Z, then TikTok and user-generated content is a must for your restaurant. 

The Future of TikTok

2020 was the year we began to see TikTok take off, but we believe this social media platform will continue to thrive in 2023. 

TikTok is fun, and it's a great place to try new content out to see how it resonates with your viewers. Because it's a video form, this makes it easy to save and cross-promote within your existing social media channels as well. 

Try the ideas in this blog post out and see just how well TikTok can help you grow your business. Connect with us on TikTok at @_madmobile_ and let us know.

Social Media Marketing