Food and cooking is a big part of the video-powered social media behemoth TikTok, and the app is now reported to be moving further out into the physical world with its own chain of delivery-only restaurants in the US.
This comes via Bloomberg, and the news is that TikTok will be partnering with a company called Virtual Dining Concepts to introduce TikTok Kitchen locations. Around 300 spots will open up at launch, with more than 1,000 planned by the end of 2022.
"Look, you have a platform with a billion viewers monthly who are constantly engaged, as the numbers show," Virtual Dining Concepts co-founder Robert Earl told Bloomberg. "It's the first time there's a brand like this out there – an audience of hundreds of millions of people."
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What's on the menu?
Some of the restaurants that TikTok Kitchen operates out of will be existing restaurants, including Buca di Beppo and Bertucci's, while prices will be "comparable to other Virtual Dining Concept brands" according to the report.
The focus is going to be on the most viral food trends on the TikTok platform, including baked feta pasta (the most searched-for dish on Google in 2021, by the way), and pasta chips – cooked pasta shapes coated with cheese and air-fried.
Earl has also revealed that the menu will change every three months, so if there's a new dish going viral on the social network, it might get added to the selection. Apparently TikTok will share its profits with the creators of the menu dishes and invest in new talent.
Analysis: TikTok builds on its momentum
As Robert Earl says, TikTok recently announced that it attracts around a billion users a month to its platform, which is an awful lot of people (Facebook still leads the way in terms of social media, with close to 3 billion monthly active users).
Even if just a small fraction of that userbase becomes interested in ordering food direct to their doors, it's clear that there's money to be made. Social media platforms continue to look for ways to expand their digital offerings into the real, physical world, and this looks like a smart way to do that.
Basing menus on foods going viral on TikTok is another clever part of the operation. Unusual dishes is something that TikTok excels in, and if users are able to actually sample the dish that's caught their eye, then even better. Expect more viral videos of the food being delivered and consumed as well.
There's some strong competition in the delivery sector, from the likes of Uber Eats, Deliveroo and many more, but the link with TikTok (and in particular viral dishes on TikTok) means that the new venture could attract a lot of interest very quickly.