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How TikTok trends are cooking up change for restaurants

Every now and then, a social media platform rises up and shakes the industry – TikTok is one of those. With 1 billion monthly active users around the world, it’s now on the same level as social giants like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

TikTok is home to countless sub-communities, from beauty and lifestyle to comedy to cooking. Creators on the app have a major influence on popular culture, so in this piece, we’ll be digging into how TikTok food trends are shaping the restaurant industry.

All about TikTok: What is it? How does it influence sales?

TikTok is exclusively dedicated to short-form videos, which typically range from 15 to 60 seconds. The platform is best known for its highly effective algorithm, which leverages machine learning to analyze user behavior and suggest hyper-targeted content.

TikTok’s influence on sales traces back to the viral nature of its trends. Propagated by sharing, hashtags, and using “trending sounds” in the background, these videos spread like wildfire and drive consumer interest in specific products or services.

Like other social platforms, businesses can create their own channels on TikTok, which can help increase brand awareness and drive sales. Restaurants often choose to showcase content like behind-the-scenes footage from the kitchen, special menu items, discounts, or partnerships with influencers.

Why jumping on TikTok food trends can be a winning move

By jumping on sizzling hot food trends, restaurants can leverage hype to increase their visibility amongst potential customers. It’s also a great opportunity to showcase culinary creativity and innovation, like finding new ways to incorporate popular ingredients into classic dishes.

Restaurants that successfully ride the wave of a TikTok food trend are perfectly positioned to boost sales and engagement, as customers are drawn to unique and exciting menu items.

That being said, it's important for restaurants to be strategic when choosing which trends to pursue. For example, you should only hop on a trend if it fits your brand and target audience – if not, it won’t feel authentic. Restaurants should also be careful not to rely too heavily on trends, and to continue to evolve their menus no matter what’s hot on social media.

The easiest food trends to try today

Trends are a combination of cultural shifts, social media influence, and consumer preferences. Some may come and go quickly, while others have the potential to become long-lasting staples in the culinary world.

Here are a few recent ones that have have demonstrated some serious staying power:

Baked feta pasta | #bakedfetapasta | 205M posts (Feb 2023)

This recipe involves baking a block of feta cheese with cherry tomatoes and pasta, resulting in a creamy and flavourful dish that uses just a handful of ingredients.

Dalgona coffee | #dalgonacoffee | 745M posts (Feb 2023)

A specialty whipped coffee made by mixing instant coffee, sugar, and hot water until it turns into a thick, frothy texture.

Dessert pizza | #dessertpizza* | 132K posts (Feb 2023)

The sweet version of this savoury dish has become increasingly popular, with businesses offering creative and indulgent options like s'mores pizza, Nutella pizza, and fruit-topped dessert pizzas.

Make friends with the trends

As a rapidly-evolving forum for showcasing new and exciting culinary ideas, TikTok has become a go-to source for food inspiration and discovery. Brands and businesses looking to capitalize on food trends are encouraged to monitor key social platforms for inspiration, then jump on applicable trends before they miss the boat!

By staying agile and adapting to changing tastes, businesses can use trends as a lever for increased sales and boost their edge compared to their competition.

For more expert tips and insights just like this, subscribe to our newsletter, À LA CARTE!

*Results for #dessertpizza and #desertpizza have been aggregated.

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