TikTok for Restaurants

TikTok can be an extremely powerful tool to market your business. The app alone has over 1.53 billion users as of early 2023, so the chances of someone coming across your videos are pretty high. If you have the time and resources, add TikTok as one of your restaurant's social accounts. Read below on how to make your account, how to make videos, different ideas for videos, and other TikTok best practices.

What Is TikTok?

TikTok is a video-based social media platform. Users can create video content of all kinds, ranging from topics like recipes, book recommendations, life advice, wedding inspiration, workout routines, and basically every single broad or niche topic you can think of.

Users can open the TikTok app and choose between two different tabs: the “Following” tab and the “For You” page (FYP). The Following tab shows them videos only from the accounts they have specifically followed. The FYP has videos from accounts they do and do not follow.

TikTok for Restaurants 101

TikTok app on a cellphone

Get started by creating your profile, making and uploading videos, and following the other TikTok best practices outlined in this guide. After that, TikTok’s algorithm decides who your videos are shown to organically (meaning your videos were not promoted through payment and then the viewers who watched your video decide if they want to keep engaging with your content.

Why to Use TikTok for Restaurant Advertising

You may be hesitant to download TikTok to promote your restaurant, but in our social media-consuming world, the potential benefits of using TikTok can greatly impact your business.

  • Increase Brand Recognition - Getting your name and logo out there as much as possible makes people more likely to remember your restaurant and the food you serve.
  • Stay In-The-Know on Trends - Most of this year's food trends came from exposure on TikTok. Downloading TikTok means you can stay on-trend and update your menu accordingly.
  • Gain Exposure to New Customers - Since the FYP shows videos of people you aren’t following, you can now introduce yourself to a whole new set of potential customers. Maybe you’ll even reintroduce yourself to some!
  • Boost Your Other Social Accounts - Now that you made all of this content, don’t keep it all for TikTok! Your videos can be used on your other social accounts, especially with the Reels feature on Instagram.

How to Make a TikTok Account for a Restaurant

Cellphone demonstrating how to make an Account

Before you make your TikTok account, we need to go over the two different profile types. There is the Creator/Personal option or the Business option. Before you go ahead and select “Business”, review the below pros and cons to see what you can and can’t get on each:

Creator/Personal Account

Pros:

  • Verification
  • Shop feature
  • Access to all sounds
  • Ability to promote videos
  • Free

Cons:

  • In-app analytics access only
  • Cannot connect to third-party social media tools
  • Cannot add URL to bio unless certain requirements are met

Business Account

Pros:

  • Access to TikTok’s marketing tools, such as Business Creative Hub
  • Full use of TikTok’s Business Content Guide, which gives tips on shooting videos, content strategy, content moderation, and which times are the best to post
  • Verification
  • Full access to downloadable analytics
  • Shop feature
  • Ability to promote videos
  • Can connect to third-party social media tools
  • Free

Cons:

  • Can only use commercial sounds, no legal access to all sounds
  • Cannot be switched to private mode

How to Set up a Business Account on TikTok

App screen showing how to set up an account

Most brands and businesses choose the Business profile on TikTok, so follow the steps below on how to set up yours:

  1. Download the TikTok app.
  2. Open the app.
  3. Tap “Profile” in the bottom right-hand corner.
  4. You will then be asked to log in through various accounts such as Facebook, Google, and Instagram, connect via Apple, or use your usual email or phone number. Select which one you prefer.
  5. Select your birthday.
  6. Create your password.
  7. Create your username. Try to make it the same exact username as all of your other restaurant’s social accounts so users can search for your business more easily across different apps.
  8. Add your business’s logo as the profile picture.
  9. Click “Edit Profile” and add a bio that tells users about your business.
  10. Add your website to the bio. You can also make a Link In Bio, which is a third-party tool that acts as a URL. This tool allows you to house multiple URLs instead of just one.
  11. In the “Edit Profile” section, you can also link your other social accounts so people can access those from your TikTok account.
  12. Now you are all set with your profile!
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How to Make a TikTok Video

App showing how to make a TikTok Video

To make your first TikTok video, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the app and press the plus sign button that’s at the bottom middle of the screen.
  2. You will now have access to the TikTok camera and all of the features available to use.
  3. To start recording, tap the big red button. Tap the button again to stop recording, or wait until the time runs out.
  4. Use the editing tools to slow down or speed up your clips, record and edit together multiple clips, and add effects like filters.
  5. Add a sound to your clip via TikTok’s music library. Select the track you’d like to add to your video. Note that some sounds are only a certain length and may not extend to the length of your video. Avoid using those.
  6. Tap the “Volume” button to adjust the sound’s volume.
  7. Once your sound is chosen, click the “Effects” button to cut clips or add transitions between clips if you have more than one. This is also where you can add text, voiceovers, and stickers.
  8. Once you’re all done with your video, tap the arrow button on the bottom right-hand side of the screen. This is where you can create your post.
  9. Add a caption if you’d like, but definitely add hashtags. Make sure comments, duets, and stitches are toggled on so people can engage with your content.
  10. Once you are satisfied with the entire post and video, click publish.
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TikTok Ideas for Your Restaurant

Woman filming her plate of food at restaurant

Not sure what to make your first TikTok about? Try out a few of these 10 TikTok ideas to market your restaurant. Remember to only do whatever feels authentic for your restaurant’s brand!

  1. Show Off Your Menu - Let people know what they’re missing! Get clips together showing all of your menu items freshly plated so customers know what they can expect at your restaurant.
  2. Spotlight New Menu Items - There’s nothing that intrigues people more than something new to them. Showcase your brand-new menu item to bring in both returning and fresh customers.
  3. Recipe Videos - Housemade sauces, desserts, everyone's favorite salad – whatever it may be, show people how you make it. Chances are most people won’t make it at home but will develop a new appreciation for their favorite menu item.
  4. Create a Reoccurring Series - To really have a unique experience on TikTok, create a reoccurring series that’s true to your restaurant. Get creative with what this might be, or use one of these ideas and make it a weekly video!
  5. Work with Local Influencers - A great way to spread the word about your restaurant is by inviting local influencers (preferably ones that post often or exclusively about food) to dine at your restaurant and make a TikTok post about it. Treat them and a friend to a full meal as well as extra compensation for their time and hard work.
  6. Collab with Other Businesses - For a win-win video idea, collab with another local business! Maybe you are starting an ice cream shop and want to team up with the local bakery that has outstanding chocolate chip cookies (and maybe a great TikTok following, too!). Team up with them to make an ice cream flavor that uses chunks of their famous cookies in your ice cream, and cross-market that via a video on TikTok!
  7. Market Your Promotions - Do you have holiday promotion ideas in the works for your restaurant? Or maybe you’re doing a game day promotion at your bar? Whatever the case may be, spotlight your restaurant promotion with a video on TikTok to garner interest.
  8. Participate in Current Trends - A great way to potentially go viral on TikTok is to do your own version of the current video trends. Be creative and think outside the box while still staying on-trend to really showcase your brand’s personality.
  9. Highlight Staff - Get consent from your staff to film a highlight about them. You can even ask a staff member to film a “day in the life” style video of all the tasks they do for their job. This also shows viewers the hard work and quality that your business strives for when producing your menu items.
  10. Tell Your Story - If you are willing to be vulnerable, then be transparent about how you started your restaurant. People resonate with businesses that seem more personal, real, and genuine. It also shows viewers the face behind the brand and builds trust within the community you are creating.
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Other Ways to Grow Your TikTok Account

While making videos is a great way to advertise your restaurant and potentially go viral, it’s important to stay consistent with the following best practices to grow your account in other ways, too.

  • Reply to Commenters - Boosting your engagement rate is important with TikTok, so responding to comments is a must, especially when you’re first starting out! This also builds trust with your followers and creates a community with your page.
  • Engage with Other Accounts - Building relationships with other accounts is not only great for your business’s look, but it can also lead to other opportunities like collaborations. Plus, commenting on other videos can drive traffic to your account. But remember: nice, funny, and/or encouraging comments only!
  • Stay Up-to-Date with (and Use!) New Features - TikTok puts out new features, such as stitching or dueting, which helps content creators get their videos shown across multiple FYPs. Also, the TikTok algorithm loves when people use these features, so stay in the know when these come out and use them.
  • Use Hashtags - Using hashtags that are relevant to your business helps people find you when they search on TikTok. For example, you might show up when people search “(your city) restaurants” if they want to eat out in their own town or the one they’re visiting. If your menu is a certain cuisine and/or dietary restriction, then use relevant hashtags for that as well. We also recommend using a trending hashtag or two to aid in the possibility of showing up on users’ FYPs.
  • Trending Sounds are Key - Another easy way to try and get on FYPs? Use the current trending songs as the background music for your video.
  • Keep At It! - TikTok loves consistency when posting videos. Make sure to try and post 2-3 times per week at least.
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Whether your business is struggling right now or you find it hard to imagine adding something else to your already busy plate, it’s important to market your business in any way you can. Try it out for yourself, especially since TikTok is free. It may not be your thing, or you may go viral!

By Val Goodrich
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Please refer to our Content Policy for more details.
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