How to Use TikTok to Market Your Restaurant or Bar

Social media should already play a pivotal role in your bar or restaurant’s marketing strategy. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have long been excellent platforms for creating brand awareness and building a relationship with your customers. Now, creating content with the potential to go viral has never been easier, thanks to TikTok.

Using TikTok to grow your venture is a savvy way to connect with your audience and expand their awareness of your brand.

If you want to take your restaurant to the next level, consider TikTok.

The Basics of TikTok Restaurant Marketing

TikTok is one of the world’s fastest-growing media channels and the Apple App Store’s most downloaded app. This makes it the perfect marketing channel, especially for trendy restaurants, eateries and bars that want to attract the attention of Gen Z and Millennial customers.

There are three core methods of marketing a restaurant on TikTok. They are:

  • Posting relevant videos of your venue, menu, food preparation area and team on your channel
  • Teaming up with influencers in your industry to expand your reach
  • Advertising your food, drinks, specials and services through the social media platform

Most successful restaurant brands have found varying ways of combining these three methods. For example, your restaurant can upload original video content every day to stay front and center in your customers’ minds.

RELATED: A Marketing Expert Tackles Your Toughest Questions

You could also create engaging social media experiences for your customers by designing contests and challenges that relate to their interactions with your brand. The possibilities are virtually limitless if you adopt a creative mindset.

How to Show Off Your Restaurant and Bar on TikTok

The TikTok app allows its users to post videos that are 15 seconds or shorter. You can use filters and special effects to jazz up your videos and attract the attention of your customers and leads.

Bearing this short video duration limit in mind, your videos of your restaurant and bar need to communicate the atmosphere and vibe of your establishment as concisely as possible. You can edit your clips to show off the highlights of your establishment, your happiest clients, and your cheeriest staff members to attract business.

Be sure to add background music that’s popular among your target audience, or use one of TikTok’s most popular current viral soundtracks to stay relevant. ‘FACK’ by Eminem, ‘Praying’ by Ke$ha, and ‘Déjà Vu’ by Olivia Rodrigo have all been exceptionally popular on the app so far in 2021. [Editor’s note: Make sure you choose music that aligns with your brand. ‘FACK’ might be a popular song for TikTok, but that doesn’t mean it’s family friendly…]

Promoting Your Menu and Specials Online

TikTok provides an awesome platform for restaurants to showcase new menu items and specials, especially if you introduce them in a visually memorable way.

For example, Maggie Johnson (@magsmeals) has taken the simple task of creating cheese boards and turned it into an art form, gaining nearly 300,000 followers. Her secret lies in her stunning cheese board layouts and her bubbly personality. But you can add your own unique spin to your menu and special introductions. Bonus points if your videos align with your brand identity.

Sharing Recipes, Food Prep Secrets and Sneak Peeks

The newest social media platform is packed with creative recipe videos that use jump cuts to keep things short, sweet, and tempting. Professional chefs like Vivian Aronson (@cookingbomb), a former MasterChef contestant, has built a huge following on TikTok by posting videos showing viewers how to make her favorite Asian dishes.

RELATED: If You Promote it, Will They Come? A Marketing Guide.

She shares her best food preparation secrets and techniques to keep her content varied. You can do the same by showing your customers and followers how you keep your kitchen or bar running smoothly, how you prepare their all-time favorite dishes, and how your smash-hit burgers, nachos or deep-dish pizzas get made. You’ll have them eager to visit your establishment for dinner in a matter of seconds.

Hosting Live Events

Once you’ve accumulated over 1,000 followers on TikTok, you can start hosting exciting live events on the platform. Have your most popular chef or bartender create a captivating series of tutorials or classes to teach your customers how to prepare some of your best sellers. Or run a competition to name your newest dish, drink, or topping combo.

The snappy speed and extensive reach of TikTok makes it the ideal platform to experiment with engaging live events and contests.

Pairing with Influencers to Share Captivating Content

Influencer marketing is one of the most cost-effective paid marketing strategies you can adopt. Your business could team up with influencers to film short videos of them taking part in a brand challenge, eating one of your new dishes, making a cocktail, or indulging in your best-selling dessert.

Those influencers’ followers are likely to share this content automatically, providing your restaurant or bar with invaluable brand exposure. Dunkin’ Donuts worked with New England dancer and influencer D'Amelio to create a TikTok of her signature drink. They saw their sales rocket by 20% on the first day following their posting the video, proving just how well influencer marketing works.

Using TikTok Challenges to Build Brand Awareness

Do you remember the infamous #IceBucketChallenge? The easiest and most effective way to create a buzz around a TikTok challenge is to create a catchy and memorable hashtag challenge. These posts encourage your followers to perform a song, dance or trick and then challenge others to do the same by sharing the hashtag.

RELATED: It's More Than a Sign, It's a Destination 

Encourage your customers to post TikToks of themselves eating at your restaurant or recreating one of your famous dishes or drinks. This incentivizes them to share your hashtag and get the word out about your business.

The Takeaway

TikTok is the ideal social media platform for marketing your restaurant or bar, even if you’re on a budget. It has millions of active users in over 150 countries, and is highly popular with Millennials and Generation Z, allowing you to engage with younger audiences more easily.

You can effortlessly create and share viral content on TikTok using filters, special effects, and hashtag challenges. The platform is interactive, immediate, and gives your brand a chance to become an overnight viral sensation with just one video post.

If your brand identity could do with a more playful, free-spirited side, TikTok marketing is the route to take.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for all the latest industry news and trends.