TikTok is a breeding ground for recipes-gone-viral, from baked feta pasta to corn “ribs” to air fryer pasta chips. Starting next year, you may be able to try some of those trendy dishes at restaurants near you.
Last week, the social video platform announced it’s partnering with Virtual Dining Concepts (VDC) to launch 300 “TikTok Kitchen”-branded delivery-only restaurants across the country by March.
“This is an idea that would bring TikTok foods to fans, it is not a venture into the restaurant business,” a representative from TikTok told BoH.
TikTok recently reported that it has more than one billion active monthly users worldwide. Food and recipe creation is a popular subject on the app, with many videos regularly garnering millions of views. (More and more restaurant operators are now regularly using TikTok, too, as a way to grow their customer base.)
As reported by Bloomberg, the opening menu for TikTok Kitchen will feature the app’s most viral food trends, including the baked feta pasta, which was ranked the most-searched dish of 2021 by Google. Prices are expected to be on par with other VDC brands, which include MrBeast Burger ($7.99 for a Beast burger), Wing Squad ($17 for a dozen Buffalo wings), and Mariah’s Cookies ($11.99 for ½-dozen cookies).
Cofounded by Robert Earl, the restaurateur behind Planet Hollywood and Buca Di Beppo, VDC launched an array of virtual kitchens and delivery-only restaurant concepts over the past year and a half, including some in partnership with celebrities like Mariah Carey, Mario Lopez, and DJ Pauly D. MrBeast Burger, created in partnership with YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, is among VDC’s biggest successes. The virtual restaurant concept sold 1 million burgers within three months of its launch and now operates out of more than 1,500 locations across the U.S., Canada, and the UK.
TikTok says it will give its profits from the restaurants to the creators of the menu dishes and to other rising culinary creators on the platform. “I’m doing it as a business, TikTok are doing it for development of that category. It’s an investment in their business,” Earl told Bloomberg.
TikTok Kitchen plans to operate out of existing restaurants as ghost kitchens, including Earl’s Buca di Beppo, and Bertucci’s, which Earl bought in 2018.
Want to run a TikTok Kitchen out of your restaurant’s kitchen?
TikTok and VDC plan to scale from 300 locations to more than 1,000 by the end of 2022. And VDC is inviting restaurateurs to join them. Restaurateurs can apply to run a TikTok ghost kitchen, and earn up to $500 daily to operate the delivery-only brand, says VDC. All orders for TikTok Kitchen will be placed online, with the idea that running the ghost kitchen shouldn’t interfere with a restaurant’s existing in-person dining and pick-up options.
VDC provides staff training, and says, per order, checks average $30 and prep time averages between eight to 10 minutes.
VDC was not able to be reached for comment about criteria for how restaurant partners will be chosen, nor how profits will be distributed. For more information, you can fill out the form here: https://www.virtualdiningconcepts.com/concepts/tiktok-kitchen/.