Ghost kitchens allow TikTok to make its viral foods available for delivery
- TikTok is teaming up with Virtual Dining Concepts to create ghost restaurants for the viral foods on the popular video app
- The aim is to start with 300 locations and expand to over 1,000 by end-2022
- The TikTok Kitchens menu will change on a quarterly basis and include some of the platform’s biggest food trends
TikTok Inc., the video-powered social media behemoth, will be venturing into the food delivery business with an expected 1,000 ghost restaurants around the US by the end of next year. Known as TikTok Kitchens, the company will be partnering with Virtual Dining Concepts to turn viral foods from popular TikTok videos into actual dishes that users can order.
Based on a Bloomberg report, the video-sharing platform announced last week that it will start with a launch of around 200 delivery-only TikTok Kitchens locations across the country in March 2022. “Among the restaurants that TikTok Kitchen will operate out of are national chains Earl owns, including Buca di Beppo and Bertucci’s,” the report stated.
TikTok Kitchens menu to feature viral foods
Quoting Virtual Dining Concepts’ co-founder Robert Earl, Bloomberg elaborated how the TikTok Kitchens menu will be based on the app’s most viral food trends, including baked feta pasta, which was ranked the most-searched dish of 2021 by Google. Earl also noted that prices will be “comparable to other Virtual Dining Concept brands.”
“Look, you have a platform with a billion viewers monthly who are constantly engaged, as the numbers show,” Earl told Bloomberg. “It’s the first time there’s a brand like this out there – an audience of hundreds of millions of people.” TikTok had recently announced that it attracts around a billion users a month to its platform.
Earl also noted that the menu will change quarterly — and if a dish starts going viral on the social platform, it might just be added to menus. According to TikTok, “proceeds from TikTok foods will go to both support the creators who inspired the menu item and to encourage and assist other creators to express themselves on the platform in keeping with TikTok’s mission to inspire creativity and bring joy to its users.”
Ghost kitchens — the way forward?
Thanks to the pandemic, ghost kitchens are becoming a much more serious business. Pre-pandemic, they were expected to account for 10% to 15% of the US$66 billion US restaurant industry. Now that number is supposed to climb to 21% by 2025, according to a May report from CBRE. Globally, the ghost kitchen industry is expected to grow more than 12% each year to be worth some US$139.37 billion by 2028, according to a report by Researchandmarkets.com.
The expansive Asia Pacific region, home to 4.3 billion people, already accounts for some 60% of the international market. Considering how TikTok originated from mainland China in that very region, the company might consider tapping into a bigger market after the US as the potential of business growth is huge given the population of the Asian region.