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In brief: Video-minded social networking service TikTok in a surprise move has announced a partnership with Virtual Dining Concepts (VDC) to bring some of the platform’s most popular food trends to life.
TikTok Kitchen will be a delivery-only brand. The service will operate out of existing restaurants as ghost kitchens, with VDC promising restaurateurs the ability to earn up to $500 or more in profit daily in exchange for use of their equipment and staff to cook for the brand.
The concept may sound strange, but it’s increasing in popularity. VDC, for example, is also behind MrBeast Burger, the online-only food ordering service created by Internet personality Jimmy Donaldson (MrBeast on YouTube) a year ago. The service is currently operating out of more than 1,000 ghost kitchens across North America and Europe.
VDC said the dishes will celebrate food trends made famous by TikTok creators, including smash burgers, corn ribs and baked feta pasta. Full details aren’t yet known, but VDC notes that TikTok Kitchen will have around 25 SKUs at any given time with an average prep time of eight to 10 minutes.
TikTok Kitchen aims to launch with 300 locations and hopes to have 1,000 locations opened by the end of 2022.
Do you think it’s a good idea for TikTok to venture out and test new business models like this, or should they simply stick to what they know – social media – and keep doing what’s worked thus far? As a foodie, I’m intrigued by the opportunity to try out new dishes, but I don’t know if I’m sold on the ghost kitchen concept. With that model, nobody’s reputation is really on the line, which could make it easier for restaurant partners to serve subpar food and not care too much about bad reviews.